Feb. 2, 2012
-- Melinda and the Wild West was a finalist for the Reader Views "Reviewers Choice Award". Debra Gaynor, reviewer for Reader Views, wrote: "From the first page I was captivated by this book. I had to continue reading, rushing to turn the page, I had to see what next adventure would catch up with Melinda. The plot is interesting:
mixing history with fiction, adventure with romance. Melinda is an endearing character and you can’t help but see things through her eyes. It is a great honor to highly recommend this book to readers of historical fictions and romance. Ms Clarke, this is a piece to be proud of, well done!"
Melynda Gascoyne, Amherst Bee Newspaper, compared the novel to a “classic-styled romance” when she wrote: "For anyone who likes to read classic-styled romance novels that also have a drop of history, this is the book for you. Melinda and the Wild West, a Family Saga in Bear Lake Valley, Idaho is set back in 1896 in Montpelier and Paris, Idaho in the Bear Lake Valley area.
"Melinda Gamble is the new schoolteacher and has relocated from Boston to teach in the community where her beloved aunt and uncle live. Being termed 'headstrong' by her parents, she decides to take the job offered by her relatives in the Western frontier as a way to escape from the city and the life they have forged for her. This sets about a plan to help others by teaching. From the start, Melinda learns from her new surroundings. Right at the very beginning she comes face to face with Butch Cassidy in a bank robbery. What a way to start your new life in the wild frontier!
"From one of her students coming to class with skunk oil that explodes, to her encounter with a black bear, there’s always something for the imagination in the book. The characters grow in their complexity as the story unfolds. From Melinda’s relationship with Jenny, (the daughter of her widowed neighbor), to Gilbert, Jenny’s father and the gentlemen who steals Melinda’s heart, it is very easy to picture the scene you are reading.
"Clarke blends bits of her family history into this charming tale in the form of the children at the school to members of the community in general. She was able to write about love in a soft fashion, not full of the same type of sexual writing of most romance novels. I was impressed with the eloquence in which Clarke spun her story. It was dramatic in some spots and yet contained simply placed bits of humor. I would recommend this to anyone. Melinda is the first in a five-book series, 'A Family Saga in the Bear Lake Valley,' written by Clarke. I’m hoping that the other stories are just as interesting as this one. Age range: 16 and older." (Melynda Gascoyne, Amherst Bee Newspaper: Buffalo, New York)
Page One Literary Book Review said it simply: "Melinda and the Wild West is an instant classic and should put this author on the literary map all over the world. A must read!"