Sarah Walters, naive, pampered and from a wealthy, eastern family, strikes out on the Oregon Trail with her husband, Ben, in search of a promising, new life out West. But what she finds is far different than what she sought. Captured by Sioux Indians following the massacre of her wagon train, Sarah struggles to survive, learning and, ultimately accepting, during a year spent in captivity. When rescued by her thought-dead husband in the factual battle of Ash Hollow, Sarah fights to regain Ben's love. He, in turn, is unable to accept her captivity and the fact that she "cared" for her captor. Through indifference, rejection and the eventual outbreak of the War Between the States that takes Ben away from her again, Sarah grows and learns to survive in a world of hate and cruelty.
Ben Walters, young, proud and sworn to uphold his duty, tries to break through the scars that surround his heart as a result of Sarah's capture by the Sioux. Fighting an inner battle, he seeks an understanding as to why he stays with his wife. Is it because it is his duty, or does he still love her, his feelings buried deep beneath the walls that surround his battered pride? Wrestling within himself to find the answers, the Civil War breaks out and he enlists with the Union cause. Captured at the Battle of Lexington and sent to Libby Prison, he finally understands Sarah's desperate desire to survive--no matter what. But each time he tries to return to her and tell her he understands, another obstacle blocks his path. Now, is it too late?
Man-Who-Runs-Swiftly, the Sioux brave who carried Sarah from the scene of the wagon train attack, teaches Sarah how to live again following her capture. Teaching her his Indian ways, he grows to love her, becoming her mentor, friend and husband, saving her numerous times from death. But when the Indian village is attacked by the U.S. Cavalry, Sarah can't save him from her own people.
Caleb, a runaway slave Sarah rescues from slave catchers, becomes a trusted friend. When set upon by William Clarke Quantrill and his raiders, Caleb is nearly killed trying to keep Sarah from harm. Their friendship grows as the two struggle throughout the lean Civil War years. But when Sarah is abducted by Quantrill and his men at the close of the war, Caleb is by Ben's side when he sets out to bring her back.
From the Oregon Trail to the camps of the Lakota Sioux and throughout the Civil War, Ben and Sarah learn to survive. Through them we live the battle of Wilson's Creek, Lexington and Shiloh; feel the filth and privation of Libby Prison; share a friendship that grows between a white woman and a slave, and live the destruction of a country torn apart by war.
Journeying back in time to one of the most explosive periods in our history, this is a story of perseverance, learning, determination, forgiveness--and love.
Read an excerpt from Tomorrow's Promise here.