28 June 2019

Diantha by Zina Abbott

My name is Robyn Echols. Zina Abbott is the pen I use for my historical novels. I’m a member of Women Writing the West and Western Writers of America. I currently live with my husband in California’s central valley near the “Gateway to Yosemite.”

I love to read, quilt, work with digital images on my photo editing program, and work on my own family history.

I am a blogger. In addition to my own blog, I blog for several group blogs including the Sweet Americana Sweethearts blog, which I started and administer.

The daughter of a Georgia plantation owner, Diantha Ames was raised and educated to be a lady. Surviving the Civil War as a child, her family, in a desperate, but ultimately unsuccessful bid to save the property of both her father and her uncle, arranges a marriage between her and her first cousin. Although not a love match, she and Eugene were amiable. As information about her husband comes to light after his death in the Gold King Mine disaster that took so many lives in Wildcat Ridge, she is left with her husband’s hotel and postmaster position to fill—and a lot of questions.

With Diantha’s former laundress gone, she hires Hilaina Dowd, whose family hails from the mountains of Appalachia. Hilaina loyally stays with her mother who wishes to live out her life in Wildcat Ridge and be buried next to her husband who died in the mine disaster.

Henry “Hank” Cauley is branded a failure after refusing to be part of his father’s Salt Lake City brick-making business and then losing his stationary and book store business. To bury him far away, his brother and conniving sister-on-law use their political influence with the territorial Congressional representative to award him the postmaster position in Wildcat Ridge. He arrives in town to take over the position starting the first of September only to discover the postmistress, Diantha, knows nothing about the change, and is not relieved she no longer is obligated to fill this position originally awarded to her deceased husband. Finding himself surrounded by those loyal to the soft-spoken, Southern lady, is he destined to also be a failure in Wildcat Ridge?

Buckley “Buck” Kramer, wrangler on the Grassy Fork Ranch in Colorado, has not been totally satisfied with his lot ever since the trip he took to Wildcat Ridge earlier in the summer with his boss and best friend now he sees the happiness of family life the two men enjoy after they brought back wives. When two trail-worn young brothers stumble onto the ranch looking for a meal and permanent jobs, but are told with winter coming on there is only room for one, Buck insists on leaving in order to keep the brothers together. Is Buck really dissatisfied with his job on the ranch, or is this an excuse to return to Wildcat Ridge and the woman he has not been able to get out of his mind?
Diantha, Book 14, is a stand-alone novel. However, you might enjoy it best by reading all the books in the series, The Widows of Wildcat Ridge. Also, my other book in the series, Nissa, Book 3, was written to be a duet with Diantha—a series within a series. You might also enjoy reading Nissa if you have not already done so.


Diantha looked past the newcomer towards the approaching Wells Fargo driver bringing her the day’s mail. After Eugene’s death, she realized it was up to her to take over all aspects of the postmaster position. Not wishing the stagecoach drivers to consider her incapable of working the job, she had offered to meet the coach and collect the mail satchel the way her husband had done. The kindly men who drove for Wells Fargo insisted on bringing the mail to her on their way to the Crystal Café. The town still received rain and snow in late March and April, which left the streets either muddy, slushy, or icy much of the year. She had gratefully accepted.
          Diantha smiled at the driver as he drew near. “Thank you so much.”
          The mail bag landed with a heavy thud as the driver tossed it on the counter. “Glad to do it, Mrs. Ames.”
          Diantha watched with curiosity as he turned and glared at her new customer—well, potential customer.
          “You told her yet?”
          The man with the carpet bag shook his head. “Not yet. I was just about to introduce myself.”

          The driver grunted his displeasure and turned back to Diantha, an expression of regret on his face. “I’m right sorry about this, Mrs. Ames.” He paused and nodded his farewell. “Well, I’d best get next door if I want to eat before my last stop of the day.”

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