Title : Well Traveled
Author : Margaret Mills & Teddy Ward
Series : Well Traveled Stories
Publisher : Dreamspinner Press (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, Western
Length : 290 pages (e-book)
Published : October 18, 2010
Gideon Makepeace, a young man of twenty, knows who he is and what he likes: decency, men and women too, horse training, and fun… and in Livingston, Montana, in the lush autumn of 1895, he finds he likes a Lakota Sioux Indian better than he might ought to.
Jedediah Buffalo Bird is seriously wounded and seeking medical care, and Gideon helps Jed when some bigoted townsfolk might have done otherwise. Jed, who knows the wild far better than Gideon and feels indebted to him, agrees to repay him by being his guide to San Francisco.
Their trip takes them across thousands of wild miles, through the mountains men mine and the Indian reservations dotting the plains. Facing a majestic West, they learn from each other about white folks and Indians alike. Gideon’s interest in Jed is clear from the start, but will Jed give up the life he knows for a young, brash white man he has perhaps come to love? Or will he push Gideon away in favor of the peace of nature and the personal freedom of having nothing to lose?
Gideon Makepeace is a trick rider with a traveling Wild West show. He is taking a break from traveling with the show to train horses in Livingston, Montana. Jedediah Buffalo Bird is a young Lakota Native American man that comes to Livingston because he is injured and left no choice but to seek medical care. The story begins in the autumn of 1895. Gideon has finished the horse training and is planning on heading back west to meet up with his family and the show by train. When he goes to the livery to check on his horse he sees Jedediah who is gravely wounded and being harassed by some local men. Gideon steps in and helps Jed then takes him to a local doctor that he has become friends with while working in Livingston. Gideon is drawn to Jed’s quiet strength and courage and decides to stay and take care of him, not knowing whether Jed will live or die from his injuries. Gideon works with other Native Americans in the Wild West show and does not have the same prejudices as some. There are things Gideon has been through that have shaped how he sees people and knows there are things about him that some people would be intolerant of.
During Jed’s convalescence Gideon uses up his funds to help pay for room, board and medical expenses for Jed and can no longer take the train to San Francisco. When Jed recovers he agrees to be a guide for Gideon to San Francisco. The narrative is set in the vernacular of the time without being distracting but not fitting with our current politically correct terms. It would have felt contrived to have done otherwise. I was completely engaged from the beginning of the story with the beautiful descriptions and depth with which the characters are written. I felt like I was a part of the journey, feeling the emotions of both men and looking at the world from both of their points of view. It is a story that moves at a gentle, steady pace exploring life in the late 1800’s as well as what it is like to feel different, apart from society, yet not being completely separate. I enjoyed the movement from one experience to the next and how these events shaped the relationship between these two men.
The romance that builds between them was at times heartwarming and at other times heartbreaking. I thought the journey from knowing the difference between pleasure and love was beautiful. It was gradual and revealed in small but significant increments.
I love westerns but I am not always a fan of historical novels. This one although dealing with prejudices was not preachy and the love story between Gideon and Jedediah was the focal point. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I am looking forward to reading the Christmas short: “Earth and Sun, Cedar and Sage“ (Gideon and Jedediah #2) I do not know if the authors plan more books in this series but I certainly hope so.
Rated 5 stars by Deb