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A rebellious officer’s daughter…An honorable enlisted man…A forbidden relationship… In 1876, narrow social rules govern life at Fort Randall. Miriam Longstreet resists them all, choosing to pursue rugged Private Jake Deakins. Their stand against her abusive laudanum-addicted mother, a jealous and manipulative lieutenant, and her father’s authority force them to face possible court-martial, escalating deception, and violence. To claim their love, they must have the courage to shape their own destiny.
Though Fort Randall is an isolated outpost in 1876, Miriam Longstreet finds life there far more complicated than she expected when she reluctantly returns from boarding school. Harriet, her haughty mother, is an explosive laudanum addict, her free-spirited sister runs wild, and her father seems too occupied with his duties as commanding officer to notice. Miriam’s independent streak rebels at Harriet’s insistence that she abide by the narrow rules of army social structure. Seeking self-reliance, Miriam is confronted with difficult choices that could change her destiny. Determined to prove her maturity then join her friend Sarah in Denver, Miriam soon realizes Harriet’s volatile behavior endangers her sister, and she sets her plans aside. She meets Private Jake Deakins. Drawn to Jake’s raw masculinity, Miriam is unable to resist verbally sparring with him. Their attraction deepens into friendship despite the possibility their familiarity could be construed as misconduct. When eligible Lt. Robert Wood shows interest in Miriam, it seems the perfect alternative. Unaware that Robert’s sole motivation is advancing his career, Miriam welcomes his courting. But Jake has introduced Miriam to a world unencumbered by artificial social rules. Rebelling, she befriends a laundress, explores class differences, convinces her father to allow a mixed-class party, campaigns for an all-post school, and confronts her parents. Her growing passion with Jake leads them to take risks that could ruin Jake’s career. Meanwhile, Robert and Harriet plot to manipulate Miriam into marriage and Robert volunteers Jake for special duty in a life-threatening Indian fight. As Robert and Harriet become increasingly more maniacal, Miriam and Jake realize they are in love. Together, they face a raging blizzard, the possibility of Jake’s court-martial, Harriet’s growing abusiveness, and Robert’s escalating deception and violence. The life-and-death choices they face could change everything.
Original hardcover published 9/2009. Choices was Denver area Best Seller and named a 2010 HOLT Medallion Finalist. Nowak was also recognized as the 2010 Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Writer of the Year.
“A remarkable story of unforgettable characters, vivid prose, forbidden love, treachery and deceit, and fascinating details of life at a 19th century army fort.” —Amanda Harte, author of The Hidden Falls series
“A wicked mother and an ambitious, unethical suitor will stop at nothing to keep Miriam and the man of her heart apart in this gripping story of the Old West that is a cut above the rest. Westerns seem to be on their way back; this is a good one.” — Library Journal, 8/01/09
“CHOICES is a wonderful romance…The tale will hold the readers’ interest with good dialogue, good pacing, and an appealing, romantic story. This is a romance that readers won’t want to miss.” —Marilyn Heyman, Romance Reviews Today
“An authentic feel for the times is a high point of Nowak’s compelling novel, which tells a dynamic story fraught with jealousy, misunderstandings and deception. Subplots add engaging characters with problems of their own.” –Romantic Times (Four Stars)
“Nowak skillfully takes the all-too familiar topics of dysfunctional family relationships, class discrimination, and drug addiction and gives them a whole new dimension by setting them in the Wild West.” —Booklist (Starred review)
“Nowak’s a huge talent with a long career in front of her…grabs the reader on the first page and doesn’t let go, freshly told, completely compelling.” —Sharon Mignerey, award-winning romantic suspense author
“This is a frontier romance with substance. The serious themes of addiction and class differences provide more depth than usual in a romance. Other characters besides the main couple are multifaceted, with understandable motives for their actions. Nowak researched life at Ft. Randall in the National Archives, and weaves the results seamlessly into the story without forcing facts down the reader’s throat. I’m looking forward to her next book.” —Historical Novels Review
“Choices is… a story with a lot of depth, good characterizations and a strong romance.” —The Romance Reader Reviews
“The gripping character driven plot hooks the audience from the moment Miriam gives up Denver for Fort Randall and never loosens that hold as misunderstandings and distrust are tools fostered by Wood and Harriet. Fans will appreciate Pamela Nowak’s engaging look at Reconstruction Era in the Dakotas.” —Genre Go Round Reviews
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“Pamela Nowak is one of those romance novelists that manages to keep you glued to the page, but not just for the romance. As in her first novel, Chances, Choices deals with real issues, strong heroines, and a plot that makes the story irresistible. Choices is a well-written novel that will leave readers hungry for her next novel.” —Women’s Fiction Momma