Another easygoing Wild West romance from Williams (Lady of No Man's Land, 1988; The Cave Dreamers, 1983). Deprived by the Civil War of both her fiancÃ‰ and her widowed father, Susannah Alden sets aside her grief to accept a teaching position in the wilds of Kansas rather than face life alone in her overcivilized Ohio hometown. Little does Susannah know, however, what hardship awaits her in the land of windswept prairies, rattlesnakes and work-roughened men who aren't always very polite. It doesn't matter, though: Susannah is a survivor. She copes by transforming a two-room ""soddie"" into a combination schoolhouse and living quarters while fending off the amorous attentions of the local cattle baron, getting to know the bone-weary local women and their children, and attempting to form the motley assortment of Rebels, Yankees, ranchers and homesteaders into something like a cohesive community. She also falls in love with gruff Doc Rawdon; but since this dour bachelor neighbor refuses to court her because he's convinced she can never love him, she settles into life as a 27-year-old spinster by concentrating on her classroom full of strivers, rebels and dreamers--until she is forced to confront a deranged homesteader who beats his son and sets fire to the homes of the local Mennonite farmers. When Doc Rawdon witnesses her bravery in the face of danger, he's moved to propose in spite of himself, and Susannah, Doc, the cattle baron, and the rest of Kansas march confidently into their collective future. A pleasant enough prairie tale.