Williams (The Cave Dreamers, 1983; A Woman Clothed in Sun, 1977) is solidly back in the American West with this pleasantly mindless but undeniably grabbing tale. Seventeen-year-old orphaned Swedish immigrant Kirsten and her ailing sister arrive in Dodge City, circa 1880, hoping to claim land and become homesteaders. Her weak-flower sister soon dies, but Kirsten, exhaustingly optimistic and energetic, dries her tears and, befriended by one and all, goes to work as a waitress under the wing of the kindly proprietress of a boardinghouse-where she discovers the wonders of that modern miracle, the sewing machine. Two men fall in love with her: poor but warmhearted O'Brien, who, for honor's sake, must marry another; and rich, sardonic entrepreneur Ash Bowden. Naturally, Kirsten loves the unobtainable O'Brien. She refuses Ash's suit, and, having acquired the sewing machine, a wagon and pair, and a devoted hired hand, sets out to be a sort of circuit-riding seamstress in what will become the Oklahoma Territory. There's the predictable cast of cowboys and ranches; Kirsten runs afoul of evil vigilantes and gets caught in blizzards; and, after many pages of aching loins, ends up with O'Brien after all--as well as with her own homestead. An awfully familiar yarn, but Williams has a good feel for the prairies, their flora and fauna, people and history. Easy-going, often charming.