"When the settlers arrived here in 1863, the Indians told them all about the Bear Lake Monster. It had captured and carried off two braves who were swimming. The monster was described as a serpent-like creature with legs about 18-inches long, and could crawl out of water, scurrying along on land. The Natives warned the pioneers to not go near the lake to swim. This legend still lives on today."
~David and the Bear Lake Monster, Linda Weaver Clarke
To David, the central character in this book, the monster sounds like a joke, but many people in town believe otherwise. As readers, we're not sure if the monster is fact or fiction. David's feelings for his deceased mother, however, are real and clear. He's upset and wishes he'd spent more time with her before she died, and regrets putting his freight business before his relationship with his mother. He comes back to visit the Roberts family in Paris, Idaho, to sort things out. While visiting, he becomes fascinated by a dainty and graceful dance teacher he meets at the town social, Sarah, and defends her honor a few times. Respect for women was very high in the West, and any man who hurt a woman could expect to be hunted down by other men. (Perhaps it's time to give Western movies another try!) But David holds back his true feelings for Sarah. The story also features other romance. While the marriage between Melinda and Gilbert Roberts is not perfect, their children are thriving and the couple's love endures.
Like the other books in this series, this novel is a lot of fun to read. But these books also have a serious side, and would help middle school and high school students learn about the history of the West, and the issues of the day, such as women's rights. These were the true pioneer days for women, when American women were slowly obtaining the right to vote, to attend college, and to become professionals. In David and the Bear Lake Monster, there's even a hint about the next book in the series, as Melinda wishes she could see a woman doctor. Please stay tuned for my review of the fifth and final book in this series, Elena, Woman of Courage, which features a woman doctor in the wild West.
Linda Weaver Clarke is once again generously offering an autographed copy of the first book in the series, Melinda and the Wild West, as a giveaway (US/Canada). To find out more about this book, here's my review.
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Enter by 5 PM PST on Sunday, January 24. The winner will be selected randomly, and announced on Monday, January 25. Good luck!
Special thanks to Linda Weaver Clarke for sending me this book.