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 about thwarted lovers from different stations in life. Miriam has to grow up and see what is most important in her life, but she also has to help her family through their difficulties. Good research by Ms. Nowak shows how the officers and the enlisted men were treated in the 1800s. The enlisted men lived in very rough conditions. 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)
“Sarah Donovan is willing to take on any battle. To show that a woman can do anything a man can, she has become a telegraph operator. Incensed that women don’t have the right to vote, she is active in the woman’s suffrage movement. When she sees a gang of bullies shoot a dog, she confronts them and comforts the girls who lost their pet. Undertaker Daniel Petterman doesn’t understand why Sarah doesn’t know her rightful place as a woman. Sure, he’s grateful that she was there for his motherless girls, and he’s begrudgingly thankful that she “borrowed” a horse to help him recover a misplaced body. But he just doesn’t know what to make of her. Nowak’s careful attention to historical detail and inclusion of historical figures who were part of the Colorado suffrage movement enhance the realism of the book. And she has successfully captured the essence of 1876 Denver, depicting it as more than just a shoot-’em-up Old West town. Most important, Nowak has come up with believable, non-stereotypical characters and a snappy plot to create a darned good book.”
— Shelley Mosley, Booklist *Starred* review, December 15, 2007
“Nowak’s charming historical romance debut…captures courtship in the Rocky Mountains with flair…” –Publishers Weekly
“It is with a deft hand that Ms. Nowak creates a…satisfying story that is rich in historical detail and drama, and peopled with realistic, likeable characters.” –Romance Reviews Today
“Debut author Nowak’s fascinating tale is a blend of historical facts and fiction that gives readers a view into the fight for a woman’s right to vote, the novelty of being one of the first female telegraph operators and how gossip, jealousy and lies can injure the guilty and the innocent.”
–Romantic Times (Four Star review)
“Nowak (Choices) earns high marks for creating excellent historical verisimilitude, deep characterization, and serious personal growth for both leads in this romance set during the 1879 trial of Standing Bear, which spurred U.S. legal recognition of Native Americans as people. Lise Dupree hides her quarter-Sioux heritage in order to keep her position as Omaha’s head librarian, but after her beloved aunt is imprisoned by the government, along with her Ponca family, Lise feels torn between doing everything she can to help her aunt and keeping her own secret safe. Meanwhile, D.A. Zach Spencer, obligated by his position to take the case against leader Standing Bear, begins to feel uncomfortable defending unfair laws, putting him in conflict with the mentor who is grooming him to become a Senator and who urges him to take a hard line against Indian rights. During the trial, Lise and Zach simultaneously navigate intense attraction, politics, and conflicted ideas of both what is right and what is personally possible, yielding a warm romance story is that is smart, thoughtful, and encouraging as well as utterly charming. (Aug.)” –Publishers Weekly (Starred Review), 6/07/13