Glory Gulch is the setting for this story. It is Glory Gulch of the present and the past. We see the ghost town it has become and when the reader is transported back to the town they will see when the decline started. It will not be to the very end that the reader finds out if the pair stay in the 1800s or return to the future and I won’t spoil the ending as there are some final twists. Emma Carlyle is a school teacher and is completing her Master’s degree. She is also heavily pregnant. She has to complete the thesis before she gives birth. The father of her child is someone she had an affair with. The man was married and left her to deal with the pregnancy. Her thesis is on JD McNaulty and she travels to a small museum run by a lone woman to try and learn more about him. She gets more than she bargained for when she is thrown back in time and meets JD two months before he is due to die. It is Christmas Eve and Emma goes into labor and JD must deal with it all. The pair share the cabin and the parenting while she is in this time. Emma learns all she can about JD and falls in love with him. Emma struggles with many of the concepts of the past but does learn to deal with many, but not all, of the aspects. She does decide not to mention the future to JD as he is sceptical she is from the future. J.D. McNaulty (Jethro Darlington) is a former marshal and hero of Gettysburg. He has lived a life and has lived through much pain in his life. He will forever love his wife but he eventually realizes he can love another. He falls in love with the baby and then Emma as they learn to cope with the new circumstances. JD distrusts Emma at times as he struggles to believe that she is from the future and that she knows about his coming death particularly when she tells him about it.
There are some interesting and heart-warming aspects to the story and one of these is the town and its response to Ruby, the baby. A few days after she was born the townsfolk make their way to JD’s door to bring what little they have and to hold the little baby, much like the visitors to Jesus. The other heart-warming aspect is the joy in which the townsfolk revel in Emma’s piano playing even though she is playing in the saloon, the place of JD’s death.
I really liked this story as it was a fairly simple and straightforward story with a couple of twists at the end. It was a pleasure to read a story that was set in the old West where there wasn’t too much violence. The way in which Emma starts her time travel experience was believable and this only adds to the story. I won’t say whether the time travel experience at the end was realistic or not as this will spoil the ending. But who is the figure that will ensure that JD and Emma find their happy ending?