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Reviews

ESCAPING YESTERDAY

A young woman shows how far she’ll go to save her daughter from an awful fate. . . [the] love story is greatly enriched by the historical details Nowak (Changes, 2013) provides on the real-life Elitch’s Gardens, which existed from 1890 to 1994, when it was moved closer to downtown Denver.  –Kirkus Reviews, August 1,2015 

Nowak brilliantly weaves the history of the actual park into her story and skillfully paints a vivid picture of life there. She deftly handles the delicate topics of incest and PTSD without becoming maudlin. It’s easy to visualize the animals, rides and Caleb’s flowerbeds as conveyed by Nowak’s beautiful prose. –Romantic Times Book Reviews, September 2015, Four Stars

“…the story is heart-wrenching. Nowak is as skilled with settings as she is with emotional tone. Elitch’s Gardens was a real amusement park in Denver, and the rides, animals, and Mary Elitch Long and her husband Tom are brought to vivid life again.”   –Historical Novel Society

 

CHANGES

Librarian Lise Dupree has a secret, one that cost her her last job: her mother is half-Sioux. In 1879, this is an unforgivable offense. Now the head librarian in Omaha, she hides her identity and passes as white. However, with the incarceration of her ailing, elderly aunt and the trial of an important chief looming on the horizon, Lise, though still not revealing who she really is, begins to show her pro-Indian sympathies. Zach Spencer, the prosecuting attorney in the Standing Bear case, disagrees with Lise but is impressed with her legal-research skills, and soon his admiration turns to love. The problem is Lise hasn’t shared her heritage with Zach, and given his beloved grandfather’s attitude toward Native Americans, she’s sure that when he finds out, their relationship will end. Nowak has captured the prejudices of the day in this well written historical romance and has avoided the seemingly omnipresent stereotypes many writers of historical westerns stoop to using. Standing Bear’s landmark trial, which determined whether American Indians were “real” human beings or merely ignorant “savages,” was a vital part of the path that eventually led to their enfranchisement.

— Shelley Mosley, Booklist 8/01/13 Starred Review

Nowak (author of Choices and Chances) 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. –Publishers Weekly 6/07/13 Starred Review

Set under the backdrop of the famous Standing Bear trial, CHANGES tells the fictionalized story behind the scene, as Lise and her friends work tirelessly to help Standing Bear. An excellent historical novel, CHANGES is one book you will not put down before the end!  Romance Reviews Today

“Nowak’s latest historical romance is largely inspired by real people and events that surrounded the controversial trial of Ponca Indian chief Standing Bear in 1879. The novel is fast-paced, steamy when appropriate and accurately reflects the history of the trial and intended time period. Better still, given the characters’ ongoing smart and sassy dialogue, this novel will appeal to fans of both historical and contemporary fiction.”  –Romantic Times Book Reviews, Four Stars

Pamela Nowak’s Changes, which revolves around the true events of the trial of Ponca Indian Chief Sleeping Bear in 1879, tells the story of Lise Dupree, a librarian who is pulled into the controversial trial when her aunt is arrested. Offering to help Zach Spencer, the District Attorney, Lise finds her views of equality and justice changing. Readers will find the Lise’s job as a librarian refreshing and unique given the 1879 setting, a time when women were still trying to claim their place in the workforce, and will also be able to relate to the themes of adversity and equality.” –“Modern Flair: Historical Romances With Modern Issues” BY RT BOOK REVIEWS, AUGUST 01, 2013

 

CHOICES

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)

 

CHANCES

“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)

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