Walls for the Wind is a historical western by Alethea Williams
Can an angel survive Hell on Wheels?
Raised according to strict moral tenets, 22-year-old Kit Calhoun’s rigid ideas of decency are stretched to the limit when she finds herself in charge of four New York City orphans in the very heart of rip-roaring Hell on Wheels.
Irish immigrant Patrick Kelley first spies Kit in Julesburg, pursues her to Cheyenne, but must still convince her that the best thing to do is to leave behind everything they thought they knew before and learn to forge new lives in the raw American West.
Alethea Williams is the author of Willow Vale, the story of a Tyrolean immigrant’s journey to America after WWI. Willow Vale was a Wyoming State Historical Society Publications Award winner. The orphan train story Walls for the Wind, her second novel, was a WILLA Literary Award finalist, a gold Will Rogers Medallion winner, and placed first at the Laramie Awards in the Prairie Fiction category. Her latest historical novel, Náápiikoan Winter, is a sweeping epic of cultural turmoil on the North American continent at the dawn of the nineteenth century.
A Word from the Author
After the American Civil War, the young nation turns to building a transcontinental railroad as one way to bind up wounds and once again unite the country. Eastern reformers quickly take advantage of the new technology, sending carloads of orphans and street urchins west as soon as the rails are laid and farmers take possession of grasslands vacated by the forced evacuation of Native peoples. As one young Irish placing-out agent from the Immigrant Children’s Home reaches “end o’ track” in Hell on Wheels, Cheyenne, Wyoming, she must decide whether she wants to stay and try to forge a life for herself and the remaining children in the raw new West, or admit failure and return to New York City and the tenets of her strict upbringing. The life altering decision she faces for herself and her four orphan charges is made only more complicated by her growing attraction for another Irish immigrant, a storekeeper to the railroad builders, who couldn’t possibly want to take on four rootless children and will surely move on once track laying resumes in the spring. Walls for the Wind was a WILLA Literary Award finalist, a gold Will Rogers Medallion winner, and first place winner in the Laramie Awards Prairie Fiction category.
(Alethea Williams, August 2016)