Book Review: Seeking the American Dream

Heidi M. Thomas’ Seeking the American Dream, is a heart-felt novel based on her mother, a German war bride.

The story begins in war-ravaged Germany, 1944. Anna Schmidt, a nurse, deals with the horrors of war as she tends the wounded, and as she sees her homeland destroyed by incessant bombing raids. When she meets American G.I. Neil Moser, there is an immediate attraction. Although Anna speaks no English, Neil speaks German so they are able to communicate. She admires his calm demeanor, and she loves listening to his stories of Montana ranch life. When Neil is suddenly shipped out, Anna is left with little hope and a yearning for what might have been.

When Anna receives a letter from Neil declaring his love and a proposal of marriage, she is overjoyed. But the two-year ordeal of emigration procedures make the dream seem almost impossible. Finally, she arrives in Montana and into Neil’s arms.

But the truth is, her problems are only beginning. She meets hostility and prejudice among some of their neighbors. Eastern Montana is a hard land, so vast that their closest neighbor is miles away. Long, harsh winters, spring floods, and sweltering summers make daily living a chore. The lack of household conveniences available in Germany, such as indoor plumbing and electricity, add to their hardship. At first they live with Neil’s parents and Anna feels unaccepted. But through it all, Neil is gentle and patient.

The couple eventually moves to their own ranch and start a family. But the hardships continue—running a ranch is brutally hard work. When sickness strikes, their existence is threatened and Anna fears her American dream is crumbling.

Master storyteller Heidi M. Thomas grew up on a remote Montana cattle ranch, which adds authenticity to her stories. Thomas’ descriptions of Montana’s landscape, weather, and the mindset of neighboring ranchers bring scenes to life. I very much enjoyed Seeking the American Dream which is the first book of Thomas’ new “American Dream Series.”

For more information about the author and her work, visit

Book Review: Dare to Dream

Dare to Dream, the third novel in Heidi Thomas’s Cowgirl Dreams trilogy, brings a satisfying conclusion to the story of Nettie Moser, a strong woman who dares to fulfill a life-long dream of becoming a champion rodeo steer rider.

Dare Cover Final 1.5x2Now in her thirties, Nettie’s time has finally arrived. She and her husband Jake are eager to sign up as riders at a Cheyenne RAA (Rodeo Association of America) rodeo, Jake as a bronc rider, Nettie as a steer rider. Since she was fourteen it had been her dream to be a professional rodeo rider and she had found success. Much to the surprise of the audience, and to the dismay of her family, this tiny 105-pound girl had sat atop of a half ton of writhing steer muscle and bone and rode it to the end.

Nettie had held on to her dream through the years though for a while had to put it aside because of injury, family illness, the tragic death of another woman contestant, starting her own family, and working with her husband and young son on their horse ranch. But now her dream is again becoming a reality. The time is right for her to resume her rodeo competition.

But her dream is shattered when in 1941 RAA refuses to let women compete in rough stock riding. Sometimes dreams take a detour. It’s up to Nettie’s creativity to find a way to be a part of rodeo.

Dare to Dream is the continuing story of ranch life in the early forties. WWII is threatening and Nettie and Jake’s son is approaching draft age. Love and sorrow is a part of life and it takes courage to handle them with grace. The war years bring sorrow and hardship and it’s left to those at home to carry on.

Author Heidi M. Thomas grew up on a Montana cattle ranch. Her first two books of the series, Cowgirl Dream and Follow the Dream are based on Thomas’s grandmother who rode rough stock in the 1920s heyday of rodeo. Dare to Dream follows a historical timeline, but is more a work of fiction than the first two. I found the trilogy a worthy and fulfilling account of the early days of ranch life and rodeo. Thomas brings warmth and believability to her characters and to the countryside in which they live.

For more information about the author and her work, visit