Authors: The Hope Within
The Hope Within
Copyright © 2005
Cover design by Jennifer Parker & Andrea Gjeldum/Cadmium Design
Cover image of cattle in a blizzard: ©Brian Atkinson/Alamy
Scripture quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise—without the prior written permission of the publisher. The only exception is brief quotations in printed reviews.
Published by Bethany House Publishers
11400 Hampshire Avenue South
Bloomington, Minnesota 55438
Bethany House Publishers is a division of
Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Printed in the United States of America
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
The hope within / by Tracie Peterson.
p. cm. —(Heirs of Montana; 4)
Summary: “1886 Montana stands on the brink of statehood, and Dianne Selby finds her world turned upside down in this conclusion to Tracie Peterson’s Montana saga.
Through the twists and turns of life and nature, Dianne comes to realize that the hope within Jesus Christ is the only hope that lasts”—Provided by publisher.
ISBN 0-7642-2772-6 (pbk.) —ISBN 0-7642-0046-1 (large-print pbk.)
1. Women pioneers—Fiction. 2. Ranch life—Fiction. 3. Montana—Fiction. I. Title II. Series: Peterson, Tracie. Heirs of Montana; 4.
To those who struggle in sorrow,
weighed down by the trials
and fears of this world.
There is a hope beyond this world,
a hope in whom we can take rest—
His name is Jesus.
Books by Tracie Peterson
A Slender Thread
What She Left for Me
Where My Heart Belongs
Summer of the Midnight Sun
Under the Northern Lights
Whispers of Winter
(3 in 1)
A Promise to Believe In
A Love to Last Forever
A Dream to Call My Own
A Daughter’s Inheritance
An Unexpected Love
A Surrendered Heart
Daughter of the Loom
A Fragile Design
These Tangled Threads
A Tapestry of Hope
A Love Woven True
The Pattern of Her Heart
Shadows of the Canyon
Across the Years
Beneath a Harvest Sky
Land of My Heart
The Coming Storm
To Dream Anew
The Hope Within
A Lady of High Regard
A Lady of Hidden Intent A Lady of Secret Devotion
A Hope Beyond
A Shelter of Hope
Hidden in a Whisper
A Veiled Reflection
Treasures of the North
Ashes and Ice
Rivers of Gold
TRACIE PETERSON is the author of over seventy novels, both historical and contemporary. Her avid research resonates in her stories, as seen in her bestselling H
series. Tracie and her family make their home in Montana.
Virginia City, Montana Territory
HATE THIS TOWN
ELBY SAID AS SHE LOOKED
down on Virginia City from their front porch on the hillside above the town. From there, Dianne could very nearly see every building and buggy, every weather-worn board, every decaying signpost.
“I’ve known far worse,” her aunt replied. Koko Vandyke was beginning to show her age with streaks of gray in her otherwise ebony hair. The gray was deceiving, however. Koko seemed just as energetic and spry as she had when Dianne had first met the half-Blackfoot woman over twenty years ago.
“Yes, we’ve all known a much harder life,” Koko’s brother, George, threw in.
Dianne didn’t appreciate the fact that neither of her friends appeared to be on her side. “You can say that and not give it another thought,” she said with a sigh. “You’re going home tomorrow.”
“It won’t be that long before you join us. Maybe another two months at the most,” George said, giving her the first encouraging word she’d heard that day.
The Diamond V was Dianne’s home, and she’d been separated from it for nearly five years. The fire that had laid waste to the ranch house and outbuildings had also devastated Dianne’s heart and dreams.
“I don’t know whether to believe that or not, George.” She returned her gaze to the desolate streets below. “Cole is always changing his mind about when we’ll return. Even now he’s talking about waiting until next spring. The freighting business is doing so well, he’s certain the extra time will mean all the difference to us.” She turned her back on the town and looked to Koko and George. “We don’t need extra time—we need to be home.”
Koko reached out and took hold of Dianne’s hands. “You will be. Don’t fret over this. Cole is just being extra cautious. The fire took everything. He wants to be sure he can replace the comfort you were used to.”
“But that doesn’t matter,” Dianne protested. “I don’t need a comfortable life. I need to be back on the ranch where I can raise my children. The boys are miserable here—they hate it. Luke always asks when we can go home, and Micah still asks to return to his special fishing hole. John is unhappy because the others are unhappy, and Athalia hears her brothers talk about horses and animals and longs for what she’s never known.
“I’m telling you, I can’t take much more.” Dianne fought back tears. “I try to be understanding about this, but five years have slipped away in understanding. The first year was completely reasonable. I knew we wouldn’t be back at the ranch overnight. Then more time slipped away, and Cole ended up breaking his leg in that accident late the second year.”
“No one could have foreseen that wagon breaking loose,” Koko interjected. “It wasn’t as if your husband arranged the accident so that he could force you all to remain here in Virginia City.”
“I know that, but then when he was completely recovered, the freighting business seemed too good to leave. Cole was too busy bringing in building supplies for other men’s houses. Had George and Jamie not pushed to get back to rebuilding, we’d have no hope of returning this year. Even so, I must say my hope is dwindling. It’s already June, and Cole isn’t making any plans. Every time I talk to him about ordering cattle, he changes the subject. When I try to mention finding a buyer for this place, he talks of the blessing this house has been. When I talk of purchasing a herd, he tells me we haven’t the time to both build and restore the ranch and tend cattle.”
“And he’s right,” Koko said softly, “about the house, anyway. It has been a blessing. Where would any of us have been without it? Then, too, how would we have cared for livestock and focused on building the cabins and barns?”
Melodious sounds drifted out the open parlor window. Ardith, Dianne’s widowed sister, was again comforting herself in music. It was uncanny the way she had taken to the piano. She could hear a song and replicate it without any difficulty. Seeing her interest, Dianne had found Ardith a teacher. But Ardith had soon surpassed the woman. Once she’d learned to read music there was no stopping Ardith in her determination to learn.
“This house has been a blessing. It’s given us time,” Koko said softly. “Time to heal and time to renew.”
Dianne thought back to their descent upon the small city. The fire had devastated them—taking not only the ranch house and barns, but nearly all of their belongings. They had escaped with very little as the fire moved more quickly than anyone could have imagined. The large house in Virginia City had accommodated them nicely, providing room for Cole and Dianne’s family, as well as Koko and her children, George, and others. They were fortunate—blessed to be alive and safe, for death had touched them as well. Dianne’s sister Ardith had lost her husband, Levi, to the fire. He had been a dear friend to them all and a wonderful foreman. She didn’t know who would ever replace him—if they ever even needed a foreman again.
Bitterness welled up in her heart. “It’s just not fair.”
George nodded, his eyes filled with sorrow. He understood. He had once gone by the name “Takes Many Horses” and had lived with his Blackfoot relatives, enjoying the liberty and freedom of the Indian way of life. It wasn’t fair that he should have to give that up in order to keep from being pushed onto a reservation with his friends and family. It wasn’t fair that he had to deny his heritage in order to keep from losing his life.
Dianne bit her lip. Ardith’s sorrowful serenade was causing Dianne’s spirits to sink ever lower.
I thought music was supposed to soothe and comfort
. But comfort had deserted her long ago.