“The Wind Comes Sweeping,” by Marcia Preston, Mira Books, 326 pages, $13.95.

After her father’s death, Marik had no choice but to leave her teaching job to come back and run the Oklahoma ranch she had inherited.

She hoped to enjoy the solitude and recapture her happy childhood. She is determined to clear her father’s debts and find out the fate of a daughter she gave up for adoption. Could the tiny bones found up on the ridge be her child?

She had leased land to the power company to set up a wind farm. Her neighbors, Lena and Burt Gurdman, hated the gigantic windmills. When Marik discovered a dead eagle under the blades of the turbines, she knew her neighbors would use it to block further construction of the white giants.

Marik considered that hiring Jace Rainwater as foreman on the cattle ranch was the best decision she’d ever made. He made repairs that had been neglected for years and turned out to be knowledgeable about wild life and cattle. He also gave her more time for her passion, painting mysterious landscapes with hidden meanings.

Marik has secrets, Jace is closed mouth about his background and Lena turns out to be more connected to Marik than is comfortable.

As Marik endures her loneliness, she understands how her ancestor, Lessie, in 1895 came to end her own life. She wonders how her mother was able to deal with ranch life. This was Marik’s life now. Was she tough enough to endure it?

Marcia Preston has a talent for revealing just enough of situations to keep her readers turning pages to satisfy a burning curiosity. The main story moves along with no sagging in the middle, but connects with another subplot only divulging snippets of the focal scenario. Each character is distinctive enough to become authentic.

When an old college flame, now a congressman, reappears, offering to help, Marik has even more difficulty keeping secret the result of their romance.

Marik’s scruples and values are so admirable that I longed for her to find happiness, but the story ends with some of her troubles still unsettled. The novel calls for a sequel. Does she find someone to share her life? Is a relationship with her lost daughter possible? What became of Lena who functions as an antagonist of the story?

An author’s note gives us a glimpse of the concept of clean, renewable energy that is available with wind farms. Preston calls it, “The whispered heartbeat of a windswept land.”

JoAn Watson Martin is an educator.

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