My Journey by the Heroine of Cheyenne Sunrise

Hello, dear reader. My name is Bryanna Brennan, and I’m the heroine of Cheyenne Sunrise. Janalyn Voigt normally blogs here, but she’s exhausted after putting the final polish on the western historical romance novel in which I live. I’ve been waiting to meet you, so it made sense to step in. Being from the mid-eighteen-hundreds, I know nothing about blogging, but I believe in supporting authors, especially the one who created me.

It might interest you to know that as a child of nine I came in 1848 to America from Ireland to escape the Great Famine. I remember how the ship we sailed on creaked and pitched when storms blew. It wasn’t fair that I suffered more seasickness than my brothers. Liam, the youngest at four, clung to Mam. The middle brother, Rob, latched onto Da. Con, the oldest, was more adventurous. He befriended a crew member, or at least he pestered one. Afterwards he chattered on about America, filled to the brim with the sights we would see and the food we’d eat.

None of Con’s enthusiastic imaginings included being packed into a rickety tenement where we had to stave off rats. (I still shudder when I think of their beady eyes.) My brother’s plans didn’t include stuffing rags into gaps in the wall to stop the winter wind. Nor did he consider that the land of opportunity might offer fewer jobs than men to fill them.

The result? Those who had fled the Hunger might as easily starve in the slums of Manhattan. Theft broke out. Women fell into prostitution. Gangs formed. Murders followed. Small wonder that I wanted desperately to escape. When I grew into womanhood, I managed it.

Five Points Slum of Manhattan
The Five Points Slum of Manhattan, where Bryanna lived, was disease ridden and crime infested. 

Marriage to Ian should have been a dream come true, but it turned into a nightmare. Our union was about opportunity not love, but that wasn’t uncommon before the notion of marrying for love took hold. I jumped at the chance of a completely different life without realizing what Ian would want in return. He soon made it clear that I had become his slave and must dedicate myself to his needs without having any of my own. If he imagined my failure at this, I would suffer. He lashed out with words at first, then by pulling my hair. Finally, he brought his fists into play. My pregnancy didn’t stop his abuse, and I wound up losing the baby. When I shrank from his advances as a result, he threatened to kill me with his rifle pointed at me. Fortunately, drunkenness ruined his aim. I fled that night and sought shelter from a preacher and his wife, determined never to return.

The next day I learned that Ian had shot himself, whether intentionally or by accident no one could say. He had left gambling debts, as it turned out. I sold everything to pay them, including the dresses Ian had bought me. I needed only my black widow’s weeds for a job in service, anyway. The preacher and his wife helped me find employment, and I boarded a train to Boston.

Working in the household of a society matron sustained me for several years, but then the disaster changed everything. Janalyn would object to my revealing what happens in the opening scene of Cheyenne Sunrise, so I’d better leave it there.

Have you noticed how what seems the end of everything can turn into something better? I learn that during my journey through the pages of Cheyenne Sunrise. You’re welcome to travel alongside me.

Cheyenne Sunrise (Montana Gold 2)

Cheyenne Sunrise by Janalyn Voigt

Can a woman with no faith in men learn to trust the
half-Cheyenne trail guide determined to protect her?
Young Irish widow Bry Brennan doesn’t want another husband to break her spirit. When she and her brother Con join a wagon train headed to Montana Territory, Bry ignores her fascination with Nick Laramie, the handsome
trail guide.
Nick lives in an uneasy truce between the settlers and his mother’s tribe without fully fitting in among either. With no intention of dragging a woman into his troubles, he stifles his yearning for Bry.
The perilous journey throws the two together, leaving Bry no choice but to trust Nick with her life. Can she also trust him with her heart? Answering that riddle forces Bry to confront her unresolved questions about God’s love.
Based on actual historical events during a time of unrest in America, Cheyenne Sunrise explores faith, love, and courage in the wild west.

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Hills of Nevermore (Montana Gold 1)

Available now!

Hills of Nevermore by Janalyn Voigt


Can a young widow hide her secret shame from the Irish circuit preacher bent on helping her survive? 

In an Idaho Territory boom town, America Liberty Reed overhears circuit preacher Shane Hayes try to persuade a hotel owner to close his saloon on Sunday. Shane lands face-down in the mud for his trouble, and there’s talk of shooting him. America intervenes and finds herself in an unexpectedly personal conversation with the blue-eyed preacher. 

Certain she has angered God in the past, she shies away from Shane.

Addie Martin, another widow, invites America to help in her cook tent in Virginia City, the new mining town. Even with Addie’s teenage son helping with America’s baby, life is hard. Shane urges America to depart for a more civilized location. Neither Shane’s persuasions nor road agents, murder, sickness, or vigilante violence can sway America. Loyalty and ambition hold her fast until dire circumstances force her to confront everything she believes about herself, Shane, and God.

Read an excerpt from this book.

About Janalyn Voigt


Western Romance Writer Janalyn VoigtMy father instilled a love of literature in me at an early age by reading chapters from “The Wizard of Oz,” “Robinson Crusoe” and other classics. When I grew older, and he stopped reading bedtime stories, I put myself to sleep with tales I “wrote” in my head. My sixth-grade teacher noticed my storytelling ability and influenced me to become a writer.

I’m what is known as a multi-genre author, but I like to think of myself as a storyteller. The same elements appear in all my novels in proportions dictated by their genre: romance, mystery, adventure, history, and whimsy.

Find out about all Janalyn’s books.

This article first appeared on Heroes, Heroines, and History.

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Written by Janalyn Voigt

Janalyn Voigt

As an author I love to escape with readers into creative worlds of fiction in three genres: medieval epic fantasy, historical fiction, and romantic mystery. My aim is to make this website an immersive experience for readers. Care to join us?

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