Elizabeth Grayson never set out to write a series of books that were set in the West. She set out to write stories about strong heroines. Heroines who survive and prosper at the edge of the wilderness – and of the men who dare to loved them.

The first three books of the series are available now:

elizabethgrayson_sowidethesky3_hrSO WIDE THE SKY – A Novel of Wyoming (Book 1)

Cassie Morgan survived a fate worse than death when she was captured by Indians. Returned years later to her own people and indelibly marked by her experience, how is Cassie to make a life for herself in a world where she no longer belongs?

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elizabethgrayson_colorofthewind2_hrCOLOR OF THE WIND – A Novel of Wyoming (Book 2)

When children’s book author, Ardith Merritt promised her dying step-sister she’d take her niece and nephews to their father in Wyoming she knew it would mean confronting the man who’d all but destroyed her life.

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elizabethgrayson_aplacecalledhome2A PLACE CALLED HOME – A Novel of Kentucky (Book 3)

To fulfill her husband’s legacy, Livi Talbot must brave the wilds of Kentucky and confront the man who has always been her enemy.

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elizabethgrayson_paintedbythesun3_hrPAINTED BY THE SUN – The Women’s West (Book 1)

Following the westward route of the Orphan Trains, itinerant photographer Shea Waterston is searching for the infant son she was forced to give up ten years ago. To pay her way, Shea photographs everything from church choirs to outlaws, and is setting up her camera at a hanging when she lands in Judge Gallimore’s jail.

Colorado Territorial Judge Cameron Gallimore, a strong but just man, damned himself years before with one fateful decision. But when Shea is hurt saving his life, Cameron takes her to his ranch—against his own better judgement—to recuperate. While there, Shea begins to suspect the Judge’s ten-year-old son is her own lost child.

But the boy’s identity isn’t the only secret Cam has, and just as Shea begins to heal the empty places in his heart, Cam’s past catches up with him. Now Cameron must stand against his enemies to protect his boy and win Shea’s love forever.

~ RT Book Club Reader Recommendations: Top 1001 Historical Romances.

~ “Grayson has a master’s touch … in this seamless, wondrous Western tale.”

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Recent Posts



Bride of the Wilderness is the 6th book in THE WOMEN’S WEST series of novels set on the American Frontier. (Books 1 – 4 are currently available as e-books and will soon come out in paperback.)  Since this story takes place in the 1770’s at a fur trade rendezvous and in the French Colonial settlements along the Mississippi, talented cover designer Kim Killion was looking for a historical vignette to use on the cover.

Rendezvous 2 Rendezvous 1

Though I had taken a series of photographs at a rendezvous in Illinois at Fort de Chartres, Illinois several years ago, the images (above) weren’t digital and Kim couldn’t use then.  That’s what sent my husband and me off on a fine spring day to Ste. Genevieve, Missouri to photograph French Colonial architecture.

Did you know that there are only three areas in North America where this kind of architecture has been preserved? They are in the Provence of Quebec, Canada, in New Orleans and southern Louisiana and on the banks of the Mississippi south of St. Louis.

The earliest French settlement along the Mississippi was begun in 1707 by French missionaries and christened Kaskaskia. Later fur traders followed the missionaries’ route—from Quebec, through the Great Lakes and down the Mississippi. Farmers in search of arable land came to Kaskaskia a few years later.

By 1750, the demand for land had grown so that the newer residents of Kaskaskia began to cross to the west side of the Mississippi every day to cultivate the rich bottomland. To this day, this area on the west bank is known as “The Big Field.”

The Big Field

To avoid having to cross the river, the farmers eventually built houses on the western bank and named their town Ste. Genevieve. After a devastating flood in 1785, the town moved to higher ground, an area well back from the river known as “the little hills.”  It is here that we find the charming French Colonial buildings of Ste. Genevieve being both lived in and preserved as museums.

While makeshift housing existed for several years after the flood, once the settlers began to build lasting homes, they did it in what is now called the French Colonial style. Many house of the period were built in the poteaux-en-terre style, which is represented by the Biquette–Ribault house shown here.

Poteat-en-terre 2 Prteau-en-terre 1

With this kind of construction, the builders dig a deep trench that scribes the perimeter of the house.  Once the trenching is completed, tall palisaded stakes are driven vertically into the ground and backfilled to establish the walls.

 In the poteaux-sur-solle construction a cedar sill is set into the ground and the vertical pickets are erected on top of the sill to form the walls. Sill house 2 Sill house 1

With both these construction methods the space between the pickets is filled with a noggin called bouzillage, made of clay, straw and woven sticks. Applied in layers, bouzillage hardens to a kind of plaster finish. That plaster is often covered with whitewash as a final layer.

Please note: What most of us have come to think of as a “traditional” log cabin, which uses horizontal rather than vertical logs, is more of  an English-German building convention.

After the move to the little hills, structures like the Bulduc House, began to appear. They were built with the same Colonial French designs but of stone quarried from the “little hills” themselves. Extensive flower,  vegetable gardens and orchards surrounded most of the houses in the village. Bulduc Garden 1 Bulduc Garden 2

One of the most distinctive features of these French Colonial houses is the roof, which somewhat resembles a wide-brimmed straw hat. A complex Norman truss system is necessary to support this roofline, but the height and width also provided ample attic space for the storage of grain, foodstuffs or supplies. Since many of the homes in Ste. Genevieve were also places of business, the attics were frequently used as warehouses.

The roof’s deep overhang also provides deep, shady porches on every side of the house. Some of these spaces were enclosed to as separate rooms, but more often the porches were used as workspace or for meals and entertaining. It is believed that this style of roof was a design brought from the Caribbean.

Bulduc House 1Bulduc Porch 1

We returned from our fieldtrip with a nearly a hundred photographs. The house my cover designer Kim chose for Bride of the Wilderness stands on St. Mary’s Road at the edge of town. It is known as the Beauveau-Amoreau House, and was built in 1792.

House on the cover ElizabethGrayson_BrideOfTheWilderness


If you are interested in visiting historic Ste. Genevieve, these are some links you might find interesting:

< http://visitstegen.com>

< http://bolduchouse.org>

< https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bolduc-House-Museum/42942974051>

< http://www.ste-genevieve.com/histsite.htm>



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