Under Desert SkyToday on the blog we’re featuring the brand new book by historical romance author Sara Luck! UNDER THE DESERT SKY features Sara’s trademark blend of passionate romance and incredibly accurate western history, but it also has something we bet you’ve never seen before: ostriches!

There, have we got your attention? Here’s a little more description, just to wet your whistle:

Phoebe Sloan isn’t afraid of hard work—she couldn’t have survived on the Arizona frontier if she were. But ever since her husband was killed in a ranch accident, she’s struggled to make ends meet and preserve her young son’s birthright. Her last gamble was to start raising ostriches—the plumes are prized by fashionable city ladies—and it could work, but someone’s determined to sabotage her efforts.

Enter Christian de Wet, a South African importer who finds himself drawn to the fragile but determined Phoebe. He begins helping her around the ranch as a kindness, but the two quickly find that the heat rising between them has nothing to do with the Arizona desert! When the saboteur finds a way to endanger not just the ranch, but Phoebe’s family, will she have to forsake her happiness to save her son? 

But what about those ostriches? We know Sara Luck always does her research, but we couldn’t believe something so quirky could be really true. Guess what–it is! Take a look at some of these old pictures…now we know where all those amazing ladies’ hats got their plumes.
This ostrich ranch is in Southern California, but just like in Luck's book, they had to travel all the way from South Africa!
This ostrich ranch is in Southern California, but just like in Luck’s book, they had to travel all the way from South Africa!


People came from far and wide to visit Cawston’s Ostrich Ranch, which was kind of an ostrich theme park. Not only could you watch their feedings every day, you could drive a little ostrich-pulled cart, or even ride them, as these two ladies of leisure were doing.

"When I said I needed a ride, this isn't what I had in mind."
“When I said I needed a ride, this isn’t what I had in mind.”


So why the ostrich craze? Because fashionable women of the day were wearing hats like these:

ostrich hat


ostrich hat 2 ostrich hat 3


Arizona and California apparently had the climates most suited to ostrich ranching. If you find yourself in Arizona, you and your sweetie can play Phoebe and Christian at Rooster Cogburn’s Ostrich Ranch, and feed the “living dinosaurs.” (That doesn’t really make them any cuter, guys.) Just watch your fingers!

Tell 'em Sara Luck sent ya!
Tell ’em Sara Luck sent ya!