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Till My Last Breath

Book One in the Desert Hills Trilogy

Two lives forged out of truth and trust, can their love survive, or will it take its last breath?

“Emily Sweeney, MD, is a vibrant young trauma physician at a major Seattle medical center who is tragically taken from the comfort of her 21st Century life. Suddenly, dropped into the 1880s unforgiving frontier, she is determined to survive, or die all over again. Using her knowledge and skills as a physician, Emily struggles to save a stranger in the desert hills of the Arizona Territory. In the end, can she return to her previous life and leave behind the man she’s come to love?

Caleb Young, a once-prominent Boston attorney in 1880, is haunted by his past filled with lies and deception. 

Hoping to outrun his demons, he willingly leaves his privileged life behind. Heading straight into unforeseen trouble, he is shot for revenge and left to die in the desert hills. Now, dependent on a beautiful woman who appears out of nowhere using her hands and heart to save him, will he finally have a reason to live.”

Two lives forged out of truth and trust, can their love survive, or will it take its last breath?

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ BookBaby (December 24, 2020)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 352 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1098335716
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1098335717
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.06 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08MB7GP82
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ BookBaby; 1st edition (November 2, 2020)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 2059 KB
  • Simultaneous device usage ‏ : ‎ Unlimited
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Sticky notes ‏ : ‎ On Kindle Scribe
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 317 pages
KIRKUS REVIEWS LOGO

As Seen on Kirkus Reviews

4.5
Based on 25 Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars Great great great!

It’s a recommended read and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting the Arthur and she is sweet as the book…will not spoil it for you!

5.0 out of 5 stars A fabulous read by Deborah Swenson

When I pick up a book and start reading it, I'll usually know within the first pages if I'm going to like it. When I started reading this novel, mixing western and modern times, I was hooked on the first page. As others have mentioned, I could not put it down. I lost sleep---which means it goes on my "love this book" list. I can't wait for the second and third book. It's difficult to believe this is Deborah's first novel. She writes like a seasoned author. I live in WA so was thrilled that part of it took place in Seattle. I was wondering how she was going to blend the two stories and she did it perfectly. I have also been reading books about "life after life on earth" and loved the way it was presented in her novel. Great job, Ms. Swenson. I can't wait for Book Two.

5.0 out of 5 stars Seattle, WA then back to 1880's Arizona - a Must Read for All!

I just finished this amazing book by Deborah Swenson “Till My Last Breath”. It was a page-turner. I could just place myself in the story and visualize the characters and scenery by the eloquently written details. I loved the main character’s persistence and dedication to her medical oath. Additionally, what made this book stand out for me, as one of the best books I have read, is how the ending takes place. It took me for a triumphant surprise. It is well worth the time to take a read-through. I look forward to Deborah Swenson's next two books of this Trilogy! I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did!

5.0 out of 5 stars A clever time-travel plot that captured my attention.

Till My Last Breath, a historical romance novel by Deborah Swenson, has a clever time-travel plot that captured my attention. In 2019, Emily Sweeney, a trauma physician at a major Seattle medical center, steps into a shooting situation, trying to help her patients, but instead gets shot, abruptly ending a promising career, and her life. Unbelievably, in her afterlife she is thrust into 1880s Arizona Territory and finds herself in a dirty little cabin without any of the luxuries of running water, electricity or even food. How can this be? Caleb Young decides to go west, leaving his successful 1880s Boston law practice and a personal life of deceit. He makes his way from town to town as a gambler. While in Yuma, he makes an enemy when he catches the man cheating. Later, while riding horseback in the Arizona hills, Calib is shot and left for dead. When Emily encounters Caleb dying from his wounds, she puts her medical skills to work. The problem, of course, is that she has none of the modern technology she’s been trained to use. But she’s a doctor, dedicated to saving lives. The two are drawn together, at first in her life-saving effort, then as an attraction that can’t be denied. But how will this work? Emily is a modern woman who yearns to be back home, doing what she’s trained to do. Caleb holds deep bitterness from earlier Boston days, but he’s drawn to Emily’s beauty and spunk. Their attraction and passion is pulled between two centuries. Till My Last Breath is an interesting novel on many levels. First, the phenomenon of an affair between two people born in two different centuries. The medical aspects of the story were handled well. The author, calling on her own previous profession in health care, does a good job of describing modern medical techniques in comparison with past medications, instruments, and treatment. Swenson handles with aplomb a modern woman’s attitude as she is thrust into 19th century’s limited perspectives. as well as describing the clothing, furnishings and attitudes of the two periods. Another interesting technique the author employs is that each chapter is in the first-person voice of a different character, allowing us to know the various characters and understand their motives. The author vividly describes Arizona’s desert landscape and Yuma’s early days, bringing the story to life. Till My Last Breath is Book One of the “Desert Hills Trilogy.” I’m looking forward to Book Two.

5.0 out of 5 stars A Captivating Read!

What a great read! Deborah Swenson is a talented author. I had a big stack of books I was slowly plowing through, but when I got into "Till My Last Breath" I put the others aside and finished it in less than a week! It was fun, exciting, relational and romantic. Historically accurate and romantic to boot! I thoroughly enjoyed my little "reading vacation" with Deb's wonderful story telling.

5.0 out of 5 stars Western Romance

I really enjoyed reading this book. From the City of Seattle 2019 to the Arizona desert in the 1880's, Deborah has you guessing what is going to happen next and how is she going to tie the characters together. This is a pager turner that I couldn't put down. Can't wait for book 2 of this series!!

5.0 out of 5 stars Transported back.

Admittedly, I'm not well versed in the romance genre, but I found Till My Last Breath a welcome reprieve from my usual stack. Swenson has created two very likable characters in Caleb and Dr. Sweeney. What I liked the most is the author's very detailed descriptions of place. I could picture every wooden plank, every meal, every scent (prickly pear poultice, anyone?), and every sound of nineteenth century Yuma, Arizona -- as well as the occasional jaunt through old Boston and modern-day Seattle. It's tough to write time travel, particularly with multiple characters, but Swenson has done right by her lovers, showing us that sometimes we have to literally move heaven and Earth to find love. Can't wait to see what awaits these two in the next book in the trilogy.

5.0 out of 5 stars Till My Last Breath

I loved this book. The author's ability to use descriptive words and paint a picture of the old west is so valuable to this story. It puts you right into the story. Plus, I love the time travel aspect of this book. I can't wait for the next books in the trilogy!

5.0 out of 5 stars Time shifting Western romance and revenge story

In this time shifting Western tale of romance and revenge, author Deborah Swenson has come up with a clever and unexpected twist to explain the story’s jump from present-day Seattle, Washington, to the parched, sun-bleached landscape of the Arizona Territory in 1880. Dr. Emily Sweeney, a young trauma surgeon, has sass and resourcefulness, both of which come in handy as she copes with her new and strange situation. No sooner does she “arrive” in 1880, she discovers a badly wounded man named Caleb on the front porch. While she possesses all of the knowledge of her profession, she has only the most rudimentary tools available. But that’s only part of her predicament as some very nasty fellows are after Caleb. There are humorous moments, plain dangerous ones and some real surprises that follow. A first time novelist, Swenson does a terrific job of developing multiple characters but takes a bold and risky step in allowing each of them to speak in the first person. And it works incredibly well. Swenson keeps the plot tight, the bullets flying, and the unexpected coming. TILL MY LAST BREATH is the first in a trilogy, and it’s off to a terrific start.

5.0 out of 5 stars Mixed Genres and Good Characters Make an Enjoyable Book

TILL MY LAST BREATH By Deborah Swenson Published in partnership with BookBaby Of Pennsauken, NJ 337 Pages ISBN: 978-1-09833-571-7 EISBN: 978-1-09833-572-4 Author Deborah Swenson takes on a fun idea: What if you mix science fiction (time travel AND Life after Death), stories of the old west, a portion of classical romance novels, and throw in a good cast of characters? In TILL MY LAST BREATH, that’s what the reader will find – If you’re open to such genre-mixing, (and you should be) then TILL MY LAST BREATH is for you. Our hero Caleb Young and heroine Emily Sweeney are united after each suffer life-challenging injuries – but this review will not give away those particular conditions, because no one likes a spoiler. The setting (mostly) takes place in a nondescript town in 1880 Arizona, no different than the towns made popular in most Old West novels, complete with minimalist hotel accommodations, a raucous saloon, dusty roads and canyons – and an abandoned mining cabin that would receive a -3 rating on any hotel rating system. The characters, in addition to our leading pair, include a sheriff of very specific ethnic background (cleverly done), a few villains (in some instances vile, in some instances they appear as if Laurel and Hardy had gone bad), the wise and experienced town doctor, a few fancy ladies about town, and more. Oh yes – add a few ghosts, too, who embellish the idea of genre mixing even deeper. The plot spins around our two heroes as they bicker at first, and then learn that each of them has a background that is more than seems possible. They are encouraged/threatened/assisted by the cast of those around them as adventure after adventure in the old west drives them together, then apart, and so on. As for the time travel, that element appears again and again as one of our characters wishes to return home, suffering disappointment after disappointment as efforts to ‘get home’ are thwarted by desire, by conditions, and by fate. Each chapter, titled after one of the characters, is told from the viewpoint of that character – through this idea, the author does a nice job of mixing who is who as as this gives the reader an insight into the characters that might otherwise be unavailable. Honestly, there are a few near-cliches here - but the story and the use of the genres hides them quite well. In TILL MY LAST BREATH, expect lots of action, a few twists that come about because of the creative genre blending, and a chance to meet some interesting characters.

5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Addition to my Western Library...

I had the opportunity recently, to sit down with a copy of Till My Last Breath – Book One in the Desert Hills Trilogy, by Deborah Swenson. Deborah is an emerging Western author, and Till My Last Breath is her first novel. But you wouldn’t know it to read it. Deborah writes with the skill of someone who has been wordsmithing for many years. Although this is her first work of fiction, as a Registered Nurse and Advanced Nurse Practitioner, Deborah has contributed articles to magazines and nursing textbooks. Her background and knowledge in the health profession informed her writing of her first novel and her main character, Emily Sweeney, who is a twenty-first-century trauma physician in Seattle. Vibrant and driven, Emily seems to be on the fast track to a brilliant medical career. But there are things about her own family that Emily doesn’t know until a tragic accident sends her back in time to the desert outside of Yuma, in Arizona territory, to the year 1880. Time travel has always fascinated me, and Till My Last Breath reminded me of the Outlander television series based on the novel series of the same name by Diana Gabaldon. I was eager to see how the author was going to pull this off. I don’t want to give away too much, so I’ll just say that Deborah found a way to make a unique and seamless transition from the twenty-first century to the nineteenth century. Almost immediately, our heroine has to put her medical knowledge and skill to work when she comes upon a man in the desert who has been shot and left for dead. The injured man, Caleb Young, comes from a privileged family in Boston, but his own tragedies have caused him to forsake his wealth and privilege and head west, where he roams from town to town making his living as a gambler. Emily fights to make sense of her situation and her new surroundings as she struggles to keep Caleb alive with her limited resources and none of her twenty-first-century medicines or equipment. Caleb fights for his next breath as he waits for the men who shot him to come back and finish the job. The inevitable romance develops between the two as Emily is forced to come to grips with the questions that have come to plague her thoughts; can she somehow find a way to return to her old life? Does she even want to return? I am not a big reader of romance, and this book is definitely in the Western romance genre, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to the rest of the books in the series. There is enough action and gritty, Western machismo to keep any guy interested. The two villains in the book will have you cringing in fear and wrinkling your nose in disgust, and you will become such fans of Emily and Caleb that you, like me, will want to see more of them. Till My Last Breath is a wonderful addition to my Western library.

5.0 out of 5 stars Great suspenseful read!!

This was a great read from beginning to end. Great page-turner and characters you love! Can’t wait for the next book!

5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for all genres - couldn't put it down!

Don't be fooled, once you start you will have a tough time putting it down. I came across constant who did it's and and WOWS - an edge of your seat read and you won't get any of the plot from me - You will love it- can't wait for the next book. Enjoy

More Kind Words

  • “Deborah Swenson spun a fascinating read in Till My Last Breath.”“Deborah Swenson spun a fascinating read in Till My Last Breath.”Carmen Peone, Author of True to Heart Trilogy

    “Deborah Swenson spun a fascinating read in Till My Last Breath. This western romantic suspense is filled with deception and revenge. The characters are lively and unique, the setting perfect for a western, and the action is real, as real as the love woven through the pages.”

  • “Time Travel Meets the Western Frontier”“Time Travel Meets the Western Frontier”Sue Ready with Ever Ready Book Reviews

    “Till My Last Breath” is a historical western genre. It employs a time travel element which sets it apart from the usual western themed novels. It's a compelling story that keeps the reader engaged right down to the last page. It reads at a breathtaking pace and I read it in 48 hours. It was hard to stop.”

  • “A wonderful addition to my western library.”“A wonderful addition to my western library.”Michael R. Ritt, Author of The Sons of Philo Gaines

    “Deborah is an emerging western author, and Till My Last Breath is her first novel. But you wouldn't know it to read it. Deborah writes with the skill of someone who has been wordsmithing for many years.  There is enough action and gritty Western machismo to keep any guy interested. The two villains in the book will have you cringing in fear and wrinkling your nose in disgust, and you will become such fans of Emily and Caleb that you, like me, will want to see more of them.”

  • “Time shifting western romance and revenge story.”“Time shifting western romance and revenge story.”Thomas D. Clagett, Author of Line of Glory

    “A first-time novelist, Swenson does a terrific job of developing multiple characters but takes a bold and risky step and allowing each of them to speak in the first person. And it works incredibly well. Swenson keeps the plot tight, the bullets flying, and the unexpected coming.”

  • Till My Last Breath Kirkus ReviewTill My Last Breath Kirkus ReviewKirkus Reviews

    “Over the course of this novel, Swensen presents a story that not only flows through different eras with ease but also through different genres with equal facility. The narrative is solidly paced and displays the author's gift for salient detail, and the chronology moves forward and backward, as necessary, to provide readers with the full story without ever sacrificing clarity along the way.”

    Full Review

  • This reader is HOOKED!This reader is HOOKED!wordsrule

    “I love this story! The characters and setting take you away from beginning to end! Outstanding first book by an author sure to make a rise! Can't wait for book 2!”

  • “A must read for all genres – couldn’t put it down!”“A must read for all genres – couldn’t put it down!”Kindle Customer

    “Don't be fooled, once you start you will have a tough time putting it down. I came across constant who did it's and WOWS - an edge of your seat read, and you won't get any of the plot from me - You will love it- can't wait for the next book. Enjoy!”

  • “Great page-turner and characters you love!”“Great page-turner and characters you love!”Marva L. Sandvig

    “This was a great read from beginning to end. Great page-turner and characters you love! Can’t wait for the next book!”

  • “I can’t wait for the next books in the trilogy!”“I can’t wait for the next books in the trilogy!”Becky Harney

    “I loved this book. The author's ability to use descriptive words and paint a picture of the old west is so valuable to this story. It puts you right into the story. Plus, I love the time travel aspect of this book. I can't wait for the next books in the trilogy!”

  • “Transported Back”“Transported Back”J.B.

    “Swenson has created two very likable characters. What I liked the most is the author’s very detailed descriptions of place. I could picture every wooden plank, every meal, every scent (prickly pear poultice, anyone?) and every sound of nineteenth-century Yuma, Arizona.”

  • “Mixed Genres and Good Characters Make an Enjoyable Book.”“Mixed Genres and Good Characters Make an Enjoyable Book.”Charles Johnson

    “Author Deborah Swenson takes on a fun idea; what if you mix science fiction (time travel and life after death), stories of the Old West, a portion of classical romance novels, and throw in a good cast of characters? . . . then Till My Last Breath is for you. . . expect lots of action and a few twists that come about because of the creative genre-blending and a chance to meet some interesting characters.”

AWARDS FOR TILL MY LAST BREATH

2021 CIBA Finalist for the LARAMIE Book Awards for Best Americana & Western Fiction.​

2021 CIBA First Place Award for the CHATELAINE for Romantic Fiction.

2022 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards First Place for Book Cover

2022 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards Finalist for Romantic Fiction