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ANNE SCHROEDER. Cholama Moon

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ANNE SCHROEDER. Cholama Moon. Oak Tree Books. 260 pages; paperback, $15.95, Oaktreebooks.com.

Homesteaders struggle to establish a ranch in Central California in the 1870s, amid earthquakes, drought, banditos, remoteness and human failing. Young Ginny Nugent’s privileged life ends with the death of her mother, and her father’s guilt-ridden descent into addiction. She is conflicted in her love of the ranch and her desire to escape until an old cowhand’s loyalty and a Southerner friend of her late mother offer hope that she can change her destiny.