On the coldest day in Texas—February 12, 1899—Shyanne Jones and her twin sister, Shenandoah, are snowbound in their schoolhouse in the Panhandle, along with the teacher—Shyanne’s adored Miss Gibson—and Josh Paul Younger, the cutest boy in the county. Before rescuers can dig them out, Shenandoah’s frail heart is weakened by the severe temperature. Gravely ill, she whispers her only wish.
Bracing against the storm, Josh Paul and Miss Gibson cut the one tree within miles to grant her wish, and the four celebrate Christmas ten months early. When Shenandoah dies, Shyanne bitterly regrets the harsh last words her sister ever heard from her.
Shyanne’s father, having lost his property in the Civil War, drowns his sorrows in drink, and after Shenandoah’s death, deserts the family. Then, to Shyanne’s disgust, her mother makes her annual announcement—another baby is on the way. It will be the eighth child in the family.
Guilt over Shenandoah’s death, a nervous stomach around Josh Paul that can only mean love, and rivalry with snippy Priscilla Babcock, the town’s rich girl, all combine to make Shyanne unhappy and pessimistic. Will she have to quit school and take care of her brothers so her mother can work, or worse, move to her grandmother’s house and become a lady? Or could Josh Paul be right? Do miracles happen and is there really a happy-ever-after?
The Coldest Day in Texas is alive with excitement and drama, from a blizzard to a prairie fire, reunion picnics and a great jackrabbit hunt to a wagon-trip to the Palo Duro Canyon, from the death of one child to the birth of another.
And Shyanne Jones is one of the spunkiest girls ever to race through the adventures of growing up in the Texas Panhandle.