Edwina Ladoux hoped becoming a mail-order bride would be her way to a better life, but as soon as she arrives in Breakheart, Colorado, and meets Declan Brodie and his four rambunctious children, she realizes she's made a mistake. Luckily, Edwina and Declan agreed on a three- month courtship period, which should give them time to get the proxy marriage annulled. Except that as the weeks pass, thoughts of annulment turn into hopes for a real marriage-until Declan's first wife suddenly returns.
And here is Phyllis' review:
I like the premise. Yes, the mail-order bride has already been used, but I really liked the heroine, Edwina, who absolutely could not stay in Louisiana. She had lost her home and family. Everyone, black and white, was threatening her bi-racial half-sister, Prudence. She's impulsive, but ferociously loyal and willing to work hard.
The hero, Declan “Big Bob” Brodie, is smart and strong and devoted to his ranch and his kids, but he believes his first wife's assessment that he's like a dancing bear. He was actually hoping for some big, plain woman who would take care of everything he didn't have time for – his house and his kids – but ended up with Ed who's pretty and blonde and doesn't know how to cook. The kids could have been Plot Moppets, but though they're secondary characters, they each come across with personality.
I liked this book better the first time I read it last fall. Not to say I didn't like it this time, but it felt more disjointed on second reading. I wish the heroine had told the hero a bit more about surviving the Civil War and Reconstruction, instead of letting him think she was a princess. And the whole wife-who-left-him-then-died thing wasn't satisfactorily resolved.
I'd say A-/B+. But will it win a Rita? Maybe. There are a lot of really fabulous books in the Historical category and I liked some of them better, so I have to say Maybe.