The summary: 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 Turophile's review:
Ms. Warner pens another love story that is chaste and sexy at the same time. I loved Pieces of Sky and found that same wonderful voice in this book. Ms. Warner does an excellent job of recreating a small town and ranch in post-civil war Colorado while spinning a sweet love story and creating characters that I rooted for as I read. Edwina was a spunky enjoyable heroine who handled adversity well and Declan made for an attractive hero who appears stoic at first but develops into a man you’d want to bed.
I also appreciated that Ms. Warner did not shy away from some of the harsh realities of the times, particularly racism and class distinctions. She did not make light of these problems or sound preachy.
(Spoiler – highlight to read) I wanted a happier ending for Edwina’s half sister Pru, but perhaps that happens in a later book. Ms. Warner skillfully alluded to what likely happened without providing graphic details. That this story line did not resolve in a happy manner is probably more realistic and in line with the story arc of the book.
Two minor compaints: Despite the length of the book, I thought the initial conflict between Edwina and Declan resolved too quickly. The tension between two of them could have been drawn out more. For example, (highlight to read) Edwina was opposed to having children because her mother beat her and she worried that she would do the same. Declan simply reassures her that he won't let her and problem solved. It seemed a little pat.
The set up for future books in the series also felt too obvious. By chapter two, I was wondering why there were multiple extra female characters who contributed minimally to plot and whose roles could be rolled into one character. Then I remembered it was the first book in a series.
I don’t normally rate covers but I would give this one a big thumbs down. It is a little too Thomas Kincade for my taste. In addition, there are not that many winter scenes in [the] book nor [groups] of horses. It’s set at a cattle ranch. And the church in town was so crappy that it doesn’t match the book cover.