SUMMARY: Impatient to meet her intended groom and help him grow his general store, mail-order bride Eliza Cantrell sets out on her travels a week early. But her plan goes sadly awry when her train is held up by robbers who steal her dowry, and Axel, her groom-to-be, isn't even in town when she finally arrives.
Axel's business partner, William Stanton, has no head for business and would much rather be a doctor. When his friend's mail-order bride arrives in town with no money and no groom in sight, he feels responsible and lets her help around the store - where she quickly proves she's much more adept at business than he will ever be.
The sparks that fly between Will and Eliza as they work together in close quarters are hard to ignore, but Eliza is meant for Axel and a future with the store, while Will is biding his time until he can afford medical school. When Axel finally returns, their troubles are far from over, and soon Will and Eliza must decide what they're willing to sacrifice to chase their dreams - or if God has a new dream in store for them both.
REVIEW: There were a few things I liked about this book. Some of the main characters are not your typical ones, which is refreshing. Eliza is not know for her beauty, especially now that she has a scar on her face, courtesy of one of the robbers; Will is very humble when it comes to treating people and, most times, refuses to take money for his services; and Irena Lightfoot, Eliza's roommate and friend, was a bearded lady with a generous heart, who had previously worked in a circus sideshow. I liked how Eliza went after what she wanted and wasn't afraid to step out of her comfort zone. The storyline took some twists and turns I was not expecting and I loved how the book ended.
There were quite a few things I didn't like though. To me, the story dragged in too many places and I found my interest waning many times. While I like what Ms. Jagears did with Axel, his first meeting with Eliza at the store came on a little strong for my taste. There were also times I wanted to shake Will, hoping he would stop beating himself up regarding some difficult medical decisions he was forced to make.
This book was provided by Bethany House for review without compensation.
Melissa Jagears, author of A Bride for Keeps, is a stay-at-home mother on a tiny Kansas farm with a fixer-upper house. She's a member of ACFW and CROWN fiction marketing, and passion is to help Christian believers mature in their faith and judge rightly. Find her online at www.melissajagears.com.