Warner has established herself as a powerful voice in Western romance. With this series starter she brings an Americana touch to the grittiness of the West as a mail-order bride and a rough rancher struggle to find love. Compelling, emotionally intense and brimming over with compassion and realism, the story brings the best of the Wild West and the warmth of a homespun story to life through the rebuilding of a family and the trials they face. It’s thoroughly satisfying and unforgettable.
Edwina Ladoux leaves the war-torn South in hopes that by becoming a mail-order bride she and her half-sister can start new lives in the West. But when she meets her tall, burly husband, she believes she’s in trouble. How can she care for Declan Brodie and his children when she can’t cook or clean? Declan’s first wife ran off and was killed in an Indian attack. He’s not sure Edwina will fare any better at surviving ranch life with four children, but he begrudgingly agrees to a three-month courtship before granting her an annulment from their proxy marriage. Edwina proves far more resilient then even she thought, and she soon falls in love with the children and Declan. However Declan’s dreams of a real marriage with Edwina are dashed when his first wife reappears. Now Edwina must fight for her family and the love she desires. (BERKLEY SENSATION, Jul., 368 pp., $15.00)