When Matilda Pennypacker learns of the deaths of her sister and brother-in-law, she travels from New York to Montana to retrieve her nephew, Terrence. Matilda never reckons that Sheriff Mike Connor, the boy's uncle, will not give him up.

A straight-laced, prim and proper spinster, Matilda sets out to prove she is a far more suitable parent than the gun toting, saloon visiting, womanizing sheriff. But Mike turns out to be more of a challenge than she bargained for and Matilda soon loses her heart to him.

Mike thinks that by finding a wife he will be able to keep Terrence. Well, two can play at the same game, and Matilda sets out to find a husband. She suggests they marry one another, but then Matilda believes a handsome man like Mike would never want a "plain Jane" like her. But Mike is smitten with her and they agree to a one-year marriage.

Matilda quickly becomes a part of small town life and though it isn't New York, Short Hill is a place where their love, like the land, can be cultivated to flourish.

WISHES is a delightful, humorous read. Ms. Kane paints a lovely picture of small town life, its myriad characters and its special values. Anyone who has ever shared their home with a cat will enjoy Washington's antics to the fullest in this charming love story. SWEET (Aug., 309 pp., $4.99)

Reviewed by: 
Frances L. Trainor