Emily Cannon is not the mail-order bride Luke Becker sent for. The tall, plain teacher has come to Oregon with the veil and gown her sister was to have worn to marry Luke. Widower Luke Becker needs a mother for his young daughter. He accepts Emily as his wife or his girl's sake but offers only his name and shelter to the proud, vulnerable stand-in.
Passion takes a back seat to family in Harrington's (Montana Born and Bred; Allie's Moon) lukewarm, western-set romance. Emily Cannon, a Chicago etiquette teacher, heads west to become a mail-order bride after her sister, Alyssa, who was originally contracted for the position, dies in an accident. Expecting a petite, delicate brunette like his first wife, widower Luke Becker, her groom-to-be, is stunned by the tall, prim Emily. Nevertheless, the two are stuck with each other, and Emily's determined to make the best of the situation by helping Luke's troubled, tomboy daughter become a lady. Unfortunately, there isn't much more to the story aside from Emily's attempts to win over both father and daughter and make a home for herself. The only conflict stems from the machinations of Luke's mother-in-law, Cora, an angry old woman who would like nothing more than to come between Luke and Emily. This tension is resolved almost as quickly as it's developed, however, and Emily's transition into her new role happens too easily to make for compelling drama. Increased attention to the novel's secondary characters and a fully realized subplot might have made this a more substantive story, but as it is, Harrington's latest isn't likely to linger in readers' minds. (Jan.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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February 26, 2010
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