February 8, 2012
To support her orphaned niece, impoverished Brianna O’Keefe accepts work with a Colorado rancher. To guard herself from unwanted attention, she resorts to a harmless little lie: that she’s married to a Denver gold miner named David Paxton. When her boss forces her to write her “husband,” hoping he’ll take Brianna off his hands, she can only pray that there is no real David Paxton who can expose her.
When Colorado marshal David Paxton gets a letter from a stranger claiming to be his wife and pleading with him to come for her and his daughter, he dutifully sets out to find this woman and the child he may have sired. What stuns Brianna’s wary attraction blossoms into deeper desire, David warms to the idea of a ready-made family. But can his dream survive Brianna’s lingering distrust—and his own secrets?
David Paxton’s pleasant life as a marshal in No Name, Colorado is disrupted when he receives a letter from a stranger claiming to be his wife and asking him to help her and their daughter. Brianna O’Keefe has make up a story that she is married to a gold miner named “David Paxton”. Suddenly, events spiral out of control and she agrees to live as David’s wife to keep custody of her orphaned niece Daphne.
I liked the character of David form the very beginning of the book. He is loyal, brave, tender, and tough. He reminds me of Rhett Butler, Indiana Jones, and John Wayne all rolled into one! I wasn’t as quick to appreciate Brianna. David says it best when he says she is “the human equivalent of a prickly pear.” I realize she was raised in a convent, but I got tired of her constantly correcting David’s grammar and complaining about his foul language. As David comes to care about Brianna, and I started looking at her through his eyes, I began to like her so much more. Her prim exterior hides someone that had to become tough to survive adversity and will do anything to protect Daphne, and this is admirable.
This isn’t the first time a plot of a romance novel includes a marriage of convenience that has the potential to lead to true love. However, I think Catherine Anderson puts a fresh spin on it. David is determined to do the right thing by his daughter and her mother, and doesn’t realize Brianna is really telling the truth when she tells him he isn’t Daphne’s father. It’s sweet to see them slowing becoming a loving, if unconventional family, even if it does take a while. There are some steamy love scenes toward the end, but David and Brianna spend most of the book arguing and misjudging the other, while sneaking in an admiring glance here and there.
I don’t mind the slow build and the romance works for me. However, the historical part of the book could be better. I’m not historian by any means, but many of the things the characters say and do don’t seem to fit with the times. I just don’t think things like “awesome” and “no worries” were common expressions in 1891. A great historical novel transports you to another time and place, but this book didn’t have that effect on me. It seemed more like modern characters put in costumes and placed on horseback. That being said, the book has an interesting plot and likeable characters, especially David and his family. So, overall, I think it is a good book even though the 1890s atmosphere wasn’t as realistic as I would have liked.
Rating: 3.5 (Good)
Heat-Level: 3.5 (Sensual/Hot)
Reviewed by Christine K.
Comment and enter to win your own copy of LUCKY PENNY.