Saturday, January 1, 2011

Marry Me by Jo Goodman ***

Goodman is one of my very favorite authors, and her A Season To Be Sinful is one of my all-time favorite books, so she's an auto-buy for me. Luckily, this time it was a free download on Kindle that I read on my iPhone!

Goodman's American Western historicals have a different feel about the prose that doesn't touch me the way her Regencies (and other European time periods) do - the characters don't seem to be as richly or deeply drawn. This one follows Never Love A Lawman, and includes Wyatt and Rachel from the story. (I looked for my review but apparently didn't write one, although I rated it 5 stars in Bookpedia.) Cole Monroe is a big city doctor in charge of his teenaged sister Whitley when she sends an application letter under his name to Reidsville, Colorado. Reidsville is looking for a doctor, and Whitley is determined that Cole needs to leave the hospital where he is working under the man who would have been his father-in-law if the engagement hadn't been broken.

As the new doctor, Cole goes around to the "outliers" to make their acquaintance and let them know he's available if they need medical help. The opening of the story introduces the reader to the ne'er-do-well Abbot family with 3 no-good sons, one of who still lives at home with the old man. As it turns out, the youngest son, Runt Abbot - from a family of actors - has been acting all this time and has the entire town fooled, since he's a she: Rhyne. Cole discovers this when he finds her hemorrhaging during a miscarriage.

After that big and well-placed surprise is revealed, it gets purty predictable: he has to take her in to recuperate, and then she stays on as Whitley's mentor and the housekeeper and then... boy meets girl, blah blah. Since the title is MARRY ME, I sorta expected it to take longer to convince her to marry him - but by 2/3 of the way in, they're married. Then the real conflict is played out - something foreshadowed earlier, where Rhyne's father becomes even more of a villain than he was for beating her til she miscarried. (Goodman's heroines often have abusive pasts.)

So - it was ok, nothing earth shattering, didn't move me or make me laugh the way her other books have. Cole, like Wyatt in NLAL, is a beta hero, content to let Rhyne take her time and realize their shared passion. I was entertained, nothing more. 3 stars.

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