I love, love, loved this book! It’s such an interesting story that begins in England with a murder, and ends with a fiery romance in British North America. And it’s all because of a horse bet between brothers. I mean, isn’t that how all good stories begin?
What’s it About?
Trapped in a life of 1820s drudgery in her brother’s tavern, Heather Grey is desperate to escape not only the bleak future of the rural English inn but the brutish attentions of the lout who is determined to marry her. When her brother is found dead, there is even more reason to flee, and she and her upper-class friend Julia make plans.
In the wilderness of British North America, Dr. William MacTavish makes a wager with his brother Jamie, a ship’s captain, that he can’t find him the perfect assistant—strong for farm work, clever for learning medicine, and literate to keep the doctor’s accounts. He forgets to specify that the assistant should be male.
When Jamie returns with a tavern wench wanted for murder back in England and her wild but high-born friend, the good doctor sees only charges of abduction and nooses around both his and Jamie’s necks as a future.
So the cover art could definitely use some work. It kind of seems like a throwback to the romance novel covers of yesteryear. I’m waiting for Fabio to make an appearance. Cover art aside, I had a hard time putting this book down, mainly because the storyline was constantly moving and adapting. I absolutely loved that Dr. William was thrown when his brother brought back a woman to act as his assistant. That’s right Doc, women can also be competent in the workplace!
The love story which develops between William and Heather is so much fun to read, as they both try their hardest to prevent it from happening, but we all know they’re doomed to a lifetime of happiness. This is juxtaposed perfectly with another love story happening on the sidelines between William’s brother Jamie, and Heather’s best friend Julia. Where the former couple is hesitant to explore the sexual tension blossoming between them, the latter are more than happy to go for a roll in the hay.
Heather is a total badass who isn’t afraid to stand up for herself. I must say it was refreshing to have such a strong female lead character. When she was fed-up with her brother treating her like a servant, and tavern customers eyeing her like a piece of meat, she was determined to get out of that situation no matter the cost. When she arrives in North America to work for a hot-headed doctor who is set on rejecting her as an assistant, she doesn’t beg and plead with him to take her on. She proves to him that she can hold her own, and decides that if he doesn’t want her to stay, she’ll be brave enough to find another way to survive in this new land. Can I give this girl a standing ovation?
Heather’s friend Julia is also an amazing character who brings a certain amount of hilarity to the book. A modern woman in every way, she’s not afraid to give up her life in England’s high society for the unknown of the New World. Although she can’t cook for shit, and hard labor isn’t exactly her strong suit, she’ll stand by her friend. Julia also isn’t afraid to flirt and bicker with the handsome Captain Jamie MacTavish. I must say I would absolutely love either another book or short novella dedicated to Julia and Jamie, as their relationship was so funny and adorable, I’d love to find out more about what happened behind the scenes.
Let’s Consider the Men
Yes, let’s! Dr. William was really an anomaly, which I think made his character even more enticing. He’s definitely a hard-ass when it comes to his interactions with Heather, but as a doctor he is inherently compassionate. He has a rather tragic past though, in that his wife and child died years before. However, he has truly found his equal in Heather. Not only do they share a common interest in healing and medicine, but she is more than happy to rough it out in the wilderness with him. Now I wouldn’t go so far as to call him an alpha-male, but he quickly becomes very protective of Heather’s well-being, which is just delicious.
Another male character I unexpectedly loved was Heather’s dog, Midnight. This is an alpha-male in every sense of the word! Heather brought him along from England, and he is the absolute protector. Even though Dr. William tries to remain firm in his dislike of Midnight, he can’t help but come to have a soft spot for the pooch. Such a precious widdle iddy biddy puppy! Sorry, when animals are involved I immediately turn to baby talk.
Should you read it? Yes! It’s a great historical romance, with some intrigue and mystery thrown in as well.
Smut Level: It’s actually a very clean read. There is some obvious sexual tension between William and Heather, but at most they just share a few kisses.
Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $3.82 Kindle Price. The Wild Rose Press, Inc. 270 Pages.