My rating: 4 of 5 stars
1887 Debutante, Julia Crawford endures a lifetime of subtle ridicule as the plump, silly daughter of a premiere Boston family. Julia strikes out on her own to gain independence, traveling to the Midwest to marry an aging shopkeeper and care for his mother. Julia finds her new home rough and uncivilized after the sophistication of a big city, while closely held secrets threaten to ruin Julia’s one chance at love.
Jake Shelling was sixteen and grew up quick when his parents died from influenza on the South Dakota prairie. Left with a half-cleared farm and two young sisters, he spent little time on his own needs . .till now. At thirty-five, he figured it was high time to have some sons and a mail order bride would suit him just fine. No expectations of love, just a helpmate from sturdy stock, ready for farm life.
Will fate and chance play a trick on Julia and Jake?
I really liked the characters in this book. Julia was what she was supposed to be. She was the brow beaten, plump daughter in a family of beautiful people; and she'd grown up being told exactly what her place in life and the family was. And she believed it, because she'd been told it so many times. The whole family believed it because they'd heard it so many times. When you've heard something often enough from someone you trust, you tend to take it at face value. You accept it as truth. But it wasn't the truth; and it took a lot of courage for Julia to reveal the secret that exposed all the horror and evil behind the beautiful mask her family presented.
Jake didn't know what to make of Julia. She wasn't what he expected. She wasn't who he expected. But it was too late to fix things. And maybe things weren't as bad as he thought they were. Julia tried her hardest and spread her sunshine and seemed to work her way into the hearts of everyone in his family. Maybe even his? So, even if he didn't know if it was right or wrong, she was his and he had to take one more train ride. What will he find at the end of the line?
This book jerked my feelings all over the place. I laughed a lot while I was reading it. I yelled at a lot of the characters for things they did. I was disgusted with them a lot of the time, too. I wanted to knock some sense into them more than once. And there was one character I really wanted to get right up in her face! So, while I gave this a 4 star rating, I'm really tending towards 4.5, maybe 4.75? Give it a read and see what you think.
I purchased this book on BookBub (Amazon) for nothing. The opinions in this review are fully my own.
Judi E. Easley
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