Prior to reading this book, it had been quite some time since I last read a historical romance set in the "wild west," where the land was still wild and the people still building what would become big cities not long into the future. I was very pleased to be back in the genre and experiencing that again, and Lacy Williams created the perfect setting for it. She crafted a story with many layers, complex characters, and a fast-moving plot that leaves the reader unsure of what comes next. It was exciting to read, and I found myself on the edge of my seat most of the time.
Cecilia White has very few options available, after a scandal in her last job forced her out of her teaching position and desperate to continue doing what she loves somewhere else. An opportunity arises in the town of Granbury, Wyoming, and she sees it as the perfect new start for herself. Determined not to have a repeat of what happened before, she resolves to ignore the attentions of men, especially the handsome chairman of the school board...who also happens to be the only single man in town. John Morgan is running away from a past of his own, and he has finally found his home in Granbury. With his parents gone and a young sister to look after, he has his hands full, but his mind refuses to let go of the possibility of something more with the new schoolteacher. If only she weren't so prickly and determined to remain out of his reach.
I really enjoyed the story as whole but what really drew me in was the dynamic between Cecilia and John. Both were so scarred inside but put on a facade to fool the people around them. Where John became friendly and outgoing, Cecilia became aloof and reserved. Neither seemed like a match at first, and as a reader, it took a bit to warm up to Cecilia, despite knowing why she acted the way she did. It became clear early on that she had a generous nature, and I really admired how she handled a class full of unruly children. Lord knows I could not do that myself! I don't have the patience. I was worried, at first, that there would be a conflict between them when John's sister began to cause trouble, but it was good to see how John wouldn't back down in his parenting duties. Cecilia also held her ground, without being vindictive when she had good cause to be. Theirs was a slow burn romance that was very realistic and full of twists and turns. Ultimately it became a romance that worked hard to develop and earned its reward in the end.
This was my first book by this author, but I'm sure it won't be the last! Great writer and a wonderful cast of characters made for a fun read.
**I received a free copy from the author and this is my honest review.**