Eden, the Dakota Territory
With no money and only the clothes, (more like rags), on her back, 17-year-old Katie ran from the farm and its abusive owners that had been her home since early childhood. Lately Jacob Schrader had taken notice of Katie’s blossoming curves, and had been trying to climb into her bed. Jacob’s attempts had been thwarted by his wife Agnes, but Katie feared Jacob would eventually succeed. Having withstood years of beatings and mistreatment by both Schraders, Katie could not tolerate Jacob putting his hands on her “that way” and took off for the nearby town of Eden.
Trying to find shelter, Katie stumbled through the swinging doors of the saloon and into danger when drunken cowboys began crowding her. A kind faced man was seated at one of the tables, and quickly grabbed Katie away from the other men. Whispering to pretend she knew him and to play along, Katie sensed the gentleness of her savior and quickly agreed.
Ranch foreman John Roper knew right away there was something different about this woman. Seeing Katie’s plight and growing concerned for her welfare after taking her to the kitchen for food, John grew more incensed upon seeing the bruises on Katie and hearing her sad tale of life as an orphan living with her cruel adoptive family. John quickly offered Katie a job as his housekeeper, but when the spiteful Schraders made accusations against John and then start legal action to get Katie back, John knows the only way he can protect the girl he had grown to care for was marry her. Can John who had suffered through the trauma of a first marriage with a cheating wife learn to love and trust again and give Katie the Eden she deserves?
Carolyn Davidson stays true to form with her unique style for western romance in her latest, Eden. The main characters of John and Katie are portrayed true to life. Included are finely defined secondary characters to interact with them. Some issues, at least for me, with the story is how John, after assuring Katie he would always take care of and protect her, lets his anger take control and becomes little better than the detestable Jacob. The dialogue falls flat and the story stalls at points, netting Eden to rate 3 and half roses.