by Linda Lael Miller

February 2000
ISBN: 0-671-53786-5
Reviewer Graphic Button Pocket Books
Mass Market Paperback

Charity Barnham is the poor little rich girl that Luke Shardlow saved from drowning when he was eleven years old. Charity was eight. From such an auspicious beginning, it's easy to expect a wonderful and sweet romance from the talented Linda Lael Miller.

Fifteen years and a whole lifetime later, Luke comes back to town on "business". Seeing that his father was a drunkard who accidentally killed his mother and his half-brother is a wanted murderer with a bounty on his head, the citizens of Jubilee were less than enthused at his return. Luke, however, couldn't be more pleased; he'd come back to hunt for his half-brother, Vance and collect the reward, so it was mighty useful to have people stay away from him.

Charity, on the other hand, is drawn to Luke. Besides the fact the he saved her life 15 years ago, Luke had shown nothing but consideration and respect for Charity. It isn't that easy however; Luke's family reputation precedes him, and Charity is reluctantly engaged to a neighboring rancher.

Ms. Miller crafts a tale that is simple and sweet. The characters are "real" in a sense that they never go against their own intuition and beliefs; thus, their actions are always believable, not to mention sensible (what is it with sensible people in Western historicals?). There is no real bad guy, except for Vance, who is the devil incarnate. What centers around this romance are the relationships outside Charity and Luke's, which in turn affect them as a couple. The plot is simple and most of the resolutions are anti-climactic - not really disappointing, but not surprising either.

Reviewed in December 2001 by Veronica.

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