by Dee Ann Palmer

May 2005
ISBN: 1-58749-498-1
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Cara left her auntís home to travel to California to be with her other aunt who she got on better with. But when after a long exhausting journey she arrives it is to find her aunt has died and her uncle was now lost in the world of alcohol. Knowing it was dangerous to stay there, she got a job as a companion to a Spanish rancherís wife. When she arrives there she finds that Miguelís wife is childlike after childbirth and she has a challenge on her hands.

This is a good story with a lot of twists and turns. Cara finds that there is an attraction between her and Miguel, which she must keep under control.

Miguelís household is a strange mixture and I found that the tone of the story is Gothic in its darkness at times. The Spanish influence of early California is gone into in great detail as is the troubles between the Indians and the ranchers.

The author makes it hard to know whom Cara can trust among Miguelís household. She faces danger on more than one occasion and the reader is pulled into the plot very well.

It is a very descriptive novel and the reader gets a feel for the time period and the setting through the authorís eyes.

Cara is a likeable heroine but Miguel is hard to get to know and it takes a good while to warm to him. The other characters are hard to place as well.

There are some graphic descriptions of the cruelty of this land and the way they lived that takes a bit of getting used to the romance is good if a bit slow. Good story worth 4 roses.

Reviewed in September 2005 by Mary.

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