San Francisco - 1849
Rachel Van Buren just wants to return to the East. What was her father thinking moving them to this god forsaken place! Her father passed away on the way to California. It was just Rachel and her sister and brother. She needed money to get them back, but where was she going to find a respectable job in this mining town? She had to do something before her siblings were drawn to the dark side of this lawless place.
Johnnie Parker owns the City Hotel. From the outside it looks like a respectable place to stay, but once you enter, that thought just leaves you. Sure it is a hotel, but all there is to sleep on is cots. There is also a saloon. He never thought he would see a “bonnet” come waltzing into this place. A “bonnet” is what the miners refer to as the ladies of decency, they didn’t see many of those in these parts.
Rachel and Johnnie come to an agreement, she and her siblings can stay in his cabin behind the hotel for free, they in turn will cook and clean the hotel and saloon. Rachel thanks him for this kind offer, but that does not help her in making enough money to return home. Her brother does odd jobs around town and hands Rachel the money. Earning enough money to return East is proving more difficult than Rachel thought.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book by Deeanne Gist. She is also the author of A Bride Most Begrudging. If you enjoyed the first book, you will most definitely enjoy this book. It was great watching Rachel slowly realize what truly marks the measure of a lady. She knows she should not like or even love Johnnie, he is after all a saloon owner, but she has a difficult time ignoring her feelings. Johnnie is somewhat gun shy himself. He was once betrayed by a woman, and he is in no hurry to let it happen again, but he knows there is something different about Rachel, maybe she will be the one to let his heart trust again. I highly recommend The Measure of a Lady!