by Beverly Jenkins

September 2002
ISBN: 0-06-050299-0
Reviewer Graphic Button Avon Books
Mass Market Paperback

I have read many western romances over the years and few have held my attention for longer than a moment. It often seems that after putting a book down, that the plot and the characters slip away from you until the book is picked up again. Not so with Beverly Jenkinsí newest book A Chance at Love.

Loreli Winters has come to Kansas with a wagon train full of mail order brides. She has no intention of staying in Kansas or becoming a wife. However, Loreli falls in love with Beatrice and Deirdre, two lonely little girls with a stern but attractive uncle. Loreli loves these little girls but she is not too sure about their uncle Jake or becoming anyoneís wife.

Jake Reed has survived the Civil War and held on to his farm a feat that few others accomplished. Now he has two little girls to take care of and he wants to find them a mother. Jake wants a respectable woman for his girls; and the girls want Loreli.

Loreli, a former slave and gambler, is far from respectable and Jake an active union organizer already has trouble from the towns folk. Jake is attracted to Loreli and Loreli to him, but she doesnít want to get married and he wants an upstanding woman for his wife. Together they come up with a plan. They will get married for one year and raise Jakeís nieces, until he can find a proper woman. Now, if they could only forget the attraction that they feel for each other. Can two little girls help Jake and Loreli heal, forget their pasts, and forge a new future?

This book takes a new look at the West from an African American point of view. Too often western romances focus strictly upon whites and Native Americans and tend to make the reader forget that the West was a melting pot of cultures. Beside a wonderful love story, this book opened my eyes to how difficult it was for African Americans to blend into society after the end of the Civil War. A Chance at Love has a plot that is truly unique and interesting and has a fresh feeling to it and the characters are unforgettable. The two little girls steal your heart right from the beginning of the story and donít let go until the end. Jake and Loreliís pasts touch the reader and make these characters seem very genuine. The love story is very sweet and is masterfully woven throughout the book. I cried with them, cheered with them, and felt that I had participated in the story myself. This is the mark of truly great author. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a sweet and fulfilling love story.

Reviewed in August 2002 by Jen.

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