Eliza Sweet (not her real last name, but I’m not sure we’re ever given the real one) is making a fresh start. She’s moving away from Omaha to a small town to become a housekeeper for Preacher Bill Peters‘s cousin, Melissa. She meets a mail order bride and her mother on the stage coach. When she arrives at the new town she finds out Melissa has died.
She finds herself in the company of John Evans, a handsome man of about her age. John is a very nice man, but he’s mute. He is only town to meet his mail order bride Daphne, who is missing. When he meets Eliza he proposes to her.
Eliza has no interest in marriage and refuses him. Eventually, he offers her a job and a small cabin for her to live in. His intention is to convince her to marry him.
John works on Eliza. Eliza refuses him for her own reasons. But she befriends him, while all the marriageable men in town are also chasing Eliza. Many people, including some of his own brothers, believe John is dumb as well as mute. Eliza teaches him to read and write.
I’ll admit I skimmed a lot of this book. There is a lot of long paragraphs that lost me. I know that John is mute so there is no dialog from him, but long paragraphs are boring and lose me.
I was interested in why Eliza was saying no. There was a reason and I wanted to know. And I also wanted to know when she’d give into John, what the black moment would be and how it would all resolve. There was great story telling, great character development. I was interested in the characters, I cared about them. I wanted to know what happened next. I stayed up late to finish the book.
I can handle the writing issues if the story makes me give a damn and characters are interesting and have growth. This book had all that.