by LaVyrle Spencer
Publisher: Pocket Books
Page Count: 308
Release Date: March 1, 1982
Format: Mass Market Paperback
How got: personal library; via BookMooch
First attention getter: synopsis and author
FROM THE STREETS OF 19th-CENTURY BOSTON TO THE HARSH FRONTIER--SHE WOVE A WEB OF DECEPTION TO ENSNARE HER MAN!
Lovely, fiery tempered Anna Reardon was forced to lie to get out of the street urchin's life that shamed her ... to become Karl Lindstrom's mail-order bride in the beautiful, treacherous Minnesota wilderness.
Karl forgave Anna for her deceptions--but there was still one shameful, burning secret that she had to hide from him, knowing its revelation would destroy the love that had become her very life!
Star Rating - 4
While not my favorite work by Spencer, I still enjoyed this volume immensely. Her characters are rich, her setting detailed, and the relationship sweet.
I liked how detailed Spencer got with Karl’s Swedish background and his love of his rugged home. I got a real sense for how comfortable he felt in this wild land and how dedicated he was to building a home for himself and a family. His strong sense of family and personal sense of honor also defined who he was and shaped how he viewed and interacted with the world.
Annie and James, in contrast, come from a much different life and environment. What they had to do to survive and endure comes through with sad, vibrant detail. Annie, especially, made my heart ache. So much trauma and pain scarred her ability to trust and her self-image. How that affected her relationship with Karl really became the soul of the book and main relationship.
The romance in this book was as sweet and endearing as Spencer’s previous works. The main lead’s opposing backgrounds made for an interesting blend. They both balance each other out and provide something the other needs. Karl gave Annie and James a new home and opportunity in life. Annie mellowed Karl out and made him see that there are other walks of life, more trauma in the world than he may have experienced.
The only fault I can find does irritate me a ton, so it seems to have more weight than it would for someone else. At times, Karl’s sense of honor and right went over the boundaries of such, going into self-righteous territory. Holier-than-though could be used to describe his actions and attitudes towards Annie and her situation.
Now she does hide much and does lie to him more than once. So a bit of distrust and his attitude could be explained. But, a bit more understanding after he learns her full story would have helped to save his characterization for me. From other reviews I’ve come across, I’m not the only one who feels this way.
Great characters, story, and romance make this a great historical romance. Even though the main male lead can be overbearing in his judgment at times, I still liked him and rooted for him. So still a solid 4 stars and recommended for lovers of historical fiction and of Spencer’s books, especially.