PUBLICATION DATE: MAY 8, 2012
ivian Sinclair is the ‘baby’ of the family, and she has found it difficult to always live in the shadow of her perfect sisters. When Vivian joins her sisters in Cripple Creek, Colorado, she is given a warm welcome, but she soon finds that the small mining town doesn’t have too many opportunities for a woman on her own. With her past back in Maine still haunting her and her need for a job overwhelming her, Vivian agrees to a job as a hostess at a sporting house. Little does she know that this decision will lead to a life of deception that will send her even farther down the wrong path.
For Carter Alwyn, the local sheriff’s deputy, the main priority is to keep Cripple Creek safe. When a trio of bandits begins terrorizing the town and others around it, he makes it his personal mission to see them brought to justice. But when newcomer Vivian Sinclair seems to be caught right in the middle of the whole affair, Carter is astounded at his attraction to her. He wonders if he could ever have a normal life with a wife and family, since he is so committed to his job.
This book continues the stories of the Sinclair sisters of Cripple Creek, Colorado, and begins in June of 1897.
I enjoyed the first two books in this series, Two Brides Too Many and Too Rich for a Bride – the second one more than the first. But I think it is safe to say that this third offering in the series is by far my favorite.
What struck me most about this book was how balanced everything was. There are historical elements, of course, since the novel takes place in 1897, but the story fits right into the history and the setting. The romance is perfectly woven into the other aspects of the plot. The relationship between Vivian and Carter is a main plot point, but it doesn’t overshadow the rest of the story, including the characters’ growth and their faith in God. The characters from the previous novel were woven into the story just enough to include them but without walking all over Vivian’s story.
While some might think that the romance in this book was a little lacking (since Vivian and Carter rarely touch or swoon over each other), I think that it was actually very fitting. Considering Vivian’s past, she would definitely be one who would be extremely cautious about getting too physical with another man. This allowed Vivian and Carter’s relationship to be built on more than just attraction – it was built on respect for each other and on a shared faith in God and His grace.
I also liked the bit of suspense that was added to this novel. The trio of bandits made the story more exciting, and the way everything got mixed up with the secrets that Vivian was keeping made her story even more interesting.
The only thing that was disappointing about this book was that it just didn’t seem as if Vivian had a strong enough motive for getting involved in working at the sporting house. Yes, she felt unworthy because of the things that she had done in her past, and, yes, she had tried and failed at various other jobs. But she was living in the same town as her three sisters. I hardly think they would have kicked her out on the street if she was unable to find employment. Maybe I am underestimating how badly Vivian felt about herself, but it seemed as if her reasoning was a little thin.
Even though Vivian just kept making mistakes and I sometimes got frustrated with her, this book ultimately has a message of God’s unfailing love and forgiveness – and that with God’s help, we can show that forgiveness to others. I appreciate the author’s ability to incorporate the spiritual side of the character’s lives and to integrate it so well.
I feel as if I have not necessarily done this book justice with my review. I really liked this book. It had almost an ‘old-school’ Christian fiction feel to it – like books from Janette Oke or Lori Wick. These were the authors who brought me into the genre, and while I sometimes enjoy when other authors break away from that tradition, I still always like to come back to what attracted me in the first place.
As I got closer to the end of this novel, I actually started feeling really sad because I was assuming that, since this book was about the youngest sister, this would be the end of the series. Then there started to be little hints here and there towards the end of the book pointing towards another novel in the series. Imagine my delight when I discovered that the next Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek book, Twice a Bride, will be out in October. I will definitely be getting my hands on that one.