Re-Read Challenge: Parting Gifts by Lorraine Heath
PARTING GIFTS by Lorraine Heath
A Diamond Homespun Romance - Diamond Books
This one is set in Texas in 1881. The book opens with Maddie knocking on the back door of the town brothel, desperate, hungry, barefoot. She's sold everything she can to eat and survive, tried to find respectable work, but finding herself alone and unprotected decides there's nothing for it but the whorehouse to survive.
Once the half-decent Madam finds out that Maddie is a virgin she decides more money can be made by auctioning Maddie off for her first time.
Charles is in town to buy cattle. He and his brother run an inn and stagecoach stop. The railroad is taking more and more of their business away and Charles' brother Jesse has been saving money for them to buy cattle as an alternative way to earn a living as the inn business plays out. It's also to realize their father's dream of having a cattle ranch in Texas.
While Jesse stays behind at the inn, Charles travels to town and uses the cattle money to bid on Maddie. Once he has Maddie in the room he proposes to her. Charles is widower with two small children. Going on gut instinct, Charles believes Maddie is tonic he and his family need.
It is actually at this point the story begins as Charles returns to the inn without the cattle, without the money and with Maddie in tow as his wife.
The title is a play on words of gifts Charles seeks to bestow on the people he loves best. He always brings a gift home to his children and as the story begins his gift is Maddie.
This description only scratches the surface of this story. There's twists and turns, many of which you can see coming, but they are handled deftly and in a realistic way in Ms. Heath's hands.
While I still liked this story very much, it didn't pack quite the punch it did the first time I read it. Still, it's a good book, and though it doesn't have much of the steam we've come to expect as a matter of course in our romances these days, it certainly doesn't lack for its breathless and meaningful moments.
Well done and an enjoyable read.
My Grade = B