REVIEW: Cantrell’s Bride by Suzanne FerrellThursday, August 23, 2012 1:29
I’ve never been one to enjoy real history in my romance. Until lately. Cantrell’s Bride is one of several books I’ve read recently that weaves historical events around characters who lived and conquered the danger those events demanded. The second assassination of a U.S. president, and the preceding events leading up to the deed, is the backdrop in this story, giving readers a look at the men of the times who wanted more power than they deserved, as well as the people who unwittingly got in the way, surviving against the odds.
Laura Melbourne is a spinster librarian working at Goldberg’s Library in Washington, D.C. As she is closing up one night, she witnesses the murder of a senator, and as careful as she is in escaping before she’s caught, the killer still learns her identity. Staying with a friend and trying to figure a way out of this mess, especially after the local police don’t believe her and there’s no body to be found, Laura agrees to become a mail-order bride, hiding out in Colorado as the wife of a man she’s never met.
Wanting nothing to do with women ever again after he married a woman who cuckolded him and took nearly every cent he had, Nathan Cantrell reluctantly advertises for a mail-order bride to take care of his daughter for five years, then he and his in-name-only wife can go their separate ways. What Nathan wants and what he gets are two very different women. Laura is a woman not afraid of work, even on a farm, and she loves children. But she’s got a way of nudging Nathan’s heart and he just can’t have that.
I thoroughly enjoyed these two characters. Each has their own issues to face, and it’s Nathan who snaps and wants to break their tie more frequently than Laura. He’s just skittish, and you can’t blame him after learning about the treatment he received at his ex-wife’s hands. It’s when Laura makes breakthroughs with his daughter, Rachel, that he begins to look at Laura differently. Rachel is only four years old. Her mother left her with strangers, who came to Nathan for money to take care of the child. Suffice it to say, he blew his lid, kept his daughter, and ran the varmints off his ranch. But Rachel has yet to utter a word, just sits and rocks her baby doll and screams when anyone but a very select few touch her. It’s Laura who sees Rachel with an observer’s eyes and begins to elicit changes in the little girl.
Life begins to take on a nice routine for this family. Attraction further blossoms between Nathan and Laura, and Laura makes an impact on the town and its citizens when they’re all faced with life threatening issues. But one day hearing a voice from her past makes Laura run. She has to protect those she’s come to love, even if it means never being with them again. Of course, Nathan sees everything differently, wishing Laura would trust him with whatever it is she’s hiding. He has an idea of what that is, after gathering what little information he can, but he needs his wife to open up to him. Following her through the mountains in a snow storm is the last straw, and he’ll have his say at last.
The way Ms. Ferrell has used some of our early history in her story is very well done. It’s interesting when interspersed with the lives of these everyday folks who are involved through no fault of their own. She’s depicted the era and its characters perfectly, introducing us to charming characters who could have very well been those who made our country strong. Nathan is the ultimate cowboy rancher and Laura his equal in every way. The wild west has never looked so good.
Spinster librarian Laura Melbourne is in danger. She’s the only witness to the murder of a senator, and the assassin is hunting her. Desperate to flee, she agrees to become a mail-order bride.
The last thing Nathan Cantrell wants is a new wife, especially one with secrets. What he needs is someone on his Colorado farm to help care for his daughter, a child who has limited contact with the world around her. For his daughter’s sake, he advertises for a mail-order bride.
Nathan is surprised to find himself tempted by Laura, but her ability to care for his daughter prevents him from sending her packing. Soon their marriage is more than one in name only, but the secret from her past threatens not only their tentative union, but their very lives.
Read an excerpt.