She Sells Priceless Antiques.
He Sells Livestock by the Pound.
Is He Really the Man to Make a Bid for Her Heart?
To protect her family’s auction house, Miranda Wimplegate accompanies her grandfather from to Pine Gap, Missouri. All she wants is to help him quietly recover a valuable painting from the auction house he’s purchased there and return to Boston and the security of working behind the scenes, unnoticed.
Wyatt Ballentine is blind-sided by the sale of Pine Gap’s livestock sales barn. The sale ends his plans to fulfill the dream he shared with his father of owning and running the sales barn. And the difficult new owner is making Wyatt’s future even more uncertain.
This story of a search for a missing painting started a bit wobbly for me, due to the auction house setting and the initial characterization of Miranda having her come off as a bit of a spineless do-gooder. As the story progressed to Pine Gap, with Miranda caring for her increasingly unstable grandfather, I was slowly pulled in. By the time Wyatt realizes that he will not escape having a second meeting with the shy woman who hid behind her grandfather as he made a colossally poor first impression, I was hooked.
I do love a story where there is a bit of a transformation in the heroine, so Miranda’s character arc was very much appreciated. She begins as a shy, but well meaning, young woman who dresses as background. As she leaves Boston, she has only recently begun to question the assumption that she will become the wife for her cousin Cornelius (the author seems to have been having a bit of fun here, making him a phrenologist, and Wyatt’s reaction to this is just perfect). Seeing her grow and strengthen in character was one of my favorite things about this novel.
As in Regina Jennings’ A Most Inconvenient Marriage (review) the story is generally serious in tone, with touches of well timed humor. While I was initially uncomfortable when the humor appeared to be a result of the grandfather’s deteriorating mental competency, his condition was treated well overall.
While this story, and the romance, was more of a slow burn than I’ve become used to recently, it was a very enjoyable and satisfying read. The differences between the elegance of the Boston fine auction house and the sales barn in the Ozarks were well drawn and helped emphasize class distinctions and the difficulties inherent in the relationships between different characters, especially Miranda and Wyatt. One of the things I appreciated in this book is the character development. No instant changes in characters or their relationships, which makes the pivotal romantic scenes even more gratifying.
Well written and amusing with suspense, a bit of mystery and a sweet romance for fans of historical fiction. But beware of red headed strangers and Lady Godiva!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Bethany House Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”