Having previously read several novellas by Erica Vetsch, I was happy to give this novel by the same author a try. Happily, this book proves that she has potential to become a go-to author for Historical Romance.
Priscilla’s Reveille at first seems like a typical fish-out-of-water story, as the very fashionably dressed lady’s catalog artist, Priscilla Hutchens, travels from Cincinnati to the very rustic Fort Bliss in Texas. As she discovers that her orphaned twin niece and nephew already have a guardian in their uncle, post-surgeon Major Elliot Ryder, it slowly becomes more of a story of Priscilla’s personal growth, as she learns that attitude is everything and rediscovers happy memories of her early years as a ‘child of the regiment.’
Her spinster existence didn’t have much to recommend itself. But the twins would solve that problem for her. She didn’t need a man to be happy.
Not that she hadn’t had offers. Why, even on this trip she’d been accosted by soldiers proposing marriage.
As if she would ever marry a soldier. (p.9)
I quite liked that this story focuses on two individuals who are not opposed to marriage but aren’t pursuing it and are somewhat content with their singleness. Their unlooked for romance is that much sweeter, and I enjoyed the interactions between Priscilla and Elliot. In particular, how they eventually find that they and their particular skills complement each other and how Elliot witnesses Priscilla’s different strengths as she helps with the twins and assists those in medical need both with him and in his absence.
She’d had no idea when embarking on this rescue mission that so much “empty” existed anywhere. miles and miles of brush, sparse clumps of grass, cacti…The small company of soldiers, horses, and wagons she traveled with could be the last inhabitants on earth. (p.7)
This is one of those novels that evokes the Texas setting, 1870’s time period and also brings to mind classic movie westerns in the best way. I enjoyed the author’s writing, and the just-right amount of historical detail. Life at the fort, the forays into Indian territory and the dangers encountered there, the differing personalities of the officer’s wives and the laundresses, the adorable and rambunctious twins, the touch of politics, and the medical aspects of this story all came together for one interesting, entertaining, and adventurous story.
An enjoyable read that I recommend for those who enjoy Historical Fiction with faith, romance, some “wild west” style excitement and interesting characters.
My Heart Belongs in Fort Bliss, Texas: Priscilla’s Reveille (My Heart Belongs) by Erica Vetsch | Barbour Books, Jan. 2017 | paperback, 256 pages
This review refers to a paperback borrowed from my local library. I was previously approved to read an e-galley for review purposes courtesy of the publisher, through NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.
From the Publisher:
A Battle Is About to be Waged Between Two Hearts.
Fashion artist Priscilla Hutchens has a grudge against the army that has ruined her family and taken the people she holds most dear. When her twin niece and nephew are left orphaned at Fort Bliss, Texas, she swoops down on Fort Bliss to gain custody of them immediately.
There is just one thing standing in the way—Post surgeon Major Elliot Ryder, who is also the twins uncle, also claims the children and thinks he knows what is best for them.
Priscilla and Elliot will cross swords, but each will have to lay down arms if they are to find a lasting peace on which to form the family both are longing for. Who will win the battle? Or will a truce be called for the sake of love and family?