Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Dearest Darling (Love Letters) by Andrea Downing

Stuck in a life of servitude to her penny-pinching brother, Emily Darling longs for a more exciting existence. When a packet with travel tickets, meant for one Ethel Darton, accidentally lands on her doormat, Emily sees a chance for escape. Having turned down the dreary suitors that have come her way, is it possible a new existence also offers a different kind of man?

Daniel Saunders has carved out a life for himself in Wyoming—a life missing one thing: a wife. Having scrimped and saved to bring his mail-order bride from New York, he is outraged to find in her stead a runaway fraud. Even worse, the impostor is the sister of his old enemy.

But people are not always as they seem, and sometimes the heart knows more than the head. 

Published & Release Date: Wild Rose Press, October 8, 2014

Time and setting: 1891 Wyoming  

Genre: Western Historical Romance

Heat Level: 1

Rating: 4.5 Gold Crowns

Reviewed by Vikki

I received this book from the publisher for an honest review. I have always enjoyed Mail-Order Bride stories. I was intrigued by the book blurb and couldn’t wait to read this one. I was not disappointed, even though it is a very short novella. That is probably my only complaint. It just wasn’t long enough! I wanted more. Nonetheless, it is a sweet love story filled with a lot of heart and plenty of humor.

I loved Daniel’s reaction when he finds out that Emily has taken his intended’s place. I could just see him stomping around, ready to shoot off his gun, madder than a rattle snake. Ms. Downing had me right there as if I were Emily watching him come unglued swearing a blue streak. I imagined him throwing his hat down and stomping on it, even though she did not describe that. I could picture Emily gathering up her courage and telling him when he asked her what the hell she expected now, “Marry you, of course.”

Internally, Emily is wondering what she has gotten herself into. Daniel smells, he is dirty, and needs a shave, plus he is mean tempered. Not the best first impression to say the least. However, after he calms down, he treats Emily with plenty of respect and courtesy. Daniel quickly finds out he truly cares for her, but since he feels committed to Ethel, he insists on sending her back, even if he has to sell some of his livestock to do it.

Then Emily really throws him for a loop when she asks him to come to her bed, or his actually, since he has done the gentlemanly thing and given it her, while he sleeps in the barn. No matter how tempted he is, and he is very tempted for sure, he refuses, not wanting to take advantage of her vulnerability.  

After several weeks, she asks him again, and unable to resist, he falls under her spell, and they sleep with one another. The next morning before Emily awakens, he writes to Ethel, telling her he is in love with another woman and must break off their engagement.

While he goes to mail the letter, Emily’s brother shows up and convinces her that Daniel is just using her to get back at him, telling her several untruths. She goes with her brother broken-hearted and convinced Daniel still loves Ethel. Will Daniel allow her to talk away from him, or will he follow her and convince Emily that he loves her and wants her to be his wife.

I thoroughly enjoyed this delightful story from the first page to the last word and read it in one sitting, flipping the pages on my Kindle as fast as possible. While it is quite short, it has great character develop and a well thought out plot. The author brings to life the vivid landscape of the Rocky Mountains and the glorious skies above. Her historical detail for the time period is detailed, and it is obvious she did her research. If you like western historical romances with lots of heart, then this is one that you will definitely want to read. Happy reading!  

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