Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A Match Made in Texas by Karen Witemeyer, Mary Connealy, Regina Jennings and Carol Cox - Review

by Karen Witemeyer
Clara Danvers is a widow expecting a child, a child who she is trying to keep from being taken away from her the minute it's born. Her father-in-law is watching her like a hawk, he even assigns guards to her homestead when she gets close to time to deliver. She will do anything to protect her child from being raised by him.

When Neill Archer, just arrived in Dry Gulch, Texas, arrives on her homestead to do repairs she greets him with a rifle. She wasn't expecting anyone and thinks Mack Danvers has hired him to watch and report to him when the baby is born. Neill is there because he received an anonymous note about a widow needing repairs to her home and to meet at the school house the next night to see who will get the job. When he arrives at the school house there is nobody there, just a lit lantern and a note with directions to the widows home and $20.00 for materials to get started on the repairs.

by Regina Jennings
Grace O'Malley has been a school teacher for many years in Dry Gulch, Texas but after going gradually blind the school board has had to let her go. They have set her up on a ranch about two miles outside of town and made arrangements for someone to deliver food to her daily. She can only make out bright lights and some shapes.

Clayton Weber is on his way to the land rush when his horse stumble's and has to be put down. He ends up in Dry Gulch and now has to earn money for another horse and has little time to make the deadline to enter for the race to stake out some land. Clayton has to overcome his past, his father was a horse thief and he has a bad scar on his face to show for it. He sees that the town looks pretty deserted except for the school so he goes there and asks about odd jobs. When he returns to where he stashed his saddle there is a newspaper with an ad circled about a handyman needed at Grace O'Malley's homestead and payment is set aside at the Bank to be paid after the work is inspected.

Grace is frightened when Benny, her dog, alerts her to someone coming up the lane. Grace had mentioned jokingly to a friend that she might put an ad in the paper for a mail-order husband so when Clayton comes she thinks her friend put an ad in the paper and he is the answer to her ad. Clayton is very confused at the questions she's asking him and Grace is very confused when he reads the ad he has come in answer to.

by Carol Cox
Lucy Benson has no family left and has been living with her best friends family, but now her best friend is getting married and she feels like she has to find a way to move on. After all she can't continue living there after Dottie is married and she can't live with Dottie and her new husband. This is where the anonymous Dry Gultch matchmaker steps in, they give the pastor a train ticket with an ad to give to Lucy. Since she doesn't want to marry Walter Harris, who has asked her numerous times so Lucy decides to go to North Fork, Texas and be a companion for Andrew Simms's widowed aunt Martha.

When she arrives on Martha's ranch, Martha begrudgingly lets Lucy stay. Lucy doesn't see any of the signs Andrew has mentioned about his aunt imagining things, at least not at first. When Lucy begins seeing and hearing the things Martha has claimed, Andrew is upset that Martha is pulling Lucy into her imaginings, or is she?

by Mary Connealy
Hannah Taylor is the teacher at Dry Gulch school as well as the caretaker of her three younger brothers and her father since her mother's recent death. She totes two year old Kevin back and forth to school each day so she can watch him as she works to bring in money to the household. She has given up on marriage after both of her younger sisters have gotten married besides the fact that there is only one single man in town and he will barely speak to her and is a half-wit, his own description of himself.

A few months after Hannah's mother died in childbirth her father surprises her one day after school with his new bride, Essie. The children are to call her ma and Hannah will be moving into Essie's dingy room above the diner in town. Hannah's clothes are all packed ready to be loaded into the wagon and taken to her new home. When she finds out through the town gossip that Essie is pregnant, Hannah's life is thrown into a whirlwind and things happen fast after that.

I really liked all four of these stories and was thrilled when I started reading Karen's "An Unforseen Match" and found out it was a continuation of her books "Short-Straw Bride" and "Stealing the Preacher". I thoroughly enjoyed all four of these stories and each author did a great job of wanting me to continue on and reading late into the night. I like the 'mystery' about the matchmaker, I never did figure out who it was, until the last story of course. Now no cheating and reading the last story first, and just a hint, if you want to keep it a mystery don't read the blurb on the back of the book!

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