1891, Jane Middlebourne is the poor relation to her cousin Francis who brought
orphaned Jane into her home when her parents died, but not necessarily into her
heart. Jane has been given many
privileges as someone in a wealthy household but spent most of her time as the
hired help. Jane and her cousin,
Alexander, concoct a scheme to get Jane out of his mother's control, but not
without consequences. Jane escapes with
some money to become a mail-order bride in Wyoming but realizes she may have made a
huge mistake once she arrives.
Morgan Longstreet believes his life is moving forward in the right direction
the day he arrives at the train depot to pick up his sturdy, made for ranching,
mail-order bride. Until he realizes the
photograph he was sent is not the delicate woman who steps off the train. Dare he send her packing for a lie when his
attraction is undeniable?
like a familiar story? There's nothing
new about mail-order bride stories and the many ways they can be told. What's new is when an author can layer a
story piece by piece and snag your heart in the process. IN WANT OF A WIFE is exactly how I love a
story to be told and if all historical western romances were written like this,
they'd be all I'd read.
Jane and Morgan are opposites in many ways, then thrown together and dealt
personal circumstances to overcome.
They're not left alone to their own devices but surrounded and meddled
with by Morgan's ranch hands as well as the folks in town. Mrs. Sterling lends her straightforward
advice, without much care whether Morgan wants her say so or not. Or she tells Jane what she thinks without
Morgan's permission. Then there's the
young brothers Finn and Rabbit who annoy Morgan with their helpfulness,
especially when Marshall Cobb Bridger deputizes the youngsters. And, the things they say are some of the best
one-liners! Let's not forget the three
brothers who work for Morgan at the ranch, when they're not fighting one
another, who become quite fond of Jane and rile Morgan every chance they
get. And that's just the beginning of
the many secondary characters who add to the realism of this story.
Goodman is a western historical romance master with her subtle layering that
makes her characters spring to life, grabs our hearts and keeps us glued to the
pages. Her fine attention to detail
lands some of the funniest laugh-out-loud moments between the lead couple and
the other characters. The laughter isn't
continuous but unexpected and laugh-out-loud worthy, which is the best kind of
funny, in my opinion. Plus, some of the
conversations between Jane and Morgan are so endearing and wonderful and so
memorable I will forever refer back to them.
One such conversation happens in the middle of the book and it's such a
great scene that sets the stage for what you hope for their future.
WANT OF A WIFE intrigues, is finely-laid out, molded and shaped, then allowed
to blossom into well fleshed-out characters who can't help but love each other
deeply once they realize neither one of them is giving up. Heartbreaking at times, made even more so by
how invested the reader becomes in the lives of all the characters, IN WANT OF
A WIFE is the kind of western historical romance I love to read and highly
If you want to read the rest of Jo Goodman's
BITTER SPRINGS series, there are two more novels to read starting with THE LAST
RENEGADE and followed by TRUE TO THE LAW, both published prior to IN WANT OF A
WIFE. Also connected to the BITTER
SPRINGS series is a novella in a multi-author anthology titled BOOTS UNDER HER
BED. Enjoy! I know they're on my "to be read"