A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California

A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California

4.6 16
by Keli Gwyn
     
 

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An ever-resourceful widow, Elenora Watkins arrives in El Dorado ready to go into partnership with Miles Rutledge. When he refuses, Elenora becomes the competition across the street. Is this town big enough for the two of them? Miles can’t help but stick his well-polished boot in his mouth whenever he comes face-to-face with Elenora. Can he find a way to win

Overview


An ever-resourceful widow, Elenora Watkins arrives in El Dorado ready to go into partnership with Miles Rutledge. When he refuses, Elenora becomes the competition across the street. Is this town big enough for the two of them? Miles can’t help but stick his well-polished boot in his mouth whenever he comes face-to-face with Elenora. Can he find a way to win her heart while destroying her business? Miles’s mother, Maude, is bent on Elenora becoming her new daughter-in-law while Elenora’s daughter, Tildy, thinks Miles would make a perfect papa. How far will these meddlers go to unite this enterprising pair? 

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“With witty dialogue, charming characters, and an attention to historical detail that will make you feel you’re living in frontier California, you’ll love every moment you spend in El Dorado, with spunky, resourceful Elenora Watkins and determined, debonair Miles Rutledge. Keli Gwyn’s debut historical romance is a winner!”

—Erica Vetsch author of A Bride’s Portrait of Dodge City, Kansas

“Keli Gwyn brings old California alive with a story that’s filled with faith, hope, and love. When a willful widow matches wits with a competitive shopkeeper you just know there will be fireworks. The battle of the sexes has never been so much fun. Highly recommended!”

—Margaret Brownley, Brides of Last Chance Ranch & New York Times bestselling author

“What a delightful debut! A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, reminds me of the classic romantic comedies where two stubborn, independent people keep denying what everyone else knows is true: that they were meant for each other. I found myself eagerly turning the pages, wanting to see what was going to happen to Ellie and Miles next.”

—Amanda Cabot, author of Summer of Promise and Christmas Roses

RT Book Reviews - Patsy Glans

A laugh-out-loud historical romance with lovable characters, some of whom are quirky and fun to be around and some who try to be matchmakers with unexpected results. Gwyn brings the Old West alive, and readers will not be disappointed with her latest offering.
Radiant Lit - Lara M. Van Hulzen

Elenora is a strong female character and easy to root for. Miles is amusing as his old-fashioned ways cause him to be frustrated with this woman who has captured his heart. The competition between the two is fun to watch and adds to the romance of the story. Gwyn writes beautifully, bringing the historical Sierra Foothills to life in a way where one can feel the heat of summer and smell the dust in the air.

Anyone who loves historical romances will enjoy this story.

RT Book Reviews

A laugh-out-loud historical romance with lovable characters, some of whom are quirky and fun to be around and some who try to be matchmakers with unexpected results. Gwyn brings the Old West alive, and readers will not be disappointed with her latest offering.

— Patsy Glans

Radiant Lit

Elenora is a strong female character and easy to root for. Miles is amusing as his old-fashioned ways cause him to be frustrated with this woman who has captured his heart. The competition between the two is fun to watch and adds to the romance of the story. Gwyn writes beautifully, bringing the historical Sierra Foothills to life in a way where one can feel the heat of summer and smell the dust in the air.

Anyone who loves historical romances will enjoy this story.

— Lara M. Van Hulzen

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781616265830
Publisher:
Barbour Publishing, Incorporated
Publication date:
07/01/2012
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.90(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Award-winning novelist Keli Gwyn is a California native who lives in a Gold Rush-era town at the foot of the majestic Sierra Nevada Mountains. Her stories transport readers to the 1800s, where she brings historic towns to life, peoples them with colorful characters, and adds a hint of humor. She fuels her creativity with Taco Bell® and sweet tea. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two skittish kitties.

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A Bride Opens Shop in el Dorado, California 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Phyllis_L More than 1 year ago
Whatever you can do, I can do better... There was a lot about this book that I really liked - local color and historical detail and so on. The characters were interesting and funny, even as they rushed to judge each other's motives over and over. The religion was very much present, but not highly invasive.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved getting to know all the characters.
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SarahSundin More than 1 year ago
A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California deftly balances romance, humor, and a thoughtful message. Keli Gwyn has a marvelous knack for dialogue, banter, and humor. But I was even more struck by the message of not letting pride destroy relationships. Both Elenora and Miles long to best the other and prove themselves, but they each learn that being respectful and kind is far better. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and look forward to more from Keli Gwyn.
Anne_M_Baxter More than 1 year ago
Elenora Watkins and her daughter Tildy arrive on the stage a little shaken up after nearly being robbed at gunpoint on the road. Elenora expects to be welcomed as a partner to Miles Rutledge in his general store in El Dorado. The problem is, Miles expected E.J. Watkins to be a man. No way did he want a female partner. Fine, then. She would set up her own shop across the street--and did, much to the delight of the ladies in town, even Miles' mother, Maude. Not that Elenora doesn't have her share of difficulties, what with Miles' objections, a pair of mischievous twins that precipitate the loss of the front of her store, and a rattlesnake. But sheer determination gets her through. In fact, it gets her through too well, in Miles' opinion. What will it take to soften his opinion of female partners and her viewpoint of stubborn men?
SKetchersid More than 1 year ago
I loved A Bride Opens Shop by Keli Gwyn! This book had everything I love in a well-woven story. As a debut novel, it was a stand out, surpassing my high expectations for Keli Gwyn's debut. In the book, widow Elenora Watkins is an independent woman. After being under the rule of a mean husband and then an overbearing father, Elenora wants some freedom. She packs up, heads across the country, and puts her savings into becoming a partner in a thriving mercantile owned by Miles Rutledge. Only he doesn't know she is a woman and refuses to allow her to be a partner when he finds out. What I loved about Elenora is her independence and strength to do what women didn't normally do back in those days. Instead of running home to Papa, she opens up shop across the street, becoming the competition to Miles. Maybe I like her so much because I want to be like her...independent, confident in my abilities, unafraid to step out and try something new. Tension grows between Elenora and Miles as they compete not only in business, but in other areas as well...shooting and even violin playing. The growing attraction between them just makes the competition exciting, and it kept me turning the page! An excellent read for those who love historical fiction with a lot of sweet romance!
MarjiLaine More than 1 year ago
What a delightful story; three crying opportunities! LOL! This book is propelled by its characters. And such characters! A widow/single mom with bull-dozing determination insists on proving her capabilities. A fastidious widower harboring a guilt-filled secret refuses to revisit the vulnerable position in which affection places him. An adoring mother whose meddling ways instigate complicated interaction. A talkative nine-year-old with the sincerity and wonder of one much younger, but the intellect and daring of one much older. A Bride Opens Shop follows Elenora Watkins to the rather new California town of El Dorado where she finds disappointment, unwarranted suspicion, and discrimination. Rather than allowing the attitudes to defeat her, Elenora used them to strengthen her resolve to prove to the townspeople, and maybe more to herself, that she has the capabilities to accomplish her goal. What I loved most about this book was the consistency of the characters. Not that they remain the same, both main characters complete a satisfying arc. But as they adjust and redirect, they stayed true to their personalities. For example, only a desperate emergency would persuade the always well-dressed Miles Rutledge to disregard his appearance. In fact, Elenora stays so true to her character, she builds up regrets about it. I must say, during a special contest, I had hopes that she would step down rather than risk injury to someone else, but true to form, she can’t seem to shrink from a challenge. These people seemed so real in their reactions, they make the reading easy, the changes believable, and the story an absolute gold mine, worthy of the name El Dorado!
PattiJoM More than 1 year ago
I can honestly say I LOVED this book! Author Keli Gwyn has done a superb job of creating believable characters who come alive on the pages of this story. For me there was never a dull moment in the story, and I was genuinely sorry to see it end---although the ending was very satisfying! I highly recommend A BRIDE OPENS SHOP IN EL DORADO, CALIFORNIA, and look forward to many more books by Keli Gwyn. FIVE STARS!!!
crwilson More than 1 year ago
One of the most delightful pieces historical fiction I’ve ever read. When Elenora Watkins moves to El Dorado with her chatty and precocious daughter, Tildy, she’s all set to be Miles Rutledge’s partner at the town mercantile. A miscommunication with Miles leads Ellie to open her own shop across the street from his. Another mercantile. And the battle begins! Ellie sets out to prove herself as a capable business owner, showing up Miles and his business at every turn. Miles refuses to back down, and while he’s already falling in love with Elenora’s daughter, and admires Ellie’s spunk, he’s not about to let a woman show him how to run his business. This book was refreshing, fun, and clever. The characters contributed so much to the story with their spunk and drive and small-town love for gossip. If you’re looking for a sweet and witty novel, you can’t miss Keli Gwyn’s debut release. ***I received a copy of this book from the author under no obligation to post a review. The expressed opinions are my own.
MaryBethWrites More than 1 year ago
Author Keli Gwyn recreates the world of post-Civil War California with her new romance “A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California.” The novel features Elenora Watkins, a widowed mother and storekeeper from Omaha. Mrs. Watkins and her young daughter come to the town of El Dorado to become partners in a general mercantile store run by Miles Rutledge. Sparks fly when she arrives and learns he expected a man. Gwyn has filled her story with wit and adventure. Mrs. Watkins forges a path into a male dominated business so that she can care for her daughter. Rutledge fights her every step of the way under the influence of previous relationship. Young Matilda Watkins charms everyone with her precocious chatter. Many themes weave through the book. Gwyn uses each character’s foibles as a brush to paint another layer on the canvas of her story. She shows us how the past has shaped each one’s present. As the characters unfold, the reader becomes a part of a landscape that saw women coming into their own as individuals, communities coming together to fight emergencies and people looking to a higher power for guidance. With images of redemption, forgiveness and conciliation throughout the story, “Bride” is no lightweight fluff. This is a compelling historical romance with inspirational influences. Historical novel lovers and Western fans will appreciate the book’s wealth of detail about life in the Sierra Foothills in 1870. Romance lovers will enjoy the misunderstandings and mistaken assumptions that keep the pair apart for most of the book. Women will appreciate the strong motivations driving Elenora Watkins. Musically inclined readers will delight in the role music plays in the town’s life. I highly recommend “A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California” and look forward to Gwyn’s next outing. This review is based on a copy of the book provided by the author. No constraints were placed upon its content. All opinions are my own.
nyauthoress More than 1 year ago
Widow Elenora Watkins relocates with her daughter Tildy to the Sierra foothills of California to be an associate in a mercantile. When he find out she is a woman, prospective partner Miles Rutledge refuses to take her on. Her solution? Invest her life savings in her own competing store right across the street. She has spunk enough to know her woman’s touch will turn her fledgling shop into a thriving business. Will woman-sized garden tools, scented soaps and pretty fabrics keep her shop on its feet? Keli Gwyn’s novel is a delightful battle not just of competing trades, but also of tussling wills and glints of romance. Miles and Elenora perform side by side in Bach’s Double Violin Concerto—one of many ways we see their kinship and rivalry. Gwyn’s writing grabs you by the collar. Scenes are liberally sprinkled with spiffy dialogue. The book is packed with lively, intricate characters that come to life within the first three pages of the story. Elenora is self-assured, resourceful and untraditional. “Being discounted simply because she was a woman was bad enough, but being talked about as if she weren’t there fluffed her feathers.” Her spicy and precocious daughter Tildy adds the right dose of levity to the story. This Christian historical romance is highly recommended as a charming view of the old west and an amusing romp through the battle of the sexes. Don’t miss it. You will delight in the time you spend with Miles and Elenora. Barbour Books graciously supplied the review copy for my unbiased opinion.
KarenLange More than 1 year ago
Miles Rutledge’s mercantile carries everything a home in 1870 needs. He is looking forward to meeting his new business partner, confident that he will be an asset to the thriving business. Miles’ mother is not opposed to seeing him take on a partner; she just knows something Miles does not. E. Watkins, also known as the widow Elenora Watkins, is eager for a fresh start for her 9-year-old daughter Matilda and herself. Her recently remarried, overbearing father has made it clear that she is no longer welcome in his home or working with his business. Elenora thinks that a partnership with the Rutledge Mercantile in El Dorado, CA is the perfect fit. That is, until she met the proprietor. To say that Miles and Elenora get off on the wrong foot is an understatement. Miles is stunned to learn that E. Watkins is a woman, and rescinds his offer of partnership. Elenora is equally dismayed over the mix-up. Returning home is not an option, so Elenora decides to set up her own mercantile in El Dorado to support her daughter. This, of course, does not go over well with Miles. For some reason, I suspected that Keli Gwyn would be a good storyteller. I am happy to report that I wasn’t disappointed. In this, her debut novel, Keli brings life to these stubborn, ambitious characters who butt heads at every turn. This engaging tale is sure to appeal to historical fiction fans. Although A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California just released, I’m already looking forward to Keli’s next book!
Prolificreader More than 1 year ago
A book for the heart. “A Bride Opens Shop…” has a cast of characters to adore, situations to inspire conflict and a love romance that will blossom in the heart of even the most reticent of participants. Tildy. Oh. My. Goodness. What a little girl. She had me giggling by the first time I met her and sharing her witty tidbits with my family. Elenora is a very determined woman. Nothing is going to get in her way, especially Miles. Her drive at times got her into trouble, physically and emotionally. Watching her bloom was a pleasure and at times I thought moved too gradually, but read further into the novel and you’ll see as I did that all was preparation for crafting her character. Elenora and Miles are very proper young people with backstories rich in conflict. Each background played a strong role in the story and how they accepted each other in their romance. Between Tildy, the romance and the feuding mercantiles, the story was kept lively and enjoyable with something always going to happen. The ending was absolutely charming. I loved it most of all and once you’ve watched these characters grow together, I have no doubt it will be your favorite part of the novel as well! This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the author for my copy to review.
steelergirl83 More than 1 year ago
It's not often that so many debut novels impress me but so far this year I've read a ton (probably a ton, literally!) that I loved and would highly recommend for any romance readers. This latest debut, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, is making my list of awesome first books and has earned its spot in my permanent library. Going into this book I knew that I'd probably enjoy it simply because I've really enjoyed all the "destination" romances that have been published by Barbour but this one is by far my favorite. Elenora Watkins left her old life behind with the hopes of starting a new life for herself and her daughter, Tildy as a junior partner in Rutledge Mercantile of El Dorado, California. Miles Rutledge's new partner, E. F. Watkins, is not quite what he was expecting especially since she's a Elenora and not an Edward. Unwilling to return to her old life Elenora takes her meager savings and starts her own little shop across the street. Never before has the lyric, "Anything you can do I can do better..," come to my mind while reading a romance but it certainly fit with this story. I absolutely loved the back and forth competition between Miles and Elenora concerning everything from their shops, their violin playing, to shooting a gun all while watching them grow closer together. I was a little worried about Miles at first since he admitted to being something of a dandy but as the story unfolded he began to remind me of a certain Austen hero (yeah, that Darcy fellow) we all know an love. He was a bit cold at first but boy does he warm up! As for Ellie she is the perfect heroine. She is probably the most stubborn woman that I've ever come across in a book but it's not off-putting at all. Sometimes hardheaded heroines definitely make for some serious eye roll moments in a book but not so with Ellie! She definitely does not give in easily and she goes for EVERYTHING with gusto. Between Miles and Ellie alone I didn't want their story to end but throw in her precocious daughter, Matilida aka Tildy, and you definitely have a winner. Hopefully Tildy grows up and gets her own story. She is a bundle of energy and never quits gabbing so I think I'd like her to meet a man whose ears she can talk off. ;-) A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, is a fine debut that was worth the wait. Keli Gwyn is a truly talented writer who has a knack for writing an engaging and fun story that's perfect to read on a sunny summer day. Bring on the next book Ms. Gwyn! My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars *A Favorite!* *I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from the author. 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.*