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Henry Hawkins watched the smoke cloud hover, then disperse over the head of Lionel Metcalf, who was not only one of his biggest investors but one of the most influential men in Denver, the Queen City of the West. That Lionel allowed Henry to invest his funds—the legitimate ones, at any rate—was no small accomplishment on Henry's part.
"We could use a man like you, Henry," Lionel went on. "Established, not too young but not too old, either. Smart, well spoken. Not bad to look at, and still a bachelor at ... what? Thirty years old? We might not let women vote, but don't forget for a moment that they influence the men around them who do. You represent what every man in this town wants to be: successful, respected. Free to do as you please. They'd listen to you."
Henry had started shaking his head before Lionel was half finished with his sugary words. He didn't even look at Tobias Ridgeway, who was not only Henry's uncle but also, as of five years ago, his bank manager. This bank was a large step up from the more modest banking and mercantile Henry had begun with, and he had needed a man he could trust.
Lionel was a scout sent ahead to test the political waters that Henry had no intention of jumping into. That was all he'd need, a bunch of spies prying into his personal life. Henry's present life might be pristine compared to the corrupt politicians too often found in public office, but his past life was something he would rather not have investigated.
"No, Lionel. As flattering as all that sounds, my answer is still no, just as it was when you wanted me on the city council. Colorado has two fine senators already, and I expect both to run for reelection. You don't need me muddying the water."
"But that's nonsense!" Lionel said as he puffed his cigar. He leaned forward, exhaling and waving a palm as if the smoke were in the way of his words reaching Henry. "We can always use new talent. Bowen's term is nearly up, and I have it on good information that he likely won't win even if he does run for reelection. Which is why we must get someone on the ballot who can."
"Interesting, Lionel. But I'm still not your man."
"Think of where it could lead, Henry. From senator to governor, or bypass governor altogether and go straight to president of this entire nation. It's time the president was chosen from a Western state, isn't it?"
If Henry laughed more often, if he hadn't grown so unaccustomed to doing it, he might have laughed at the notion of his being in the White House. Instead, he issued one of his rare smiles, along with the not-so-rare shake of his head.
"If you don't take the offer, Henry, we'll go to Turk foster."
Henry stiffened, abandoning whatever trace of a smile he'd managed to extend. It was exactly the kind of threat that could tempt him into making a foolish mistake. Pulse pounding in his ears, he very nearly spoke before uncle Tobias did.
"It would be a sad day for Colorado to have the likes of Mr. Foster running for the Senate," Tobias said with a jovial laugh. The huge man was more often cheerful than threatening; even his insults sounded friendly.
Henry's moment of temptation passed. Tobias was right. Foster, on a similar path to prosperity as his, might be ambitious and clever, but his sins were far more visible than Henry's. He would have a tough time getting elected, even in Denver, where the veneer over corruption was thin, but there nonetheless.
Henry stood just as a tap sounded at the door. Before responding to the summons, he said to Lionel, "It's your job to choose the best man. I know that man is not me, but I also doubt it's foster." Then Henry walked around his desk to open the sleek, paneled hardwood door of his considerably sized office.
Mr. Sprott, his clerk, stood there with a somewhat anxious look on his face. "An appointment for Mr. Ridgeway, sir." One of the man's nervous habits was to adjust his clothing—a tie, collar, cuff, or anything handy—as if he wasn't used to formal office attire. That was likely true, since most of the Denver workforce consisted of former miners, failed fortune seekers, or railroaders. "He asked me to let him know when his appointment arrived, and she has."
She? Henry wondered what kind of appointment Tobias had with a woman.
"Thank you, Mr. Sprott," Tobias said. He stood, excused himself from Lionel, and offered a brief glance toward Henry.
Henry watched him leave, seeing nothing more than the back of a slender woman clad in the deepest purple from hem to hat. She followed Mr. Sprott into the smaller office Tobias used, adjacent to Henry's.
Henry frowned. It was likely the same do-gooder uncle Tobias had mentioned yesterday, a woman whose application the bank had recently received. She wanted a loan in order to coddle those who'd have been better off back east, where life was unequivocally easier.
If Henry didn't have Lionel waiting to continue this unnecessary meeting, he'd have followed Tobias into his office and shown the woman to the door.
But Lionel didn't appear ready to be put off so quickly.
* * *
Dessa Caldwell stepped inside the small bank office and raised a gloved hand to check one more time that her hair was still swept up neatly and her hat wasn't askew. The Lord had chosen her for this task, and she meant to represent Him well.
She looked around the office. One tall, barred window let in ample light, but other than that, the room was rather spartan. It offered a serviceable, solid wood desk scattered with paperwork, as well as a sturdy chair of matching varnish. Two chairs in front of the desk were also wood, stained a similar dark color. A clock and a calendar hung on one wall, but there was nothing to identify this office as belonging to anyone in particular.
At least the bank didn't waste money on opulence. The exterior of the building itself was impressive enough: three stories high and boasting tall white pillars flanking the doorstep. Inside, the half-dozen busy employees she'd passed presented every indication of a successfully run bank. And the vault—what little she'd seen of it on her way in—was more than intimidating. Surely those were all good signs.
Dessa placed her parasol beneath an arm to adjust one of her gloves. This was only the fourth bank she'd tried for her loan, and she was determined not to let the first refusals dampen her confidence. After all, her inspiration came from something more than just confidence, didn't it?
"Good afternoon," greeted a jovial voice behind her.
Dessa turned, automatically mirroring the smile offered to her. The man possessed a mix of gray and brown hair, fair skin, and a round, pleasant face. His size could have landed him a position as bouncer at any one of the disreputable establishments Dessa knew existed on the darker side of town. For some reason that comforted her, even though she'd never once needed a bouncer's aid or even met such a person.
As he passed her on the way to his desk, he reached out to shake her hand. She accepted without hesitation.
"Mr. Ridgeway?" she asked.
"That's right. Tobias Ridgeway, at your service. And you're Miss Caldwell; is that correct? Please, have a seat."
She did so, leaning forward despite her desire to not appear too eager. There was something immediately inviting about this man, so warm and friendly as he sank into his chair and gave her another smile. Nothing at all like the last bank clerk, who barely gave her a moment's attention before sending her away. Loan money to a woman! it simply wasn't done.
In this first instant of facing Mr. Ridgeway she knew he would do no such thing. Pushing caution aside, she let his smile inspire a lighthearted bubble of optimism.
"I see from your application that you would like a loan." He pulled familiar papers from one of the stacks on top of his desk. she recognized her own handwriting and the many questions she'd been asked about the intentions and risks associated with the loan she had in mind. "Quite a substantial amount. Hmmm."
"Yes, it is quite a sum, Mr. Ridgeway. As you can see, we've tried to foresee every need. But as you'll also see, I've raised a fair amount in donations from churches as well as from the Ladies' Benevolent Society. Beyond that, once Pierson House opens we intend to sell textile goods. Children's clothing, linens, quilts, and blankets. Several stores and churches in the area have agreed to help us sell our goods, so distribution won't be a problem."
She could have named a number of investors, like the owners of White's Mercantile, who had provided a roof over her head since last fall, or the wealthy Plumstead family, who had pledged a hefty monthly donation for the next four years. There hadn't been room on the application for such details.
He looked up from the paperwork. "You said 'we,' Miss Caldwell, and yet it is only you here before me. There is no man to help you invest, to help guarantee the loan with a steady income?"
She refused to allow her bubble of hope to be broken, despite a pinprick of annoyance. From what she knew of men, they were just as likely to bring woe to society as progress or prosperity. "I intend to offer promise of a reciprocal income, the same as any small business would do. With confidence of profits to come."
"Yes, so you say. But it depends upon a number of things: The reliability of continued donations. The success of reaching prospective residents. The talent of those residents and their willingness to work once you've attracted them to your home. Have you a number of clients ready to be welcomed into your establishment?"
That was the one question she would rather not answer ... at least not yet. "I'm quite an able seamstress myself, if you don't mind my saying so," she told him. "it's a talent easily taught to anyone with a reason to learn. And women in the circumstances I wish to help will certainly have a reason."
Mr. Ridgeway referred back to the paperwork. "Yes, about that. it says here that you hope to offer women of all backgrounds and situations safe refuge, a place to live—at least temporarily—when shelter is needed. That you would offer this to young women—girls, even—who find themselves in a business not easily discussed in polite society."
Dessa's heart picked up a beat. That was indeed an important part of her purpose: to serve the most vulnerable population in a state where more prostitutes than wives could be found. Though the railroad had brought families, the prospect of gold and silver had attracted even more men to the mining camps throughout the state. It was an undeniable fact that many were more than willing to pay for the intimate services of a woman without thought of marriage.
"There are a great many women right here in Denver who need the protection of a home such as I'm proposing. Women who, if they only had the chance, could find a happier life than what circumstances have forced them into."
Dessa noticed his fair skin had turned a bit pink, as if the conversation made him uncomfortable. And while she found that somewhat amusing coming from a man of his age, his attitude was part of the problem. Too much of "polite society" wished to ignore the facts altogether.
"Men in this rugged territory," she added softly, "have been able to carve out a place for themselves whether or not they strike it rich. And as able-minded as my sisters of the fairer sex are, it remains true that we are often at the mercy of those stronger than us. If a woman falls into desperate circumstances, she'll often need extraordinary kindness to free her."
"And this Miss Pierson for whom your home will be named? Where is she?"
"I came to Denver with Miss Sophie Pierson two years ago. We'd traveled to many other cities over the years, speaking to groups, hoping to help women at nearly every social level. But nowhere did we meet more needy women than right here in Colorado. Miss Pierson worked tirelessly with churches and benevolent societies in the hopes of gaining support to open a refuge, but she succumbed to typhus late last fall. With god's help, it's my goal to see her wishes become a reality."
Although Mr. Ridgeway continued to look at Dessa, he did not speak, as if expecting her to continue. She wondered in that moment what he contemplated. Certainly his thoughts weren't unpleasant, as he had a look on his face of near admiration. Still, it was hard to know if his approval of her ambition might extend to an actual loan.
He seemed reluctant to look away but did so after a moment, straightening the papers in his grip. "I've read your application thoroughly, Miss Caldwell, and I'd like to commend your work. Your goals are, to my way of thinking, admirable. But this sort of loan isn't easily made. I assume you've exhausted your other avenues? from the churches and societies you mentioned?"
She nodded, although thoughts of Sophie's five-year goal came to mind. "Raise the majority of the funds first," she'd said, "and then if more money is needed, a loan might be the last resort."
But why wait so long if Dessa could garner a loan now to speed the process? She needed to get into the very neighborhood she wished to reach, and the only way to do that was to become part of it. Ever since the house near Market street had come to her attention, Dessa had known it was just the right location for Pierson House.
That was why she would try every legitimate bank in Denver, no matter how long it took. When she exhausted that list, she would start over again and keep asking until she received the money she sought.
Mr. Ridgeway patted the neat stack in front of him. "I'll need to consult with the bank's president, of course. I wanted to meet you in person first, to confirm what I guessed from your application and letter."
He stood, extending his hand once again. "Return tomorrow morning at ten thirty, Miss Caldwell, and I'll have an answer for you."
Dessa shook his hand with renewed enthusiasm. The answer wasn't no!
Mr. Ridgeway walked around his desk. "allow me to escort you out. Do you have a carriage, or can I have someone hail a hansom cab for you?"
"I have a friend waiting, thank you."
"Then I'll bid you good day."
"Thank you, Mr. Ridgeway, for your time and consideration."
She extended her hand again but saw that his gaze was arrested by something behind her. Dessa turned to catch sight of two men emerging from another office closer to the vault.
"If you are a praying person, Miss Caldwell," said Mr. Ridgeway, his voice lowered nearly to a whisper, "and I sense that you are, that's the man you need to mention to god. Mr. Henry Hawkins."
Surely he meant the one who was staying, not the older man who'd just placed a hat upon his balding head and was even then walking toward the door. But how could the president of such a large and prestigious bank be so young? He couldn't be much older than Dessa herself. And, she couldn't help but notice, a more handsome man she had never seen.
But the look he possessed as he turned back into his office held none of Mr. Ridgeway's friendliness.
Dessa's smile faded. Indeed, as he enclosed himself inside his office without noticing her at all, Mr. Henry Hawkins looked every bit as cold as the banker who'd shown her the door only two days ago.
"If you could join me in that prayer, Mr. Ridgeway," she whispered back, "I would be most appreciative."
Excerpted from All in Good Time by Maureen Lang Copyright © 2013 by Maureen Lang. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted August 20, 2013
All in Good Time is a story about a woman trying to help prostitutes in Denver just after the civil war. I found it interesting to read and there were some surprise elements. I also didn't realize the degree of racism between the whites and the Chinese at that time. This was an enjoyable book to read.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 23, 2013
All In Good Time, by Maureen Lang. Dessa wishes to open a women’s shelter—particularly for former prostitutes. She needs money, but the owner of the bank, Henry Hawkins, isn't exactly willing because he doesn’t see how he can profit. Needless to say, these two ‘duke it out’ so to speak…
I enjoyed the tension in this book, and how each character developed. The book started out a little slow, but the pace soon steadied out, and in the end I enjoyed the story. The pages are full of imagery, and the author obviously researched Colorado and the history of the 1880s time period. I learned a lot and feel as if I’ve been there.
I love the cover art, there are discussion questions in the back of the book, and I've added another author to my growing list of good'uns. ;)
Posted October 27, 2013
Posted October 27, 2013
Posted August 19, 2013
I enjoyed this book; I can appreciate Dessa's commitment to the girls held against their will in brothels regardless of what it cost her. I can also understand her tendency to plough ahead without always considering the ramifications of what could happen. I admire someone who takes up a cause and is willing to do all in their power to fight for it and I think that is what Dessa did. It was also fun to watch Mr. Hawkins change as the book progressed and he learned to know Dessa better.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 8, 2013
Enjoyable historical fiction. The write up didnt sound all that fascinating, but the story was good. I have read other things by this author and liked those as well.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 24, 2013
This book is great because of the main character not going against her values even when she meets Turk Foster, which turns her head slightly, but not all the way. Henry is the second main character who Dessa eventually falls in love with. She has such a big influence on Henry that he doesn't believe in her at the beginning. He thinks she will fail and his money he invested in Pierson House is a total loss. But eventually Dessa wins the hearts of everyone around her. Maureen Lang is an Excellent romance writer.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 14, 2013
Maureen Lang in her new book "All In Good Time" Book Two in the Gilded Legacy series published by Tyndale House Publishers takes us to 1887 Denver and into the life of Dessa Caldwell.
From the back cover: Denver 1887
Dessa Caldwell has a dream: to open Pierson House, a refuge for former prostitutes in Denver's roughest neighborhood. But after exhausting all charitable donations, Dessa still needs a loan, and nearly every bank in town has turned her down. Her last hope hinges on the owner of Hawkins National Bank.
Henry Hawkins has a secret: though he owns the most successful bank in town, his initial capital came from three successful raids on Wells Fargo coaches. Now he's the most eligible bachelor in Denver, but to protect his criminal past, he's built a fortress around his heart. Not even the boldest matchmaking mother can tempt him . . . until the day Dessa Caldwell ventures into his bank requesting a loan.
Though he's certain her proposal is a bad investment, Henry is drawn to Dessa's passion. But that same passion drives her to make rash decisions about Pierson House . . . and about whom she can trust. One man might hold the key to the future of her mission--but he also threatens to bring Henry's darkest secrets to light. As the walls around their hearts begin to crumble, Henry and Dessa must choose between their plans and God's, between safety and love.
"All In Good Time" is a story about the timing of God and how do we know when the time is now or we still have to wait. I think this is an area where all of us have missed the mark at some point and it is nice to see this topic tackled in novel form. Ms. Lang has given us great characters with great themes. Dessa wants to open a home for former prostitutes but finds it difficult to find these women to come to her home even though it is open. You'll be interested to know why. Henry is a banker with a secret that he feels will ruin him if it is known yet he feels God poking him to tell. Both Dessa and Henry have secrets that are holding them back from fully embracing their present and launching into the future. It is going to take God to heal them of their past hurts and give them their destiny. ""All In Good Time" is about friendship, love, betrayal, healing from past sins and finding your place in the world. This is a fun read filled with adventure and romance. I do not recommend starting this book late at night because it will cost you sleep as you will not want to put it down. Ms. Lang has given us another excellent story in this wonderful series and I am looking forward to the next one.
If you missed the interview for "Look To The East", a different series from Maureen Lang, and would like to listen to it and/or interviews with other authors and professionals please go to Kingdom Highlights where they are available On Demand.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Tyndale House Publishers. 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: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Posted July 6, 2013
All in Good Time was a nice summer read about a woman who opens a home to help girls coming out of prostitution. She falls in love with a banker. They both have secrets that are keeping them in shame and out of relationships. This is a book about God’s grace and second chances.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 2, 2013
While at times the characters could be a bit cheesey, the modern-day issues portrayed in the story are quite relevant for today. The story also explores how the characters' secrets and feelings of inadequacy affect their behaviors, choices, and how they can lead to pushing others away. Well-written, a good summer read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 30, 2013
Posted June 28, 2013
Dessa Caldwell is an orphan with what she feels is a sketchy past. Henry Hawkins is a well-respected but reclusive banker, who works with his Uncle Tobias. When Dessa comes to the bank for a loan -she wants to purchase a home in which local prostitutes can have another safe option to live and pursue a (healthy) trade- Uncle Tobias grants the loan, against Henry's wishes. And so, their connection continues and develops. There is some intrigue, danger, romance, and social issues. Although this novel is set in the "Gilded Age" in Colorado, it's themes (prostitution, sex slavery, secrets) are certainly still relevant today.
Redemption is also a key theme; for Henry for his past choices, for Dessa understanding she too can have the forgiveness and understanding she so willingly gives others, etc., and there is a lovely bow tied on to the ending! This seems to be a well-researched and thoughtful novel and I can easily recommend it as well as the other titles by Maureen Lang.
Posted June 27, 2013
Posted June 28, 2013
Posted June 27, 2013
Posted June 22, 2013
Dessa wants to open a house for needy women, but she needs a loan. She receives one reluctantly from Henry's bank. Both of them have a past that they have kept hidden from public until someone threatens to reveal Henry's secret.
I thought this book was very good. Dessa is impatient at times but has a good heart for the women who need help. Henry is rather stiff at the beginning but softens toward the end. There are other interesting characters as well that add to the story.
Posted June 14, 2013
This is the first book I've read from Maureen Lang and it didn't disappoint. It's the journey of two people trying to come to terms with their past mistakes and finding grace from others in the process. Dessa thinks her past precludes her from being able to marry;she believes she will be content in continuing her mentor's dream of opening a house for former prostitutes. Yet, she tends to be impatient when waiting on God so she tries to do things her way (which she thinks would be God's way, too). Henry knows his world was built on a lie of his own creation and he thinks he could never have a wife and family because of his past. They both learn to love each other and accept the truths about each other because their past is what made them into the people of the present. Although I enjoyed their story line, I would have liked it better if they spent more time with each other in the first half of the book. It always seemed like either character was running out of the room for one reason or another. I enjoyed the epilogue so I could get a glimpse of how all the secondary characters were doing. Overall, I'm glad I tried it and would definitely read another of Ms. Lang's books again.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Dessa Caldwell has a heart for helping at-risk women and girls in 1880's
Denver, So she takes her impulsive nature and gets a loan from a local bank
to open a safe house. Little does she know that the loan was given without
the blessings of the bank owner, a young man with a dark past. Sparks fly,
and both Dessa and her beaux are compelled to decide what they really want
The main problem with this story is that we don't spend enough time with any
one character to really understand who they are. Between the problems at
the bank, the problems at Dessa's safe house, the problems in the bordellos,
the problems back home, all the characters are rushing around trying to do
something while we are left guessing their intentions–a poor substitute for
While I appreciate the author's efforts to deal with topics like child-rape,
prostitution, gambling, and drug addiction tactfully in a way that will not
steal the innocence of her readers, the truth is that her approach also lacks
compassion. Dessa's violation at a young age by her employer is treated as
foolish first love. The reason that Dessa has a low response from the women she
wants to help is because they are happy in the brothels. In fact, one character
blatantly announces her goal to become a prostitute, and when she changes her
mind, it is due less to an understanding of the pain accompanying that lifestyle than
to immediate fear she will be punished for helping others. An ending explanation
says that just providing a door out gives these women all the hope they need to
keep living, even if they never walk through it.
My greatest fear is that a naif reader might construe the light treatment as grounds
for superiority. After all, if these women all chose this life willingly then they
deserve what comes to them. The truth is far more complex.
For a better treatment of this subject, I suggest Francine River's Redeeming Love.
Posted June 8, 2013
I had a hard time getting into this book. I can't really explain why, but the characters never gripped me and made me curious about what would happen next. I usually read about a book every day and it took me four days to finish this book because I kept putting it aside to pick up a different one. I found Dessa's faith and commitment to doing God's will inspiring and commendable, which was the best part of the book. I think Henry's character change predictable and abrupt. All in all, a decent book but probably not one I will read again.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 4, 2013
Lovely and Sweet. Maureen Lang writes beautiful stories. I have enjoyed a few of them so far, and I`ll be sure to look for more. Her descriptions are clear and detailed, so I'm never in doubt as to her meaning. Her characters are sympathetic and charming, and I can relate to them. The romance is sweet, gentle, and appealing. There is plenty to keep the interest in the plot, with Dessa’s ambitions and the two men competing for her, as well as the consequences of all their pasts. There is also the exciting city life in the Victorian era. I always like books with a clean theme, by which I mean no goriness or prurience. This one was just to my taste. I recommend it!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.