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When Love Blooms

When Love Blooms

4.4 9
by Robin Lee Hatcher

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From the moment Gavin Blake set eyes on Emily Harris he knew she would never make it in the rugged high country where backbreaking work and constant hardship were commonplace. She would wilt there like a rose without water. He'd be sending her back to Boise before the first snows. He'd be willing to bet on it. She could say what she wanted. Emily Harris didn't belong


From the moment Gavin Blake set eyes on Emily Harris he knew she would never make it in the rugged high country where backbreaking work and constant hardship were commonplace. She would wilt there like a rose without water. He'd be sending her back to Boise before the first snows. He'd be willing to bet on it. She could say what she wanted. Emily Harris didn't belong in the hard life of the Blakes. Beautiful and refined, she was accustomed to the best life had to offer. Heaven only knew why she wanted to leave Boise to teach two young girls on a ranch miles from nowhere. He'd wager it had to do with a man. It always did when a beautiful woman was involved. Emily wanted to make some sort of mark on the world before marriage. She wanted to be more than just a society wife. Though she had plenty of opportunities back East, she had come to the Idaho high country looking to make a difference. Gavin’s resistance to her presence made her even more determined to prove herself. Perhaps changing the heart of one man might make the greatest difference of all.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Christy Award winner Hatcher's (Wagered Heart; Catching Katie) latest novel is a historical romance set in the rugged high country of Idaho in the late 1800s. A dying Dru Blake knows she does not have much time left, so she chooses Rachel Harris to be the nanny to her daughters, hoping this will ease their pain after she is gone. Although Dru's marriage to Gavin is one of convenience, she has a plan for Gavin as well. Meanwhile, Rachel's guilt over her growing attraction to Gavin keeps her detached from him. Populated with lively characters, this delightful title deserves a place in CF and historical romance collections and will appeal to those who enjoy Lori Wick or Lori Copeland. Recommended for public libraries.

—Tamara Butler

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2 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

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Read an Excerpt

When Love Blooms

By Robin Lee Hatcher
Copyright © 2009

RobinSong, Inc.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-310-25928-2


It was mid-afternoon when Gavin Blake drove the wagon down Boise City's Main Street. The territorial capital had grown in the years since his last visit. There had to be several good physicians living here these days. One of them would be able to help Drucilla. If he didn't believe that, he never would have agreed to undertake this trip.

He turned toward his wife. A tall and plain woman, her kind and giving spirit more than made up for whatever outward beauty she lacked. Everyone who knew Dru loved her. Which only made it harder on Gavin, seeing her as she was now - too thin, too frail, exhaustion from a week of travel written in her hazel eyes.

I shouldn't have let her come.

Not that she'd given him much choice. Dru's will hadn't weakened along with her body. It was still hard as flint.

At least the weather had been warm for their trip. He'd made her a comfortable bed in the back of the wagon so she could rest whenever she wanted, and at night they'd lain beneath the blankets, staring at the stars and talking about what Dru wanted for Sabrina and Petula. Sometimes listening to her - hearing the calm acceptance in her voice - made him angry. He wanted to rail against her illness - and against God for letting her get sick in the first place. Hadn't she suffered enough?

Gavin stopped the wagon in front of the Overland Hotel. After setting the brake, he hopped to the ground.

"Come on." He held his arms toward her. "Let's get you into a nice, soft bed."

"Shouldn't we go to the newspaper office first?"

"I'll take care of that later."

"Gavin, I -"

"You heard me. Come on."

Dru acquiesced with a nod. "I suppose you're right, but we came all this way to -"

"I know why we came." His tone was gruff, though he didn't mean for it to be. He wasn't angry at her.

It never failed to alarm him when he lifted her down from the wagon and his fingers overlapped around her waist. He remembered when she was pregnant, her body ripe and round like a pumpkin, her face rosy, her eyes shining with happiness. That seemed a lifetime ago. Look at what had happened in the few years since then. First her son was stillborn, then Charlie died, and now this. If only he could take her back East to one of those fine hospitals. If only he were wealthy. If only there was more he could do for her.

"Gavin?" Her cool fingers touched his cheek. "Let's go inside."

Without a word, he placed a solicitous arm around her back and guided her into the lobby of the hotel.

* * *

Wanted: Governess and teacher for two young girls on mountain ranch. Separate living quarters. Apply Mrs. Blake, Overland Hotel, after 2:00 PM Friday.

Emily set down the newspaper and stared out the window at the tall poplars, cottonwoods, and willows growing alongside the river. A warm breeze lifted wisps of hair across her forehead and caressed her skin with the last breath of summer. A large blowfly buzzed beneath the porch awning, bumping into the window, then flying away before returning to try again.

Perhaps the insect seemed noisy because the house was so silent. Kevin, Colleen, Tara Maureen, and Colin - Maggie's four oldest children - were all in school. Sheridan, at four the baby of the family, had gone into town with his mother for some shopping. And Emily was here alone with time weighing heavy on her mind.

She left the dining room and wandered into the parlor. There, her fingers caressed the photographs and knickknacks as she moved about the room. Memories. Lots of memories. Happy ones too. And yet she felt out of place here. She was restless and impatient with her life. Nothing seemed to be going as she wanted.

Not that she was entirely sure what that entailed. What did she want?

For many weeks after her hasty return last winter from Washington, D.C., she had gladly cared for her sister and young nephew, nursing them back to health, praying for their recovery, seeing to their every need. She had mothered the older children, reassuring them that all would be well. And she'd spent many a late evening sitting with Tucker in this very room, offering her brother-in-law what comfort she could.

But the Branigan household had long since returned to normal. Although wanted, she knew, Emily wasn't needed any longer.

Should she return to Washington? Despite how much she had enjoyed her work, that option no longer felt right. But what awaited her here? Marriage? A family of her own? She didn't feel ready for those things yet. In fact, she had turned down a proposal from Matthew Foreman only one week before.

No, she wanted to do something before she married. She wanted to make some sort of difference in the world. If only she knew what.

She shook her head and walked back toward the dining room, pausing by the window and staring across the yard toward the river. Bed sheets fluttered in the golden September sunlight. Tucker's old collie lay in the shade of a poplar, his tail slapping the dried grass in a lazy, steady rhythm.

God, what is it I'm to do? I'll die of boredom if you don't show me something soon.

She sighed as she turned from the window. Her gaze fell upon the folded newspaper, lying on the oak table where she'd left it moments ago.

Look at it, her heart seemed to say.

She took up the paper and read the ad a second time.

Wanted: Governess and teacher for two young girls on mountain ranch. Separate living quarters. Apply Mrs. Blake, Overland Hotel, after 2:00 PM Friday.

Her pulse quickened. This could be it. This was something she could do. She'd lived on a ranch since she was six, so that prospect didn't daunt her. Cattle and horses and cowhands were a part of her history.

She certainly knew how to teach. She'd received a wonderful education and had countless things she could share with two young girls. And after living all these years with Maggie's brood, she knew a thing or two about acting like a governess to children, even if she'd never been employed as one.

Yes, this was something she could do. She was sure of it.

Did she dare apply for the job?

* * *

Drucilla Blake awakened slowly from her nap. On days like this, when she felt no pain, it was hard to believe she was dying. Tired, yes. Dying, no.

She pushed herself up on the pillows, then swept her hair back from her face as she looked at the watch pinned to the bodice of her dress, 1:15. She would have to get up if she was to meet people at two o'clock.

A cold feeling engulfed her chest, and she closed her eyes, her fingers still clutching the watch. What if no one came? Or what if they came and no one was right? It was important to find the right woman. Not just for Sabrina and Petula, but for Gavin too.

It wasn't right what she'd done to him. When that old sawbones told her she was dying, she should have left the ranch. She should have taken the children and gone. But to where? She had no other family, no way to support herself. What would have happened to Sabrina and Petula if she'd left the basin and taken them to a strange place? No, she'd had to stay. The Idaho mountains were where she would end her days, where she would be buried beside Charlie and her stillborn son.

She filled her lungs with a deep breath, then straightened and lowered her legs over the side of the bed. There was no time to feel sorry for herself. She had come to terms with her illness months ago. Gavin would love and care for the children. He was that sort of man. She had only this one last detail to attend to, and then she would be able to die in peace.

She rose from the bed and walked toward the bureau, glancing into the mirror as she picked up the hairbrush. That was a mistake. Her reflection depressed her. She looked far older than her thirty-five years. Her illness had taken its toll, turning her brown hair gray and leaving her eyes dull and lifeless.

Lowering her gaze, she tidied her hair and smoothed her dress with the flat of her hands, then left the bedroom.

In the small sitting room, Gavin stood at the window, gazing down at the busy street below. Dru paused a moment to look at him. His black hair was shaggy around his shirt collar, badly in need of trimming. She should have seen to that before they left the basin.

He must have heard something, for he turned to face her. "Did you sleep?"

She nodded.

"Are you hungry?"

"No. I don't think I could eat anything."

"You barely touched your breakfast." It was a tender admonishment.

She shook her head and turned toward the nearby sofa. She hated to see that look in his eyes. It made her feel guilty for all she had put him through, all she had yet to put him through.

"I wonder what the girls are doing this afternoon," Gavin said.

She understood the motive behind his words. He wanted to cheer her with thoughts of the children. She loved him for it.

"Probably out riding with Stubs," he continued. "The boys ought to have the cows rounded up by the time we get back."

"I wish we didn't have to leave the summer range so soon." Dru imagined the majestic peaks of the rugged Sawtooth Mountains and the log house that lay in their shadows. No one needed to tell her she wouldn't see another spring in the Stanley Basin.

Her husband came to sit beside her. "Dru, I want you to see the doctor before we leave Boise."

She offered a faint smile. "Don't, Gavin. We both know it won't make any difference."

Before he could contradict her, they were interrupted by a knock. Dru's gaze snapped toward the door.

"They're early," she whispered.

Dear God, please bring us the right woman.


Excerpted from When Love Blooms by Robin Lee Hatcher Copyright © 2009 by RobinSong, Inc.. Excerpted by permission.
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.

Meet the Author

Bestselling novelist Robin Lee Hatcher is known for her heartwarming and emotionally charged stories of faith, courage, and love. The recipient of Lifetime Achievement Awards from both RWA and ACFW and winner of the Christy, RITA, and numerous other awards, Robin has authored over 75 books. She and her husband make their home in Idaho where she enjoys spending time with her family, her high-maintenance Papillon, Poppet, and Princess Pinky, the DC (demon cat). For more information, visit www.robinleehatcher.com, Facebook: robinleehatcher, Twitter: @robinleehatcher

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When Love Blooms 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I first picked this book up at a walmart not thinking that i would really like it, well i started reading it one day and fell madly in love with it! believe me this is a great book! you should deffinately order it now! i'm sure you will enjoy it! a truely touching love story that everyone will enjoy!
MPadrelanan More than 1 year ago
When Love Blooms, a romance novel written by multi-awarded author Robin Lee Hatcher, is the story of a young Christian lady, Emily Harris, who found work as a governess for the two young daughters of Gavin and Dru Blake. Little did she know that Dru, also a Christian herself and terminally ill, had been praying for a long time for a woman like her to come along. Having grown up in a family with a privileged lifestyle, Emily Harris, had to prove to her wards' father, Gavin Blake, that she can perform her job excellently and also live on a farm in the country. Despite not being used to performing house work and living in the country, Emily proves herself more than capable of life with the Blake family. As Emily learns to love the Blake family and becomes a friend to Dru, she also finds herself strangely attracted to Gavin, Dru's husband. Knowing that what she feels is wrong, she does everything to suppress her emotions while staying true to her commitment to the Blake family and to her Christian faith. This is the first time that I have read a Christian romance novel by Robin Lee Hatcher and I have enjoyed the book immensely. She writes the novel beautifully, describing the places well, with the emotions jumping out of the book. I appreciate the ways that the characters have developed throughout the book. The way they struggled to live the Christian life is written realistically. All in all, a beautifully written romance novel.
anemulligan More than 1 year ago
Penned with the descriptive nibs of all the five senses, Hatcher transports the reader to the magnificent high country of Idaho in a thoroughly engaging tale of love and wounded heroes. When Love Blooms is layered with appealing characters, and I was so at home with the story's cast, I felt like I was like viewing my own family history. I have yet to read a Robin Lee Hatcher novel that didn't entrance me from the first page, and with a unique plot for a romance, When Love Blooms is no exception.
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Traci12 More than 1 year ago
Emily is a young woman who is looking for a change in her life and is tired of living her life through other people. She answers an ad to be a governess to a couple who need help with their two daughters and for the ailing wife. There is a catch to the hiring of the governess though, the husband nor Emily knows what the wife is up to when she begins to interview for the position. She only prays God will send her the right woman for her children and her husband. Dru the wife is secretly hoping for much more than a governess but she hopes her husband will also open his heart to love again. The book is full of twists and turns and the romance that starts budding keeps you in suspense. Gavin the husband does not like Emily from the start he thinks she is beautiful, spoiled, and will not be able to live life in the rugged country and on a secluded ranch but Emily is always surprising him. You will not be able to put this book down, you will see friendships grow in short amounts of time, love blossom, children learn to live and love, and several other characters who have lessons God wants them to learn on this journey. A Great Book
Novel_Teen_Book_Reviews More than 1 year ago
Emily Harris is looking for a life change. She loves her sister's family, but she needs to get out on her own. She wants to be more than just a society wife. She interviews as a governess for a ranching family far away from city life. She is determined to prove that there is more to her than a pretty face. Gavin Blake doesn't think his wife made the right choice in hiring Emily Harris. The work is hard in the rugged high country, and this refined lady has no business teaching two young girls on a ranch miles from nowhere. But Dru Blake knows what she's doing. Emily Harris is the perfect person to love her daughters and her husband. For Dru has a plan she hopes the Good Lord will help her out with. A plan that will not only take care of her daughters once she's gone, but will take care of Gavin, too. What a hard, yet heartwarming, story! I started this at about 10:30 one night and stayed up until 2:30 am because I couldn't stop reading it. I was enthralled by the characters and their conflict that Robin Lee Hatcher created. She transported me into 1883. Her characters tugged at my heart and wouldn't let me rest until I knew how everything worked out. This was the first book of Robin's that I've read. Now I know why she is so successful. What a storyteller!
CarlaWood More than 1 year ago
Robin Lee Hatcher restored my passion for reading pioneer novels. Despite my busy life, I couldn't put down this uniquely touching tale set in the mountains of beautiful Idaho, where we see a vision of pioneer struggles mixed with sadness, hope, and honor. Gavin and Dru Blake, in the wake of her cancer, find it necessary to hire a governess in Boise. Emily Harris is an answer to Dru's prayers for a woman who loves the Lord and will nurture her girls and husband after she passes on. She appears to be a bit refined in Gavin's eyes and the dare is set before her to prove she can survive a rancher's outback life. Gavin and Dru Blake's perseverance in their lives as ranchers is inspiring. Gavin married Dru following her husband and his best friend's death. Because of her illness, they made this necessary choice, as many pioneers did in that day, to protect the precious girls. This dedication to her children, giving up personal desires, is a convicting sacrifice in our "all about me" culture. Emily, unaware of the gravity of Dru's health, proves to be of the same stock as her employers stepping right in, working more than her expected share with tenderness and compassion towards the family, despite Gavin's gruff doubts about her stamina. Integrity is even more evident in Emily's life as she eventually feels drawn toward Gavin, embarrassed and confused, not understanding God's plans and Dru's future hopes for her. She and Gavin both feel a tugging in their hearts and temptation but flee from the attraction with honor. Both find the need to turn and examine where they are with God in their grief and temptation. This respectful attitude towards marriage, even an unconsummated marriage, is a challenge to our society. I found Robin's book to be filled with grace and accountability in areas we all have or will face in our lives. A well written pleasant read, and a book that will bring growth to your walk with Jesus as you journey through this family's struggles, joys, and challenges.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago