A MAN WITHOUT A COUNTRY…
Esteban Santandar, heir to a vast cattle empire in Sonora, had been educated in Europe and spent much of his life in gold rush California. Part Spanish aristocrat, part Yankee businessman, he straddled both worlds uneasily, not fitting in either one.
A WOMAN WITHOUT A PAST…
Amanda Whittaker seemed to be a pampered heiress, a magnificent golden lady, living as the darling niece of a wealthy San Francisco merchant. But she had buried her tragic early life, which included escape from a bordello…and worse.
A HOUSE OF CARDS…
When Esteban and Amanda fell in love, they sought salvation in each others arms. Expecting to be forced into marriage with a vapid, shallow girl, he chose instead a wife who possessed not only beauty but lively intelligence and a Yankee free spirit. For her he turned his back on the traditional ways of his family. Warned not to deceive the man she loved, Amanda could not bear to reopen old wounds and kept silent. Their life in Sonora was a sensual idyll…until her past was uncovered on one shattering night.
A LOVE THAT COULD NEVER BE DENIED
Amanda struggled to rebuild her life alone. Esteban drowned his pain in brandy. As both tried to kill a love that would not die, they found almost too late that they had a deadly enemy who they had to face together.
About the Author
Shirl has been a RITA finalist twice, and has won three Career Achievement Awards, an Industry Award and three Reviewer’s Choice Awards from Romantic Times.
“I wrote my first twenty-two novels in longhand with a ballpoint pen—it’s hard to get good quills these days,” she says. Dragged into the twenty-first century by her son Matt, a telecommunication specialist, Shirl now uses two of those “devil machines.” Another troglodyte bites the dust. Please visit her at www.shirlhenke.com.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The book was a great read!!!
I think this is one of Ms. Henke's early books. Beware, it is written in the style of the big books of the 80s. Life begins rough for Amanda the heroine in the 1850s.. She is abused by her bestial stepfather and escapes. She is found on the road by a grandfatherly old peddler named "Hoot" and he is. The only place safe he can think to take the wretched young girl is a San Francisco bordello! But the place is run by his friend who is a shrewd and tough lady. She is also a decent sort who sees in Amanda perhaps the girl she used to be before she entered the "business." She is determined that this young girl, whom she comes to love, will have better choices. She keeps Amanda away from the hookers and has her perform maid's duties and sees that she is tutored as befits a respectable young woman. Things don't quite pan out the way Lola plans and Amanda must sacrifice herself to keep her surrogate mother from being thrown into the street. She is eventually "adopted" by a wealthy San Francisco business tycoon who sees in Amanda the golden-haired daughter that he and his beloved dead wife should have had. He's a kind of "fairy godfather." Paul introduces the girl to art, literature, the opera and pampers her as his own flesh and blood. Then she meets Esteban. Esteban is a criollo, a member of the pure-blooded Spaniard class that were the feudal rulers of Mexico for much of the 19thc. But he has been educated in Europe, fought in a war, and is sick of the confines and hypocrisy of his own class. He is much happier with his Yankee uncle by marriage in California, where he becomes a business tycoon on his own and more American than criollo. He meets Amanda and the two fall madly in love, much to everyone's consternation. She deceives her new husband about her past and soon the "house of cards" crumbles. But in adversity, grief, self-pity and anger, the lovers discover faith, trust, strength, and genuine love. And in the shambles, Amanda, the ethereal golden beauty, discovers a backbone of steel. Nobody had better mess with her. She is quite capable of destroying any villain who threatens the ones she loves. She may start out as a victim, but she ends up as one tough cookie. Henke creates stories where sometimes the bold knight in shinning armor may need to be rescued by the damsel in distress.