Jill Marie Landis brings us a compelling tale of Texas ranch life following the Civil War -- a time when the full moons of summer often heralded brutal Comanche raids that devastated families. Born the daughter of a dockside harlot in a tiny village in Maine, and raised by nuns there in a school for girls, teacher Kate Whittington had few romantic dreams. Answering an advertisement for a mail-order bride was a miraculous chance to gain the home and family she longed for. The wonderful letters she exchanged with her prospective husband in Texas convinced her to risk everything for this one chance at happiness. The proxy marriage went off beautifully, and her new home was even more magnificent than she'd been told. Unfortunately, her husband was more surprised than delighted by his new bride. In fact, Reed Benton Jr. was absolutely furious to learn that his dying father had orchestrated a long-distance courtship on his behalf -- and forged his marriage documents as well. The proud Texas Ranger has just inherited a ranch he doesn't want and a bride he doesn't know. And to top it all off, his young son, Daniel, whom he'd long believed dead, has just been found living among the Comanche -- and Reed's lovely and loving not-quite bride may be the only one who can reach the boy, who is desperate to return to the only life he knows.
Abandoned by her prostitute mother, raised by nuns, and cast adrift at 29, teacher Kate Whittington impulsively answers a newspaper ad and leaves her native Maine for the sun-drenched, windswept plains of Texas to marry a man she has never met a man who, it turns out, was set up by his estranged father, has never heard of Kate, and definitely doesn't want a wife. But Reed Benton has little choice he is wounded, and the wild son he reclaimed from the Comanche needs care and so Kate stays, determined to fight for her dreams. A heroine seeking a new beginning, a hero trying to come to terms with a soul-shattering past, and a terrified, confused little boy in search of his identity drive this poignant, heartwarming novel that steers in the direction of women's fiction. Featuring good writing and exceptionally well-drawn characters, it should appeal to fans of LaVyrle Spencer and Kristin Hannah. Landis is a multiple-award-winning writer (The Orchid Hunter) and lives in Southern California and Hawaii. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Adult/High School-Kate Whittington is caught between a rock and a hard place. The orphanage in the Maine seacoast village where she grew up and later taught has closed. As she scans the newspaper's help-wanted ads, she finds that a Texas widower wants a mail-order bride. After corresponding with the rancher, Kate is married by proxy to Reed Barton. When she arrives at his home, she is told that he had been wounded in a raid on a Comanche village and had brought a boy home with him who was thought to be his son, captured by Indians five years earlier. Reed swears that he never heard of Kate, never wrote to her, or received any letters from her. He makes it clear that he doesn't want a wife but needs someone to care for his son. The wild, frightened little boy touches Kate's heart and she agrees to stay. Well-developed characters drive this story. Daniel Barton struggles to find his identity in the white world. He had Indian parents who loved and cared for him, and he now finds himself in a foreign culture with people who don't understand his ways. His story is reminiscent in some ways of Cynthia Ann Parker's story in Carolyn Meyer's Where the Broken Heart Still Beats (Harcourt, 1992). An interesting and heartwarming story set in the latter half of the 19th century on the Texas frontier.-Carol Clark, formerly at Fairfax County Public Schools, VA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Romancer Landis's hardcover debut is a period piece with an appealing twist: the heroine must not only win the heart of her man but that of his troubled young son. When Kate Whittington's mother can no longer raise her, she puts the nine-year-old in an orphanage run by nuns in Applesby, Maine. There Kate stays, first as a pupil, then as a teacher, until the nuns run out of money and fire her at 29. Mom, who later died in a fire, was the town whore, and when Kate looks for work she realizes that the locals have not forgotten. It's 1869, not a good year for single unemployed women, and so desperate Kate answers an ad in the paper placed by Reed Benton, a lonely rancher in Texas who wants a bride. She marries Reed by proxy and sets off for the Lone Star State. There, she finds a wake in progress for Reed Benton Sr. She's further confused when the younger Reed, a Texas Ranger, returns wounded from a skirmish with the Comanche. He's brought back his eight-year-old son, Daniel, kidnapped five years ago when the Indians also killed Reed's wife, Becky. That night, delirious and thinking she is Becky, the ranger makes love to Kate. When she discovers that Reed Sr. secretly wrote the ad because he wanted his son to remarry, Kate feels she should leave. But Reed persuades her to stayfor better and worse. An accomplished page-turner with credible characters, if predictable outcomes.
"If you love romance, you'll adore Jill Marie Landis."
"Jill Marie Landis' writing reaches into your heart and brings tears and joy."