Avon, Aug 2008, $12.95
In 1865 Texas the three friends, Willow Madison, Copper Wilson and Audrey Pride all taught school until the Civil War entered Thunder Ridge and the surrounding towns; the Northern army destroyed everything in its march to crush the south.
When the war ended, this section of Texas has become home to poverty. A desperate Madison’s ailing Uncle Wallace begs her to marry wealthy Silas Sterling, thirty years her senior, who might have a reason to invest in rebuilding the demolished town. She reluctantly agrees although she feels no attraction to him. Making matters more complex and difficult for Madison is sawmill owner Tucker Gray who she wishes was her suitor, but he holds her culpable for the fire that destroyed his mill.
TWICE LOVED is an entertaining Post Civil War Texas romance starring a courageous heroine willing to sacrifice her desires to help her family, friends, and neighbors in need. When she realizes her heart wants Tucker while her head says Silas, Willow prays to God to guide her as she believes she is giving up her integrity by marrying Silas. The rest of the cast is solid as Silas hopes his fiancée will learn to love him one day; Tucker wants her, but has issues with her; her two teacher friends beg her not to sacrifice herself; finally there is fascinatingly deep yet ironically shallow Uncle Wallace who disguises his real reason for his niece to wed Silas behind his altruism. Americana fans will relish the first Belles of Timber Creek saga with Audrey and Copper to follow.