Barbour, Oct 2008, $10.97
In 1877 in Jefferson, Texas, Bertha Biddie loves Thaddeus Bloom, but he shows no return of her deep affection beyond friendliness. Desperate to win her man, she asks newly-arrived Annie Stone, who Dr. Turner calls Bessie and allegedly knows her way around men, for help. Bertha idolizes the confident Annie
Thaddeus actually hides how he feels about Bertha whom he loves. However, his father demands he attend the recently opened Texas Agricultural and Mechanical College, a military school, which he will though his younger brother is the bookworm. He desperately wants to ask Bertha to wait for him, but he never finds a way to do so before he leaves. He is unaware he broke her heart. However Annie’s murder shakes up the townsfolk and leaves Bertha to know she is on her own to gain Thaddeus’s heart.
The first Texas Fortunes historical romance is a terific late Reconstruction era tale that brings to life a port city. The murder of Annie also known as Diamond Bessie Monroe is a real event that anchors the well written story line; as Marcia Gruver easily blends fact and fiction. With a strong cast especially the lead couple who each has self esteem issues, fans of Reconstruction Era romances will want to read the delightful DIAMOND DUO.