When governess Eleanor Morgan rejects the advances of an English duke, she must take on an indenture to obtain hurried passage to the colonies. But when she arrives in Charles Town, she discovers that the backwoodsman who has paid for her passage is more interested in having a wife than a governess. Entrapped into a marriage of convenience, Eleanor must learn how to care for Samuel Heath’s young daughter in a tiny frontier cabin, always staying alert to the dangers of forest fire, Indians, and bears. As she learns more about her gruff trapper of a husband, she discovers secrets that belie his kindness to her. What exactly happened to Samuel Heath’s first wife? And who is he working for really when the British enlist his aid as a tracker?
This book was a delightful read. In some ways it was similar to Griep’s other frontier novel, The Captured Bride. In other ways it was entirely original. The narrow confines of the frontier cabin and the perils the wilderness pose to a born-and-bred English lady were deftly portrayed. Although Samuel Heath is not one for words, his steadfast character comes to life in these pages. Eleanor’s own terrors and insecurities make her very human, and her inexperience with the rough colonies helps us see the pre-American Revolution world through her eyes. As Samuel and Eleanor grow closer, each learns about the scars in the other’s past, and these scars bind them closer together. Although this book was very character-driven, I particularly enjoyed Griep’s use of foreshadowing in the plot so that each event felt like a necessary step in a beautifully contrived chain of events. Recommended.