Annie Book Cover Annie
The Brides of San Francisco Book 2
Cynthia Woolf
Historical Western Romance
Firehouse Publishing
January 25, 2015
Ebook and Print
303

Annie Markum grew up with a bible in one hand, and a disapproving father holding the other. At twenty-two, she dared to dream of a different life and risked everything to become a mail order bride. One year later, she finds herself on a friend's doorstep, penniless, pregnant, and a widow. Her husband was an honorable, church-going man, and she believes her father will allow her to come home. To get back to her father in New York will take money she doesn't have. She's got no choice but to accept work as a cook in a local saloon. Her father would never approve, but Annie is determined to earn enough for safe passage for herself and her beautiful new baby girl.

It's never good to lust after another man's wife. Saloon owner, Nick Cartwright, learned that lesson the hard way. He took one look at Annie Markum and fell hard for his friend's mail order bride. A year later, she's back in his life, a widow with a precious daughter to protect. Nick will do anything to convince Annie to give him a chance, except the one thing she demands...sell his saloon. Annie has lived a sheltered life, and her innocence is one thing Nick wants to preserve. Life is rough, and Annie is soft, sweet, and all too kissable. He wants to keep her and her little girl, but Annie is determined to raise her daughter as far away from the saloon as possible.

Annie fights her growing attraction to Nick. She might even be in love with him, but with Nick comes the saloon. And the whiskey. The gambling and the women. One of them will have to sacrifice everything to make a relationship work, and neither wants to budge. When it turns out that Annie's dead husband actually left her a fortune, her future seems set. Until someone decides to take both Nick and her new found freedom away from her. And Annie realizes that sometimes, in life and in love, you have to fight dirty to win.

Reviewed by: Linda Tonis

Member of the Paranormal Romance Review Team

Once again, we meet one of the mail order brides who traveled with Nellie from book one. Annie Markum White did not find the love Nellie did with her husband, Blake. Now Annie finds herself penniless, pregnant and alone. Her husband died leaving her without a thing. The only thing she can do is ask for help from Nellie.

Nellie and Blake welcome Annie with open arms and offer her a place to live and have her baby. Also at the house is Nicolas Cartwright, a man who first saw Annie at Nellie and Blake’s wedding. It was love at first sight. He knew she was getting married and would fulfill her contract, so he walked away. Now he has another chance, and he is not going to give up until Annie is his wife.

Fortunately for Annie, she arrived at Nellie and Blake’s home just in time to go into labor and deliver her daughter Evangeline (Evie). Not only did Nick fall in love with Annie when he first saw her, but he fell in love with Evie the minute he held her. As far as he is concerned, Annie will be his wife and Evie is the daughter of his heart. The only thing standing in Nick’s way is Annie and her desire to always please her father. Her father is a preacher who has beaten it into Annie’s head that anyone working in a saloon did the devil’s work. She knows that Nick owning a saloon with Blake will never work for her even though she knows what a good man he is. She is willing to let love go in her desire to get her father’s blessing.

No matter how hard Nick tries to get Annie to marry him, she can’t forget her upbringing. Nick loves Evie and she loves him in return calling him dada. Whenever Nick is in the room, Evie wants him and yet Annie still can’t say yes to him. She didn’t love her husband and swore she would only marry for love. Here it is staring her in the face, a love for her and her daughter and she still wants her father’s blessing. How long will Nick wait for her? Will he give up his saloon to be with her and get her father’s blessing?

Annie continues to live with Nellie and Blake. Evie and Nellie’s little boy, Daniel, are only two weeks apart and are very close. She works at the saloon in the kitchen to earn enough money to return to her father’s home in New York. Does she really want to leave San Francisco and return to New York?

This was a beautiful love story and we catch up with Nellie and Blake which I really enjoyed. I always love to find out what happens to the people we first meet. There are surprises, sex, and wonderful characters. There is abuse between Nick’s sister, Sarah, and her husband, John, and with her past history working with abused women at her father’s congregation, Annie is right there to help. If you love mail order bride books, and romantic books set in the past, don’t miss this series. They don’t have to be read in order, but why miss out on Nellie and Blake’s story?