Lydia Book Cover Lydia
Brides of the Oregon Trail Book 2
Cynthia Woolf
Historical Western Romance
Firehouse Publishing
March 25, 2019

Lydia Granger thought she left a life of struggle and poverty behind. As a mail-order bride on her way to Oregon City, a secure future is assured. But when the wagon train arrives in Oregon City, she discovers her fiancé is dead and her dream of a safe future is shattered. Moments after her dream is stolen from her, a gift arrives. Her wealthy fiancé left her everything he had. Life for Lydia should be easy, but the truth is much darker and more terrifying than she could imagine, for her fiancé's death was no accident, and the man who took his life wants everything, all the dead man's riches.

Detective Max Caldwell lost his wife to a brutal killer, a man who will stop at nothing to take what he wants from the world. He killed in Chicago. He killed in Oregon. It's only a matter of time before he strikes again. Max seeks not only justice, but vengeance for his wife's death and has no qualms about asking the innocent Lydia to help him hunt for her fiancé's murderer. Because Lydia, and her inheritance, are the bait Max will use to lure evil into the light. Too late he realizes Lydia, with her soft heart, beautiful smile, and collection of rescued animals is not only powerful enough to take down a killer, but she just might melt the ice around his heart.

Reviewed by: Linda Tonis

Member of the Paranormal Romance Review Team

Lydia Granger and her sister Hannah appeared in book one where Lydia had signed on to be a mail-order bride and all that happened was Hannah married and Lydia adopted one abandoned animal after another. This is Lydia’s story at long last.

Oregon City, 1852 and Lydia waits for her fiance Walter Mosley to come to meet her but after a few days she goes to the sheriff to inquire where her fiance lives only to be informed of his death. Hannah has her husband Joe but Lydia has only her animals and has to wonder how she will support herself and them. The bad news is quickly followed up by good news because Walter left everything he had to Lydia, a house, a bank and a lot of money. In spite of that she still is frugal, frugal where she is concerned but not where Hannah, Joe and her animals are concerned.

Shortly after arriving at the house there is a knock on the door and it is Max Caldwell a detective with the Walsh Detective Agency, Max was once a Texas Ranger but now he is searching for Gilbert Ross who is impersonating Horace Belcher the bank president. It was Gilbert who killed the real Horace and who was responsible for killing Max’ wife leaving him and his three year old daughter on their own. Now he needs Lydia’s help in bringing the murderer to justice.

Lydia is grateful to a man she never met, a man who thought enough of her to fill her closet with clothes, jewelry and shoes, a man who gave her a life she could never have imagined and a man she is determined to get justice for. She believes Max and only by acting as bait can there be any hope of proving Gilbert’s guilt. In spite of the objections of Hannah and Joe Lydia is ready to do what is necessary even though it is something filled with danger. She is luring a man who has already killed two people that they know of.

As with all of Ms. Woolf’s books there is suspense, love and a historical background that always makes me happy I didn’t live in those times. I fell in love with Lydia in book one and loved her even more in book two. Once again her home is filled with animals big and small, hurt, disabled and needing love and of course once it becomes known about her puma cub, wolf cub, owl and three legged cat the town is outside her door leaving unwanted pets for her to care for.

Although we met Hannah, Joe and Lydia in book one the books don’t have to be read in order but not doing so you would be missing out on another wonderful story.