Reviewed by: Linda Tonis
Member of the Paranormal Romance Review Team
It is 1882, and Julia O’Brien Reynolds is on her way to Tombstone, Arizona Territory to meet Dr. Matthew Reynolds, the man she married by proxy. Julia travelled with Benjamin King, who seemed very smitten with her, in spite of her being married. Arriving in Tombstone, she is not met by Matthew but by his grandfather Walt. She thinks nothing of it because a doctor is always busy.
Arriving at Matthews’s house, she settles in and takes a nap waiting anxiously for her new husband. She fell in love with through his letters. Unlike many mail order brides, Julia wants Matthew and a life with him. She envisions them working side by side, since she is a nurse and midwife. She sees herself opening a practice adjacent to his where she will care for women, but her long exciting journey will not turn out the way she expected. Upon arriving home, Matthew is shocked at the sight of a woman in his bed and even more shocked when she announces that she is his wife. His reaction is anger and refusal to accept that he is married.
It seems that Grandpa Walt is a very cagey man. The letters Julia thought were written by Matthew, were actually written by Walt. Matthew is unwilling to accept what his grandfather did and wants an immediate annulment. With a little persuasion, Julia convinces him to let her stay in his guest room and work by his side, hoping he will accept her and learn to love her. Her feelings for Matthew have not changed. She still loves him, although she definitely has plans on letting Walt have it when she sees him.
Matthew realizes what an asset Julia is, but still insists he is not married and will not consummate their marriage. With Julia’s help, Matthew is able to live a more normal life, since she is able to take over a great deal of his patients, especially pregnant women. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that she is also a great cook. One night, she is called to help deliver a baby when Matthew is not around. The woman has been in labor for hours, and the baby is breach. Julia is unable to save the mother. Ben who took her in his carriage, and saved her from a grief stricken husband hell bound on hurting the woman he felt was responsible for his wife’s death, Julia. Now Julia finds herself with a newborn baby, a husband who doesn’t appear to want her, and a new beau, Ben who wants her to get the annulment and marry him.
Julia can’t go anywhere while she has the baby. She waits for the father to come to his senses and return for her. She also is not giving up on Matthew and is willing to wait till he realizes he wants her. This is a beautiful story about a strong willed woman who is not giving up what she wants without a fight. I always love Cynthia Woolf’s books, and this one was no exception. Matthew has three brothers. I hope we get their stories in future books.