~ About the Book ~
With pert opinions and a less-than-perfect figure, Ruth Ann Sutton doesn’t measure up to Society’s vision of a perfect lady. When she accepts a position teaching in a Freedman’s School, it threatens the only marriage offer Ruth Ann is likely to receive. She’s forced to choose between life as a lonely spinster or reinventing herself to secure a respectable proposal.
Determined to rise above his meager beginnings, Benjamin Coulter’s reputation as a fast learner and hard worker earns him the opportunity to apprentice with a surveyor for the railroad—a position that will garner the respect he craves. After a chance encounter with Ruth Ann Sutton, Benjamin is smitten with her pretty face, quick wit, and feisty personality. When others ridicule his choice, will Benjamin listen to his heart or put ambition first?
Genre: Historical Romance
Release date: 29 June 2018
Publisher: Prism Book Group
~ Excerpt ~
He straightened and peered over the side of the rock. She sat bent-legged in shallow water—skirts knee-high, water dripping from her nose. The waterlogged woman glanced at him through damp lashes. What a sight.
Benjamin clamped his lips together in a futile effort to contain his mirth. He knew enough about females to know Miss Fancy Boots would be fuming mad. Even more so if he laughed at her predicament. Despite his best effort, a hearty guffaw escaped him.
Until her glare silenced him.
Benjamin waded into the creek. “May I help you?”
“No, thank you.” She searched the creek bed for the stick. “I can manage.”
The dog sat at the edge of the water, the nub where his tail should be wagging playfully.
“I think he wants to join you.”
As if Benjamin’s observation had been a personalized invitation, the critter jumped in, splashing his mistress.
“Buddy, no!” She shielded her face in vain.
Bringing his fist to his mouth, he feigned a cough to stifle his laughter. Poor woman. This just wasn’t her day. She struggled to her feet and swiped wet tresses from her eyes. Without a glance in his direction, she lifted her soggy skirts and edged around him toward the creek bank.
Arms flailing, she wobbled as her foot slipped on a mossy rock.
Benjamin lunged forward and grabbed her waist, steadying the drenched woman. Mere inches apart, his gaze lowered to her rosy lips. He hadn’t noticed those before. “Allow me to assist you?”
She sighed. “I guess I have no choice. I lost my stick when I fell.”
With one arm wrapped around her waist, he grasped her elbow with his free hand and led her from the water.
Once on dry ground, she twisted the fabric of her skirt. Water pooled in the dirt beneath her. “Look what you’ve done!”
“What I’ve done?”
“Yes, I’m a mess.” Mud-caked toes peeked out from underneath the hem of her dress.
A beautiful mess. Dark, wet curls plastered themselves against her creamy skin. Yellow flecks in her eyes sparkled like gold in the sunlight. She may be rounder than the other women who’d sparked his interest, but she was by far the prettiest.
~ Review ~
Ruth Ann Sutton is the kind of heroine many readers will identify with. I mean, which females out there haven’t compared themselves unfavourably to other women at some point? Any hands? I’d venture to guess not. For those of us whose figures are a little (or a lot) rounder than we’d like, Ruth Ann’s story may hit even closer to home. From the most kindly meant advice right through to taunts and rejection, words have far greater sting than we credit, and they can bury themselves in our flesh and fester.
But it’s not just words about ourselves that can have a negative impact. One of the things I loved about this story was that it also showed the way in which we allow ourselves to be influenced by the things people say about others—to the point where other people’s opinions guide our behaviour to our detriment. In this respect, Ruth Ann and Benjamin stand in stark contrast, because Ruth Ann refuses to be cowed into standing down from her position as teacher in the Freedman’s School, irrespective of what form that pressure takes, whereas Benjamin is very conscious of the jabs and ribald jokes at Ruth Ann’s expense and how other people might view him by association.
Ruth Ann was definitely a heroine close to my heart. If I’m honest, I would have to say I identified with Ruth Ann’s ‘pert opinions’ and stubbornness even more than her struggle with her self-image! I enjoyed her feistiness and her interactions with Benjamin, and I loved that she believed so strongly in educating freedmen and their families. Benjamin I found a little harder to identify with at times. I think a stronger foreshadowing of his struggle would have helped make one of his decisions, in particular, more understandable, but no one can doubt the earnestness of his desire to grow and become the man Ruth Ann needed him to be. And he enjoyed Ruth Ann’s feistiness as much as I did!
This was an engaging debut, and I hope we will be seeing more from Kelly Goshorn.
I received a copy of this novel from the author. This has not influenced the content of my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.
~ About the Author ~
Kelly Goshorn weaves her affinity for history and her passion for God into uplifting stories of love, faith and family set in nineteenth century America. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. Kelly has been enjoying her own happily-ever-after with her husband and best friend, Mike, for 28 years. Together they have raised three children, four cats, two dogs, a turtle, a guinea pig, a gecko, and countless hamsters. Thankfully, not all at the same time. When she is not writing, Kelly enjoys spending time with her young adult children, scrapbooking with friends, board gaming with her husband, and spoiling her Welsh corgi, Levi.