Sunday, December 19, 2010

Review: Marry Me by Jo Goodman


HER HEART WAS LOCKED AWAY

Rhyne Abbott is fierce, brave, and used to a life of isolation on her father's spread on the outskirts of Reidsville, Colorado. But when, overcome with sickness, she collapses, she knows she must return to town if she is to have any hope of recovery. Only there is no place for her but the new doctor's home, and he wants more than just to heal Rhyne. He wants her hand in marriage.

UNTIL ONE MAN FOUND THE KEY

Doctor Cole Monroe's hands are already more than full with his orphaned little sister to look after, and yet somehow he can't resist the magnetic pull of Rhyne's bewitching eyes—or her tempting kiss. But convincing her to trust him won't be easy. For Rhyne's heart needs as much tender care as her ailing body. And the only cure is the thing she most fears: to let herself fall in love...
I first became acquainted with Reidsville when I read Joe Goodman's Never Love a Lawman in 2009 and couldn't wait to get back there again. I loved revisiting the small mining town of Reidsville, Colorado in the 1800's with all its unusual characters and circumstances, by reading Marry Me. I must point out that although these two books are set in the same town with some characters introduced in the first book, Marry Me can be read as a stand alone novel without a problem.

In 1884, Doctor Coleridge Monroe and his teenage sister Whitley move from New York City to the small town of Reidsville, after receiving and agreeing to a probationary contract with the town for a one year period to become the town Doctor. Cole is a first rate doctor with research experience, and huge responsibilities when it comes not only to the town, but also to his orphaned little sister. Whitley is a spunky, smart young woman with an amusingly deceitful nature who loves her brother above all else. 

While out on a medical visit to the outliers in the mountains with deputy Will Beatty, -- that 'no account Beatty boy' -- Cole comes across an unusual set of circumstances. He meets a young woman in trouble, and with the help of Sheriff Wyatt and his wife Rachel, he takes this young woman home to care for her until she's fully healed. Later, he offers her a job as housekeeper and companion to his troublesome sister Whitley setting up the stage for the romance.

Of all those unusual characters in Reidsville, our female protagonist Rhyne, turns out to be the most extraordinary of them all. She's a deeply troubled young woman when we first meet her having experienced some deeply traumatizing events. Rhyne's change is a slow process throughout the story and I love how the layers to her character are pealed back and how she evolves as a person. Cole and Rhyne fall in love slowly, everything between them developed through trust and friendship first and then on to passion and love. Jo Goodman really took her time exploring these characters and their motivations in this story, so that the reader gets a complete and well-rounded character in the end.

Once Rhyne and Cole fall in love, he wants to marry her. But one of Rhyne's problems is that she doesn't believe she's good enough for Cole because of her upbringing and what she sees as class differences. Goodman addresses these differences and how they are viewed in a small western town like Reidsville. Cole in the meantime explains to Rhyne the "simple premise" behind why he thinks people marry:
That people marry because they find someone they can imagine sharing their life with. Love is part of it, an important part, especially in the beginning, but there must also be admiration and respect, a willingness to act in concert, and an appreciation that sometimes one must act alone. There are mutual interests and separate ones. I've always thought of it as a dance. A complicated one. Missteps. Mis-cues. But in the end, I am convinced if they both hear the same music, it's a satisfying arrangement.
The excellent character development includes Whitley as a key secondary character with depth. I loved her. The dialogue in this book is full of witty moments provided by Rhyne and Cole. However, Whitley also provides much of the amusement throughout the story. She definitely put a smile on my face more than once. Characters from the previous book, Never Love a Lawman, play significant roles without overwhelming the story, as do Reidsville's citizens. And new secondary characters are introduced, including the villain of the piece.

I thoroughly enjoyed this romance. It was well written with well developed three dimensional central characters, and a story that is well-balanced between deeply troubling subjects, romance and humor. All of it kept me reading until that last page. I particularly enjoyed the intimate moments between Rhyne and Cole, as well as the medical sleuthing and problem solving that went with it. 

The storyline involving Rhyne's father was interesting with a good resolution. A thread involving Rhyne's background was left hanging towards the end of the epilogue that had 'unecessary sequel bait' written all over it. Fortunately this was a small enough niggle not to bother me overmuch, and Marry Me turned out to be a highly enjoyable historical romance. 

Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Reidsville Series
Released: December 1, 2010
Grade: B

Never Love a Lawman
Marry Me

Visit Jo Goodman here.

10 comments:

  1. This sounds good, and I'm glad since I bought it. LOL I read Never Love a Lawman but kind of forget it so it's good this one can be read as a stand alone. :P

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  2. Ames, I enjoyed it, hope you do too. :) LOL on Never Love a Lawman, I really enjoyed that one and loved some of those characters and the whole mining town atmosphere. But yes, both books can be read as stand-alones.

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  3. I'm reading this now so I skipped to the grade. Unless it goes completely south, it's a wonderful read. Really like Rhyne, Cole and Whitley (she cracks me up).

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  4. Sounds good! I will add it to my list of To check Out books.

    I hope I like it!! :)

    Thanks for the review

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  5. Leslie, ohhh I can't wait to read your review. I know what you mean... I really liked Rhyne and Cole, but Whitley? I loved her character. :D

    AnimeGirl, I hope you like this one. I enjoyed both books in this series so far -- great characters!

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  6. I started to read this book. The beginning actually captured my attention, unlike Never Law a Lawman. lol. Well written review, Hilcia!

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  7. Oh I hope you enjoy it, Tabitha. The beginning of this book is definitely an "attention getter." It hooked me and then I couldn't put the book down. In that respect, it's definitely better than Never Love a Lawman... agreed! :D

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  8. PS: Tabz, Thanks for hooking me up! :D

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  9. Okay, so I just want to check... no sordid, dark storyline in this book, right? :P Cos yeah, you make the book sounds quite interesting and now I'm tempted :P Of course, I'm easy LOL.

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  10. Nath, there is definitely a traumatizing story line in this book that involves Rhyne. The book is well-written, and there's a good balance between that part of the story and the humorous parts, but yes... there's definitely a darker side there. I hope that helps. :)

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