A Sensible Arrangement, that's all it was.
Marty Danridge Olson (is her name a tribute to the original Marty, from Janette Oke's classic Love Comes Softly I wonder?) feels that every hope of marriage and motherhood has been cut down with the death of her beloved Thomas.
Yet she has accepted a marriage proposal from widower Jake Wythe. As a bank manager, the board of trustees thinks that a wife will seal his good-standing and future success in the town. He didn't to risk having his heart torn again,so he asked for only two things: a woman content to keep up appearances, and someone who came from the Lone Star state to remind him of his home. Despite the life he has now, Jake longs to return to ranching in Texas, and he's unaware that in Marty's mind, that place symbolizes all the loss and bereavement of a past she's escaping.
They have no clue what they're getting into. To use the tried and true Texan phrase, they're about to find themselves in a heap o' trouble! :)
Marty finds Jake's lifestyle wonderful in several ways, and difficult in others. She's suddenly the object of queenly care: beautiful dresses and long hot baths and a grand home to furnish and outfit any way she see's fit. Yet she keeps her spunk, and resists some of the more onerous formalities... she even insists on befriending the household staff!
As the days of her new marriage go by, Marty draws especially close to Alice, a young lady's maid whose own story is soon told.
You see, Alice's father worked for the bank before he was murdered, before Jake came along. As Marty and Alice become more like sisters, Marty determines to find out as much as she can about those strange circumstances and protect the younger girl who's seen so much and has so much wisdom.
Yes... Marty has her work cut out for her. She's got to figure out how to become friends with all the new people she's meeting, and with her own newly wed husband. Making a marriage work based on appearances (and what Marty increasingly feels is deception) only compounds the out-of-place feelings that she has.
Marty knows that she may never find love like Thomas gave her again, and so she determines to become Jake's best friend.
A thought that guides her in her relationships is expressed in a conversation between Marty and Alice.
Alice says that people think familiarity breeds contempt. Marty rightly responds that familiarity can encourage love and trust. How true, Marty, how true.
Too often we take advantage of the people around us, because they're just always there. Imagine what might change if we decided to become each other's friends, especially within a family!
This story will make you laugh and make you grin, and you will feel for Alice and Marty. There's also a wee bit of a mystery element, and the last few paragraphs are the sweetest part of all.
Thank you Litfuse for my review copy!
Tracie Peterson is a bestselling author who writes in both historical and contemporary genres. Her novels reveal her love for research as well as her strong desire to develop emotionally meaningful characters and stories for her readers. Tracie and her family live in Montana.