by Jo Goodman
Published by: Penguin
Genres: Historical Romance
She has nowhere left to turn... Jane Middlebourne needs a way out. In 1891, life in New York is unforgiving for a young woman with no prospects, especially when her family wants nothing to do with her. So when Jane discovers an ad for a mail-order bride needed in Bitter Springs, Wyoming, she responds with a hopeful heart. He has everything to lose... Rancher Morgan Longstreet is in want of a wife who will be his partner at Morning Star, someone who will work beside him and stand by him. His first impression of the fair and fragile Jane is that she is not that woman. But when she sets out to prove him wrong, the secrets he cannot share put into jeopardy every happiness they hope to find….
I love westerns, historical novels and mail order bride tropes, so when the chance to read, In Want of a Wife by Jo Goodman came up I snagged it. Boy Howdy, am I glad I did. This historical romance had everything. Goodman spun a tale of ranch life, romance and then weaved a suspenseful plot around our heroine and hero. I consumed this in two sittings and I am looking forward to reading more from Goodman.
1891, New York; Jane Middlebourne is at the mercy of her Aunt and looking for a way to escape when she answers an ad for a wife in Bitter Springs, Wyoming. Rancher Morgan Longstreet has a dark past, but he has rebuilt and claimed his life. He owns the ranch Morning Star and longs for someone to share it.
Jane and Morgan were complex, fleshed out characters, and I quickly came to care for them. Goodman did an excellent job of sharing their history and building their relationship. While this arrangement did not allow for much courting aside from their correspondence, she allowed the relationship to develop slowly. I loved the banter between them from the raised eyebrows to snarky comments. Jane is witty, and despite her fragile size is not afraid to speak her mind and handles both Morgan and the ranch hands like a pro. Morgan has secrets, and some of them are painful. He is guarded and despite his age has never had a relationship. Seeing the strength and growth that develops from their relationship was engaging to watch. The romance developed passion and was heated.
In Want of a Wife, Goodman weaves a suspenseful thread filled with secrets and danger that kept me on edge as I watched the relationship develop between Morgan and Jane. Life on the ranch and small-town happening brought moments of laughter as the characters interacted. I adored the secondary characters from the Sheriff to the older woman who advises both Morgan and Jane. I laughed, shed a tear and rooted for them. The more Goodman revealed about these complex characters, the more entangled I became.
Fans of historical romance, the west and suspense will enjoy, In Want of a Good Wife. Goodman shares the first chapters of The Last Renegade at the back of the novel. I was excited to see it is set in Bittersweet, Wyoming and was previously published in 2013. I have added it to my list. While In Want of a Wife is not part of a series, the town is the same, and I look forward to visiting.
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