MOON ON THE WATER
Bantam Books, April 2004
Reviewed by Barbara Fielding
Post Civil War Era
Chase Hardesty, a river pilot for the Gold Star Shipping Line, receives an unusual offer from his employer-- "...you'll give me the Andromeda," he clarified, "in exchange for marrying your daughter?" Chase had been dreaming of captaining his own steamboat since he was a small boy growing up on the river at Hardesty's Landing, but he never imagined owning his own ship. The Andromeda is the newest steamboat in Commodore Rossiter's fleet and Chase has to wonder why he has been selected. When he meets Ann Rossiter face to face, the reason for the hasty marriage is immediately obvious. The beautiful young woman is expecting a child. Chase can own a ship he could never dream of having and gain a beautiful, refined young woman as a wife, if he will give her unborn child his name. Is Chase Hardesty the type of man who can be bought? However, when Miss Rossiter asks him to decline the commodore's offer, he gallantly walks away from the deal. Twenty-four hours later he returns to accepts his employer's offer.
Ann Rossiter has been betrayed by men before. When Chase ignores her request for him to decline her stepfather's offer, she is not really surprised. He is one more man who cannot be trusted to keep his word. But Ann soon discovers there is more to her new husband than she could guess.
MOON ON THE WATER is a touching and deeply emotional romantic tale. The setting aboard the riverboat is interesting and creates a wonderful backdrop for the drama that is about to unfold between the newlyweds. Chase is a fair and honorable man who comes from a poor but honest upbringing. Ann is a mystery: the father of her baby, and why he didn't step forward to marry her, is a secret that slowly unfolds. Chase and Ann are both complex, well-developed characters. Ms. Grayson captures their emotions beautifully. There is also a suspense element that puts this couple into dangerous situations over and over again as they travel up and down the Missouri River.
This is my first time to read the work of Elizabeth Grayson and I thoroughly enjoyed this story. She has a long backlist of romance novels and she is the recipient of the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for Historical Romances.
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