THE BRIDE OF WILLOW CREEK
Ballantine/Ivy October 2001
Reviewer Sissy Jacobson
When Angie Bartoli was sixteen, she and Sam Holland married and separated on the same day. For ten years Angie has lived in Chicago with her family and Sam, who was told by his father-in-law that he would never amount to anything, left for the west to make his fortune. Now Angie has come to Colorado seeking a divorce so she can finally start her life.
Of all days for Sam Holland to be late, this is not one of them. Yep, there is his wife standing alone on the platform of train station, and from her posture, things do not bode well for Sam. Before he can form an apology, Angie pulls back her fist and lets fly with a wallop to his jaw. Ten years worth of longing, embarrassment, and anger goes into her swing. Now the whole town will have a lot more to talk about than just Angieís arrival.
Angieís parents are dead and she is broke. She wants Sam to pay for a divorce and give her enough money to live modestly until it becomes final. Is she ever in for a surprise. Sam has no money to spare, he has two daughters, and he admits to having loved and lived with a woman out of wedlock. Laura, the mother of his daughters, died the year before and Sam, who adores his girls, is raising them alone. There is only one thing to do. Angie must move in with them, take care of the house and girls while Sam does extra work in order to get enough money to live on, save for his youngest daughterís foot operation, and put money aside for the divorce.
This is the first Maggie Osborne book Iíve read and I loved it. The sentences flow fluently, and the dialogue runs the range from seriousness to laughter and all places in between. The characters become so real they jump right off the page and leave the reader standing on the sidelines watching the story unfold. The children are wonderful and believable, as are Angie and Sam and all the secondary characters. Surprisingly, Angie, who was raised in comparative wealth, learned the last few years with her father how to make do with lesser funds. This is a blessing in disguise since she has to keep Samís small house, wash and iron, cook, and stretch Samís money. She has never been around children, but she uses her common sense and gets on with what she has to do. Sam and Angie battle each other and all the things life throws at them, determined to do whatís best for their makeshift family. The house has only two bedrooms, so Sam gives his room to Angie and he sleeps in a tent in the back yard. Sam and Angieís ups and downs are a constant source of entertainment for the folks of Willow Creek, Colorado, at the end of the nineteenth century.
THE BRIDE OF WILLOW CREEK by Maggie Osborne is one of the best western historical romances Iíve read in a long time. This is not a cowboys and Indians story. The setting is a mining town that has more saloons and houses of ill repute than it does merchants. However in their neighborhood, everyone is friendly and the women enjoy morning coffee and chats together. Angie learns that she doesnít have to have experience to fall in love with two little girls... and their ruggedly handsome father, her very own husband, Sam.
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