Friday, April 15, 2016

Book Review: No Other Will Do

No Other Will Do. Karen Witemeyer. 2016. Bethany House. 368 pages. [Source: Review copy]

No Other Will Do by Karen Witemeyer is a great read. I loved, loved, loved it. That did not come as a surprise to me. I tend to love, love, love Witemeyer's novels. Her historical romances tend to be set in Texas, and feature truly memorable heroes and heroines. No Other Will Do did not disappoint in the slightest. I'm not sure I'm ready to commit to saying it is my favorite, favorite of her novels. But it's one I won't be forgetting any time soon!

Malachi Shaw is the hero of No Other Will Do. As a young (orphan) boy, he took shelter in a barn and was discovered by our young heroine, Emma Chandler. She asked her aunts if she could 'keep' him. They said yes. For several years, he knew what a 'real home' was like in many, many ways. When he left, he promised Emma that he would always let her know where he was so they could write. He also promised to return if ever she needed him. A good many years later, she does just that, writing him telling him to come...and as soon as possible.

Emma Chandler is one of the founding members of a special town, Harper's Station, Texas, an all-female town where women take care and support one another. Emma is a banker. Other women run farms or businesses. It is a new town, but, a closely knit one. Some women are widows. Some are old maids. Some have fled from abusive husbands or fathers. The reason Emma writes Malachi is simple: the town is being threatened. There is a masked man--or as it turns out two masked men--making threats on the town. A lot of waving guns about, some shooting (though no one is hit), some arson, some destruction of property. Only two or three women know how to shoot a gun, and, certainly the women want to avoid violence if at all possible. But the women need some outside help this time. And since the nearby sheriff is ignoring their pleas for help, dismissing them really as not his problem, Emma knows just what to do.

Malachi Shaw becomes one of two men allowed in the town. (The other is Mr. Porter, I believe, who delivers messages (the post) and goods.) And seeing these two reunite after years apart was just something. They grew up close, but, now they're all grown up...and both are strong, capable, opinionated, intelligent, kind and loyal.

This is a drama-packed, action-packed novel but characterization never falters. I loved the setting, community, the people in it, and Malachi and Emma. It was just a joy to read this romance.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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