Harriet Miller’s marriage had seemed like a dream at first. He was handsome, rich, and well-connected. She was none of those. And his mother detested her, refusing to have anything to do with Harriet or her daughter Alyssa. Until, that is, Harriet’s husband died while Alyssa was a child. Then the woman wanted to take Alyssa into her home to raise as a “proper” lady. Harriet, on the other hand, would be expected to give up all rights to her daughter and never see her again. And with wealth & power behind the older woman, if Harriet were to stay to try and fight to keep her, Harriet would only wind up losing her daughter forever.
So Harriet and Alyssa did the only thing they could, and using the last name of McKinney, they fled as far from their home as they could afford to get. (Harriet’s husband had turned out to be a heavy drinker who was not a very good gambler, leaving them with very little money upon his death.) At the end of her journey, Harriet meets with a matchmaker to find her a husband as she will need one to survive out in the west. But before a husband can be found, we learn that Alyssa’s grandmother has offered a huge bounty for the girl to be found & returned to her. So what can Harriet do now to keep them hidden and safe?
I enjoyed this book. There were some surprises along the way, a character who grew from someone with a simple belief in what was right or wrong, into someone who came to see that there is often more than a single side to the story and begins to see the shades of gray that he had been missing before. We also got to see that like any good mother, Harriet was willing to do anything to protect her daughter and keep her safe, even if doing so is likely to lead to unhappiness for herself. Such actions are something she considers a small sacrifice to protect her daughter, just as any mother would.
It was a very good story and one that I would definitely recommend to anyone who enjoys mail order bride stories or any of Ms. Linnington’s other books.