Twenty-six-year-old Katie Macauley has placed all her hope in Hope Springs, a small town in the 1870 Wyoming Territory. But if she wants to return home to Ireland to make amends with her estranged family, she’ll need to convince the influential Joseph Archer to hold true to his word and keep her on his payroll as his housekeeper despite her Irish roots. The town is caught in an ongoing feud between the Irish and the “Reds” the frontiersmen who would rather see all the Irish run out of town and the Irish immigrants who are fighting to make a home for themselves in the New World. When Joseph agrees to keep Katie on as his housekeeper, the feud erupts anew, and Katie becomes the reluctant figurehead for the Irish townsfolk. As the violence escalates throughout the town, Katie must choose between the two men who have been vying for her love though only one might be able to restore hope to her heart.
Oh how I loved this book. It was so good that I didn’t want it to end. It left you with a feeling that you lost a great friend with it being over but thank heavens there is a second book to carry on this story.
“My name’s Tavish O’Connor,” he said. “And it’s very pleased I am to meet you.” Katie held her ground and kept her peace. There was nothing that irritated an arrogant man more than a woman who showed no interest in him. Tavish’s smile remained in place. “Might you see your way to telling me what it is I’m to call you?” Katie didn’t trust this mysterious Tavish O’Connor and his twinkling blue eyes, not for one moment. Handsome he was. Talkative to be sure. But she’d not give him credit for more than that. “Come now,” he said. “It seems we’re to take you on to Hope Springs. Wouldn’t do to be calling you Miss for the next two hours.”
“Ah, you’re an Irish lass.” “As are you.” His smile tipped and laughter twinkled in his eyes. “Not a lass, exactly, but Irish-born, for sure.” Wasn’t that just like a man. Knew exactly what she meant and yet turned her words about. “You know full well I didn’t mean you were a lass.” “Didn’t you now?”
“Are you telling me when you first saw me sitting up in my brother’s wagon that your very first thought was, ‘That fine-looking Irishman over there is most definitely a rascal’?”
“You don’t mean to trust me even an inch?” Katie looked him dead in the eye. “Not even half an inch.” She couldn’t say if he looked more intrigued or entertained. Either way, he didn’t seem the least discouraged.
Tavish , Tavish, Tavish, you had me at hello. The very first line of dialog between him and Katie is what hooked me. I thought to myself oh this is gonna be good, so off I purchased the whole novel. I just couldn’t settle for a wee nip of the sample provided. Again Tavish’s character was just a hoot – hilarious every time he graced the pages. I love these kind of people who loves to tease and make you laugh all the time. One of my favorite quotes from him to Katie was “Anything else you’re needing Sweet Katie? The moon perhaps? A few stars? Just ask and they’re yours.” Oh how I loved when he called her Sweet Katie or Darlin’. *swoon*
“You’re a tough one, Katie Macauley. But I mean to talk you round to enduring me at the least. Take a ride with me. I’ll be a perfect gentleman, my word of honor.” An afternoon away from her endless list of chores would be nice. But only if Tavish behaved himself. “A perfect gentleman?” The devilishly handsome grin he produced was not terribly reassuring, yet there was sincerity in his eyes. “You’ll hardly recognize me I’ll be so well behaved.”
“Aye, the second finest view in town. I have to save something to build up to.” “You mean to spend another afternoon with me?” She liked the idea very much indeed. He tipped her a crooked smile and wiggled his eyebrows, a sight that made her smile in spite of her general tendency not to. “There’s that smile I’ve been waiting for,” he said.
“You know something, Katie Macauley? I love that smile of yours. ’Twas well worth waiting to see it, you know.”
Then there is the character Joseph – a bit reserved and quieter (but not so when it comes to breaking up fights between the Irish and Americans) – he isn’t as good at teasing or flirting as Tavish but yet you heart did sort pull for him at times.
“Joseph?” His heart clenched at the sound of his name on Katie’s lips. She’d never called him simply “Joseph” before. It echoed around in his mind, settling as warmth in his chest. He hoped his reaction didn’t show on his face when he looked over at her.
Tavish could tell he was being sized up. And by the narrowing of Joseph’s eyes, he recognized Tavish’s intent as well. They stood, eyeing one another for several long and silent moments. Tavish had not intended to pursue Katie in the least. Now, it seemed, he had a rival. Joseph Archer was infuriatingly difficult to read. Was it confidence that kept him so at ease? Joseph did have the advantage. Katie lived in his house. He could see her, talk to her every day. Joseph was wealthy, with the air of class and money about him. Tavish had none of those things. And though Katie had warmed to him a bit, he didn’t yet feel she’d entirely shed her wariness of him.
And then there is the O’Connor’s – they are a big fun family who loves life and jesting too. As for Katie, she is a strong young woman who puts everyone ahead of herself – always thinking of others before herself and deeply wants her father’s forgiveness more than anything.
“You’ve a taste for sharp-witted and determined women, Tavish. Bridget, for all her sweetness of temper, could give you such a tongue thrashing at times. And we could all see you loved it. Teased her mercilessly you did, something you didn’t stop doing the entire time you spent with Miss Katie.”
“You think he fancies me?” She filled her voice with all the doubt she felt. “I think he’s beginning to.” Katie looked over at him in the exact moment he looked up at her. Tavish gave her one of his smiles that never failed to make her heart pound a bit. “Now what say you to that?” Biddy whispered. Katie lowered her eyes and shook her head. “I say men are too confusing for any woman’s good.” Biddy only laughed. “Put on your best smile, Katie dear. One of those ‘confusing men’ is headed directly for you.” Sure enough, Tavish reached her side in the next moment.
As I stated, this is a great novel, so great that it will go on my list of keepers. A must read!