When Louisa Bell loses her job at the Cat-Eye saloon, as a dance hall singer, her options available as to what to do next, are few. Cimarron Ted then tells her he hears news that her brother, Bradley Willis a Calvary soldier in Indian Territory, is in trouble - again.
Having lost her job, Louisa thought she'd visit Bradley, but this will be a problem if he’s in trouble. But Louisa is determined to set him on the straight and narrow – and hopefully ask for a job.
On her way to Fort Reno, she makes her acquaintance with Mrs. Townsend. A missionary on her way to the Fort to be a governess. Unfortunately, the dust is playing havoc with the older lady's allergies and she asks Louisa to take the books she bought with her to the girls.
Whilst waiting for the next stagecoach, and able to sing in a wide-open field, the young woman happens upon a man standing on top of a horse only for him to fall. As she rushes to help him, she not only wonders who he is, but notices his handsome features.
The last thing Major Daniel Adams expects to see is a beautiful woman in the middle of a field, singing. But the trick he’s doing, in grudging deference to Private Willis, has been on his mind. If a Private can do this, whilst drunk, surely, he can? It’s a break from everything else. Running a Fort with half an army, ensuring tensions don’t escalate between the army, cowboys and the Indian’s. And then there are his two young girls. If this new governess doesn’t work out, he knows his mother -in-law will insist on raising them away from the ravages of the fort in Galveston.
With the exception of Lieutenant Jack Hennessey’s knowledge of the incident, when Louisa and Daniel finally meet, their recognition of who they are is a secret they have to maintain. Hoping the incident will become a distant memory for him, the Commander is somewhat surprised to discover that Louisa is to be the new governess. Not only is she a lot younger than he expected a governess to be, but she’s also quite beautiful.
Expecting to meet children, Louisa is surprised to find Caroline and Daisy a lot older and it causes concern for the young woman. Once thing Louisa prides herself on is being able to put on a show. But will these, vibrant, willful and intelligent girls see through her act?
Whilst the saloon singer’s intention is to set her brother on the right path, Louisa finds herself getting more involved with the Commanders family – something she wasn’t planning on.
Soon enough Louisa betrays her roots and slips up here and there, however, Daniel is fine to look the other way. There is something about his new governess that he likes, admires. Maybe she will work out as the new governess. Can Louisa convince her new employer that she has the makings of a governess? Or will her past come back to haunt her and ruin her life for good?
A heartwarming story of love, family and the wild west. Jennings' characters have a realistic quality to them, have depth and are well thought out. The secondary plot line of tensions between the Indians and Cowboys is a good break but works together with the main story in a climax that I didn't fully expect. Easy to read, engaging and well written. A recommended read.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House as part of their blogging program. The opinions expressed are my own and I am not required to give a positive critique.