If you don’t already know, Regina Jennings is one of my favorite authors. It all started with A Most Inconvenient Marriage. I can usually count on a good story when I open up one of her books. She’s witty, charming and comes up with unusual settings and situations for her characters – bringing everything together into the perfect formula for a good read. And with her most recent release, Holding the Fort, Jennings has done it again.
Louisa Bell never wanted to be a dance-hall singer, but dire circumstances force her hand. With a little help from her brother in the cavalry, she’s able to make ends meet, but lately he’s run afoul of his commanding officer, so she undertakes a visit to straighten him out.
Major Daniel Adams has his hands full at Fort Reno. He can barely control his rowdy troops, much less his two adolescent daughters. If Daniel doesn’t find someone respectable to guide his children, his mother-in-law insists she’ll take them.
When Louisa arrives with some reading materials, she’s mistaken for the governess who never appeared. Major Adams is skeptical. She bears little resemblance to his idea of a governess–they’re not supposed to be so blamed pretty–but he’s left without recourse. His mother-in-law must be satisfied, which leaves him turning a blind eye to his unconventional governess’s methods. Louisa’s never faced so important a performance. Can she keep her act together long enough?
Think of this one a bit like a mystery novel – at least on Daniel’s end of things. One too many things about her don’t add up, but since Louisa would make a terrible spy, he’s left with several clues to figure out what on earth is up with his most-definitely-not-a-Mennonite governess. Still, he likes her too much to send for a replacement.
As for Louisa, regardless of her unpreparedness for the position thrust upon her, she’s not about to simply give herself away – her employer isn’t exactly on good terms with her only relative, and she means to rectify that.
I found myself slamming the book shut on several occasions, not because I didn’t like it, but because I was downright embarrassed on behalf of the characters. I love it when books can do that to you. If you’re not invested into the character’s actions, then it’s not a good story.
So I hope you enjoy the brightly-colored Louisa, her rowdy cowboy admirers, and the poor major who has no idea what he’s just gotten himself into. This performance is one for your bookshelves.
I received a free copy from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own.