by Karen Witemeyer
Historical Romance/ Inspirational
Release Date: October 2010
Adelaide Proctor longs to find a real-life storybook hero to claim as her own. But when a husband-hunting debacle leaves her humiliated, she interviews for a governess position on a remote Texas sheep ranch and vows to leave her silly romantic yearnings behind.
Gideon Westcott left his privileged life in England to make a name for himself in America’s wool industry, never expecting to end up with a child. To his dismay, five-year-old Isabella hasn’t uttered a word since she lost her mother. The unconventionality of the new governess concerns Gideon—and intrigues him at the same time. But he can’t afford distractions.
When Isabella’s uncle comes to claim the girl—and her inheritance—Gideon and Adelaide must work together to protect Isabella from the man’s evil schemes. Soon neither can deny their growing attraction. But after so many heartbreaks, will Adelaide be willing to get her head out of the clouds and put her heart on the line?
Witemeyer’s second novel is much like her first, which I reviewed earlier this year: Headstrong heroine, a do-no-wrong hero, and a “bad guy” or two whose motives (and violent tendencies) are one-dimensional.
Taken as a whole, I enjoyed the novel enough to recommend it as a rainy-day read borrowed from the library. It wasn’t bad, but like Witemeyer’s first novel, there were a few things that irked me… for that matter, some of the things have been bothering me within the genre as a whole, as well.
For starters, I’m sick and tired of the rape motif in Christian fiction. Yes, women were and are vulnerable, but does that honestly mean that every ill-intentioned man wants to sexually violate women? Isn’t there anything else that writers can choose as a man’s vice in order to portray him as a ‘bad guy’. Not every BAD man in the world wants to rape women, but it seems that in historical fiction these days, if you’re evil, you’re also a rapist.
Look, even criminals have moral boundaries (not all, I know, but most). And life isn’t so black and white that all ‘bad guys’ want to sexually abuse women and all ‘good guys’ are 100% chaste and wouldn’t even be willing to indulge an impure thought. Seriously, CBA, is this how you want to portray male/female relationships to impressionable female minds?
The ‘good guy’ won’t always ride in to save the day, and the ‘bad guy’ doesn’t always want to violate you. So why is this showing up in nearly EVERY SINGLE CHRISTIAN HISTORICAL NOVEL I’ve read these days?!?! Yes, I know lately I’ve been singing the praises of the CBA market and the changes it’s been making, but no one is perfect and that includes publishers. Maybe this is part of the attempt to be ‘edgy’ and ‘realistic’, but it’s becoming an epidemic and I’m sick of reading it.
It’s insulting to men in general, and it’s demoralizing to women. I don’t want to see it anymore, and I’m stating right here, right now, that I will not finish any more Christian Historicals that include this as a way to characterize its male characters.
But back to the book. The heroine is mostly likable, and the hero is mostly perfect, and everyone lives happily ever after, albeit cut and bruised (and recovering from bullet wounds), etc., etc.
I have yet to figure out why there’s a focus on the heroine’s love of novel-reading in the back cover copy (and the image) when this aspect of her personality is barely touched on (I think she mentions a book by name once… you’d think it would be happening all the time, based on the description) so I found this piece of her character lacking and undeveloped.
Still, like I said… if you’re looking for a (mostly) feel-good, rainy-day read, it might be worth your time.
About the Author: Karen Witemeyer holds a master’s degree in psychology from Abilene Christian University and is a member of ACFW, RWA, and the Abilene Writers Guild. She has published fiction in Focus on the Family’s children’s magazine, and has written several articles for online publications and anthologies. A Tailor-Made Bride is her first novel. Karen lives in Abilene, Texas, with her husband and three children.Visit Karen’s Web site at www.karenwitemeyer.com