The Preacher’s Wife by Brandi Boddie
Rowe Winford, the town’s newest minister, was not from Kansas; people were certain of that as they eyed his crisp, clean and pressed tailored outfit when he strode by on his way to the church. It wasn’t a surprise then when they wondered how he would deal with the rough and tumble life of the post Civil War West. He wondered that himself. This was his first post as the head of a church. Previously, he had only been an associate pastor, little more than an accountant-secretary- errand boy. He pondered how he would win the folks over when his perusal was stilled by the town’s saloon and dance hall.
Marissa Pierce hastened uncomfortably down the sidewalk on her way to the bank. Why had Jason sent her there now while she was dressed in the bawdy and colorful costume of a dance revue girl, with its low neckline and indecently high hemline? Lately, Jason, the unscrupulous owner of the saloon, seems to have purposely set out to humiliate her at every opportunity, hinting that with her reputation as a saloon and dance girl and with her dark complexion and hair inherited from her Native American ancestry, she would never be able to live the normal respectable life she longed for. She was aware that he was afraid to lose her because her attractive appearance made her a popular dance partner. And he knew her contract with him, drawn up when she was just a young teenager, was nearly up. She desperately wanted to live her life away from Jason and his shady, dishonest business. But on the rare occasion she was allowed away from the saloon, she was obviously scorned and shunned for being “one of those girls,” referring to the nightly activities of most of the other women who lived at the saloon. She was trapped.
Looking up suddenly from the press of townsfolk around him, with their giggling hopeful daughters, young Rowe caught the teary, sad eyes of a passing woman in an outlandish costume. He was surprised at the contrast between her appearance and her distressed countenance. Later, he couldn’t shake off the hopelessness in her eyes. He wondered if she needed help. Did God want him to help her? Is that why he couldn’t stop thinking about her?
The pace of the story quickly picks up as the minister makes attempts to help Marissa at the risk of his reputation. I was immediately immersed in the story and the time flew by as I was reading. The author has developed such a realistic dilemma that I couldn’t help but become wrapped up in Marissa’s struggles for freedom; her emotional entrapment was just as real as her physical state. As I became more acquainted with the hero and heroine, it became clear that pride also held Marissa captive in its grip. She had been keeping a secret that could prevent her from ever experiencing happiness if she was not willing to deal with it. But God had a loving plan for her and it seemed to include an unlikely relationship with Rowe Winford.
The author’s debut novel has made a solid entrance into the historical fiction and romance genre. I am eagerly anticipating reading more of Brandi Boddie’s books in the future. This is Book One of the Brides of Assurance series. At the end of this book we get a sneak peek at the first chapter of Book Two.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the Booketeria, a service of Charisma House Book Group and Realms Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”