Caught in the Middle by Regina Jennings
Annie Oakley, move over to make room for Dead-Eye Anne. In this historical western, Anne grew up in the woods of Ohio without a mother, with a father who at best paid little attention to his daughter besides providing her a roof over her head. After a short abusive marriage, she’s shunned any suspicious attention from men, working in Indian Territory as a buffalo hunter and wearing the rough clothing of a man to disguise her figure. She has trusted no one but herself; she’s callous, tough, hard as nails, and vulnerable.
When the hunt group’s cook ran away, Anne was sent to Garber to bring her back or hire another cook. One of the train’s male passengers attempted a foolish rescue of one of the young ladies during a hold-up and got a gun aimed at his head for his efforts. When the leader ordered him killed, Anne had no choice but to rescue him using her considerable sharp-shooting skills. Nicholas Lovelace was in her debt.
In a series of wacky turn of events, the cook Anne sought ran off leaving her baby for Anne to take care of. No one could have been more ill-suited for that task than she. Anne knew the baby’s father and set out to track him down and make him take responsibility for the baby himself. But that was easier said than done.
Nicholas Lovelace lived in Garber, TX as transportation expert. He supplied the lumber to the local railroad magnate. Nick was not who Anne expected. Even though she knew of him in the past through her friendship with his sister, Molly, Anne had him pegged as a dandy and pencil pusher. But his heroism during the train robbery surprised her. And he kept surprising her the more she was around him. Once Tessa, the baby’s mom, disappeared, Nick helped Anne find a suitable place to stay in Garber and provided her with employment to pay for her lodging.
I have to admit that this is one of the most unusual westerns I have ever read. The author keeps the reader guessing just how this story could possibly end, especially when Anne becomes attached to little Sammy. Nick and Anne make an odd couple, even when they are working together to take care of the baby. In the end, however, the author makes it all work out. The two adults are like iron against iron, and they grow as individuals, even in their relationship to God. I enjoyed reading this story. If you like non-stop action, western historical fiction and light romance, then you’ll enjoy this book.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from The Book Club Network on behalf of Bethany House Publishers. 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.”