by Christina Miller
Harlequin® Love Inspired® Historical
July 1, 2016
When Colonel Graham Talbot returned home after the Civil War, he discovered five young ladies awaiting his arrival. A shortage of men because of the war made him the most eligible bachelor in Natchez. But he didn’t want a wife, didn’t need a wife, in fact, President Andrew Jackson had stripped him of his citizenship and his land. He had nothing. A wife was the last thing he needed. Trapped in an awkward situation, his childhood friend and once a woman he wanted to marry, Elizabeth Anderson (Ellie for short) decided to help him out and gave the young ladies the impression that she and Graham were engaged to be married.
Graham felt her scheme was a lie, but Ellie was in the same predicament as Graham. She didn’t want a husband, didn’t need a husband, she only wanted her land and security. But men were coming home from the war to nothing, and she would be the perfect woman to seek out and court. But she’d have none of that. The relationship scheme she had fabricated for Graham could benefit her, too.
Graham was hesitant to go along with Ellie's charade, but what choice did he have? When his stepmother Noreen found out that her only son Stuart was killed and his wife Francine had succumbed to pneumonia, Noreen took their baby, Elizabeth (Betsy they called her), to care for. Since Graham's father had not returned from the war yet, Noreen and Betsy depended on him.
Ellie was convincing. And besides who else was going to help her fend off that weasel Leonard Fitzwald who claimed he had a lean on Magnolia for a thirty-thousand-dollar loan.
It is an adorable, Post-Civil War romance that showed in spite of adversity and the aftermath of war, love can find a way.