Tuesday, I interviewed Keli Gwyn about her debut release. If you missed out on that fun, you can read it here. Now that I've had the opportunity to read A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, I can't wait to tell you about it.
First, let me say, as an inspirational romance set in the old west, this book was WAY out of my normal reading. But, since I've followed Keli's journey to publication, including crying with her when she opened her first shipment of books (Did you miss that? You can see it here.) I felt so invested in this book, I did little dance in the kitchen the day I opened it.
Sorry, no video of that.
About the Book
An ever-resourceful widow, Elenora Watkins arrives in El Dorado ready to go into partnership with Miles Rutledge. When he refuses, Elenora becomes the competition across the street. Is this town big enough for the two of them?
Miles can’t help but stick his well-polished boot in his mouth whenever he comes face-to-face with Elenora. Can he find a way to win her heart while destroying her business?
Miles’s mother, Maude, is bent on Elenora becoming her new daughter-in-law while Elenora’s daughter, Tildy, thinks Miles would make a perfect papa. How far will these meddlers go to unite this enterprising pair?
Check out Keli's video of the real life inspiration for her story.
What did I think?
Let me just say, I smiled like a loon through most of this book. The characters are immediately real and loveable. There is one particular scene where the men in the barbershop are teasing Miles that made me realize people in that time were real. They had lives not so removed from ours. They weren't all gunfighters and staunch lawmen. They loved their families, flirted with their wives and the men, because they are men, still showed affection by dogging on each other.
Having been accused (or praised~ whichever way you want to take it) in my life of being a "stubborn, independent woman", I loved the character of Elenora. Her quick wit and resourcefulness instantly drew me to her. The banter between her and Miles adds a delightful flavor of humor and authenticity to the story.
This is an inspirational romance, but the message of faith is by no means heavy-handed. References to the Lord and prayer arise organically and do not pull the reader from the story as I have seen in other inspirational works.
There is also plenty of "romantic tension". Enough to keep you turning the page to find out "Will they?" or "Won't they?" for just a kiss!
So, my question to you is, what have you ever wondered about the old west? Can you imagine the people you know living there? If you were there, what would you be? A shop owner? Sheriff? Outlaw?
The names of those who leave a comment today will be combined with the names from Tuesday and entered in the drawing for an autographed copy of Keli's book.