The train to Garber, Texas, is supposed to bring Nicholas Lovelace to the next victory in his life and career. Instead, it gets held up by robbers who are thwarted by the last person Nick ever expected–Anne Tillerton from back home in Prairie Lea.
Anne’s been working as a buffalo hunter and hiding from polite society. She’s only coming to town to talk their runaway cook into returning. Instead, the woman flees–and leaves Anne with her infant son. With Nick the only person she knows in town who can help, the two form an unlikely team as they try to figure out what to do with the child.
Both soon find themselves stuck in complicated situations. To care for the child, Anne’s forced into polite society–and it’s not going well. Meanwhile, Nick is being pressured on all sides of his business, and being seen with Anne isn’t helping his reputation. Still he can’t quite seem to forget her and must make a choice between the leading of his heart and his plans for the future.
My source for book: Review CopyMy Thoughts:
The story of an orphaned child bringing two people together has of course been done before, but nevertheless "Caught in the Middle" is still a nice take on the scenario, and Anne's manly profession of being a buffalo hunter definitely puts a different twist on things. Though her rough exterior occasionally made it a bit hard for me to identify with her, I did enjoy seeing the small events that worked to slowly crumble her defenses, bringing her to a point where I was able to warm up to the more feminine side of her character.
As for Nick, I had to smile when Anne so aptly labeled him as a "dandy". It's a very fine description of him, but when the hard times came knocking he ultimately proved that he was made of more than the label alone suggests. (If only we could all have the backbone that he showed, difficult as it was.) Nick's professional connections had him working with some unpleasant people, but I must admit that I was quite humored by the staircase situation outside his second story office building, and how he conveniently used it to avoid having to interact with certain people!
Though this book is technically third in a series, the story stands up well on its own, and reading the first two books certainly isn't required. I was able to follow along just fine, though I did occasionally get the feeling that certain characters were there just to make a short appearance to further the story from a previous book. In any case, it wasn't really even distracting, it was just something that I noticed.
Overall, this is a decent historical novel with the added benefit of some surprising twists that caught me off guard several times. The characters often don't have it easy, but it's encouraging to watch them grow as they face their trials and come out on the other side better for the experience. Though I'm somewhat doubtful that the storyline will stick with me very long, I did enjoy it while reading it.
My Rating: 3.5 stars
Thanks to the publisher (Bethany House) for providing me with a review copy via NetGalley.