Regina Jennings writes wonderful historical romance. I truly enjoy her books and this one is just as wonderful as her others.
Miranda Wimplegate's family owns an auction house in Boston that deals in art and antiques. When they accidentally sell the wrong painting, Miranda and her grandfather, Elmer, go to Missouri to try to get it back and save the family auction house. The first person they meet as they get off the train is Isaac Ballentine. As he loads their luggage onto his wagon, his brother, Wyatt, comes out of the woods and flattens him, then takes off in the wagon, leaving Miranda and Elmer to walk to town. And thus begins the adventure of trying to recover the painting.
Regina has taken on the illness of Alzheimer's before such a diagnosis was available. Elmer's confusion and hijinks allow some humor to be injected into a rather sad situation. Watching someone's mind dim while the rest of his life is still vibrant is one of the saddest things we as humans will ever encounter.
In trying to recoup the painting, Elmer buys the local sale barn thinking that the auction house in Missouri will be quite like the one in Boston, except that it isn't. The Missouri sale barn is a livestock auction house and Wyatt Ballentine is the auctioneer, and Wyatt has first impressions to overcome with Miranda after taking the wagon away from his brother in the beginning of the book.
Miranda wants to tell Wyatt what she's looking for, but secrecy is the first order of the day, especially when someone from Boston shows up looking for the painting too.
It was not until the end of the book that I realized that Regina had used the romance "formula" in her story, but it happens to work well with this one. Part of the separation between Miranda and Wyatt happens because Miranda has to go back to Boston with her grandfather.
My favorite character in the book is Betsy. She's a minor player but she's such a busy-body for a pre-teen that she's hysterical. She has a way of finding out everything about everybody that there are no secrets in town. The rest of the characters are richer because of her interference. The community is one of those where someone is mad at someone else for something or other most of the time and the trick is to keep the feuding parties apart. Wyatt seems to be the only one everyone gets along with. I've lived near small communities that resemble this one. It is easy to imagine the mountainous setting with the woods and trails.
This books is Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and an heirloom painting.
My thanks to Bethany House for allowing me to read and review this book.