With few options of her own, nurse Abigail Stuart agrees to marry her patient, a gravely wounded soldier calling himself Jeremiah Calhoun. They arrange a quick ceremony before he dies, giving Abigail the rights to his Ozark farm and giving Jeremiah the peace of knowing someone will care for his ailing sister after he’s gone—a practical solution for both of them.
After the war, Abigail fulfills her side of the bargain—until the real Jeremiah Calhoun shows up, injured but definitely alive, and wastes no time in challenging Abigail’s story. Abigail is flummoxed. After months of claiming to be his widow, how can she explain that she’s never seen this Jeremiah Calhoun before? How can she convince him that she isn’t trying to steal his farm? And will she find a way to stay, even though this practical arrangement has turned into a most inconvenient marriage?
What an awkward situation Abigail lands herself in. While Abigail knows she did nothing wrong, how exactly do can she prove she married Jeremiah when he shows up on the farm very much alive? And if he truly is Jeremiah Calhoun, who did she marry? It’s enough to make a girl bury her head in shame and run the other way. But not Abigail Stuart. With nowhere else to go, and time and money already invested in Jeremiah’s farm, she is determined to stay exactly where she is.
Now that the war is over, Jeremiah’s first and foremost priority in life is to look after his family, and then marry his sweetheart, Laurel. With Abigail thrown into the mix, his plans for marriage to Laurel aren’t looking too promising, and a new suitor is further frustrating his attempts to make Laurel his wife. In the meantime, Abigail’s nursing skills and ample experience on a horse farm, along with her other qualities, quickly become valuable assets on his farm, causing him to look at her more than once, and making him as confused as ever.
Threats of bushwhackers and continuing division between the townspeople because of the war add tension to the backdrop of this post-Civil War novel. With a little romance thrown in, this novel came out a winner that I happily recommend.
Book has been provided courtesy of Bethany House and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from BakerBooks, a division of Baker Publishing Group.