Lorna Loves a Lawyer by Linda K. Hubalek
Book 9 in the Brides with Grit series
ARC, eBook, 154 pages
Butterfield Books, Inc
July 28, 2016
Genre: Historical Romance, Western
A sweet historical romance set in 1873. Lorna Jantz left Boston looking for adventure, signing up as a mail-order bride for a rich Kansas rancher. But, the groom only becomes rich after taking off with her money, after their twenty-four hour marriage. Which left Lorna in a pickle, stuck in a little town with no money, no home and a growing belly.This novel starts you off right in the middle of a scene – Lyle is getting read the riot act from Lorna, a woman he has never met before, but she sure seems to know him. For the first few pages I was a little confused as to what was going on, but as I moved through the first chapter it became more clear and made me identify with Lyle to some extent, because he had no idea what was happening either. Not sure if this was the intention of the author, but it worked for me all the same. Lorna is stuck in an awful situation, but she doesn’t play to the damsel-in-distress. She is set on relying on herself to find a way out, even though that seems like a huge mountain to climb. I liked her from the start. Sure she may have fallen for a good con, but she doesn’t just wallow in it, she picks up and moves forward the best she can. Lyle I found to be an imperfect hero. He is trying to prove himself to be something more than his past, which can be a difficult thing for others to get beyond.
Lyle Elison was one of Boston’s worst, a spoiled, rich merchant’s son, until enforced time on the family’s Kansas ranch made him see his purpose in life. After training in Boston, he’s back in Clear Creek, Kansas, as the town’s new lawyer.
Backgrounds make Lorna and Lyle connect, but time spent together makes them good friends, willing to help each other face their respective problems. Lorna needs help tracking down the louse who stole her money and left her in a family way. Lyle needs to be married by his birthday to receive his inheritance from his grandfather’s Will.
In between their capers, each falls in love with the other, secretly wishing they could confess their love and be together forever. But first, they have to find Lorna’s wayward husband before Lyle’s birthday.
One of the tropes I sometimes hate in romance novels is the characters who won’t get out of their own way to figure out a relationship or to make one work. I’m on the fence with it here. Both of the main characters are in a tough position to begin with based purely on their situations, but do they have to make it harder on themselves too? Each keeps trying to do what they think is best for the other person, but that makes it harder on themselves. I don’t know, it worked here for the most part. The majority of the story was spent on Lorna and Lyle’s relationship as friends and neighbors, the problems for both parties basically served as bookends. I think I would have liked to have just a little bit more of the problem solving; it all came together just a little bit too easily at the end.
For a shorter novel, this story actually has a lot going for it. You get enough backstory about the main characters (and even some of the periphery too), there’s a problem to be solved, and some strong character development. Even though I jumped into this series at book 9, which could have been very daunting with some series, this book can certainly stand alone. You get the sense of other couples’ stories here and there, which does the job of making me want to read more about them, but never where I felt I didn’t know what was going on in the main story.
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Also by Linda K. Hubalek:
The other books is the Brides with Grit series include:
Raina Ropes a Rancher (Book 1)
Millie Marries a Marshal (Book 2)
Hilda Hogties a Horseman (Book 3)
Cora Captures a Cowboy (Book 4)
Sarah Snares a Soldier (Book 5)
Cate Corrals a Cattleman (Book 6)
Darcie Desires a Drover (Book 7)
Tina Tracks a Trailboss (Book 8)
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