A Love Inspired Historical 2012
Hook: Obsession was the way in which madness lay.
Gracelyn Riley can’t stop scanning the train platform for Special Agent Striker. Though her parents considered traveling alone unsafe even in 1918’s modern days, the threat of influenza loomed larger than their worries and encouraged them to send their daughter west. Once she learned Striker lived in Oregon, her plans changed. She’d wrangled a job with Women’s Liberator as a reporter and plans to do an interview with Striker to establish her independence.
A rancher sits down beside her. She plagues him with questions, mentioning Striker. He wonders if she always speaks to strangers. They argue about Striker, whether he’s the good man that Gracie believes. His name’s Trevor Cruz. She asks him about the wicked scar he has. It’s rumored that Striker has one. He says he got it on barbed wire when a kid. He lives in Burns where she’s going.
He admits he doesn’t believe in God. She’s shocked.
Trevor is business partners with Lou Riley, her uncle. He doesn’t want anything to do with Gracie but Lou insisted he follow her for safety concerns. A man had raised his suspicions but got off at an earlier stop.
Her mother doesn’t like Uncle Lou and her father has nothing good to say about him. She thinks he’s poor because he picked her up in a horse wagon instead of a car. She’s madly in love with Striker. Her friend, Connie, was rescued by Striker . The Mann Act of 1912 which was set up to protect young women from white slavery is being enforced by agents like Striker. Mary, Lou’s housekeeper, was rescued by Striker. Trevor is trying to keep her safe. Lou is his senior partner/agent.
None of the others put much stock in prayer either. Gracie discovers Trevor does believe in God, he just hates him. His father beat him unconscious, and his mother prostituted herself for drugs.
Gracie sneaks into town for word on Striker, but gets no help there. The town people protect Striker, they tell her. Meanwhile, Striker’s nemesis, Mendez is spotted nearby. Mendez is the one who kidnapped Mary and various other women and sold them to the highest bidder in Mexico.
Trevor’s father dies the same that he lived: mean as a snake. Gracie tells Trevor that God’s love is life to her. He goes to church with her and Mary. He is finding it hard to keep an eye on things and his Striker persona hidden. He felt a sense of community in the church.
Connie dies in Boston of the influenza. Trevor wonders if her death will change Gracie’s view of God. His mother arrives. Gracie mistakes her for an ex. Gracie doesn’t like or trust her. His mother arranged for Mary’s kidnapping. Trevor warns Gracie away from her.
After an altercation, Uncle Lou throws the mother out. He says she can stay with Trevor but is to stay away from Mary and Gracie. She spits on Gracie when Gracie tries to help her. When Trevor is thrown from his horse, Uncle Lou finds out he kissed Gracie. She admits she has feelings for him. Influenza has come to Oregon. The Great War is over. Lou warns Trevor away. He says her parents will be there tomorrow.
This is a nice, little read if you like inspirational. The story is straightforward and interesting. It deals with a time when women were just gaining the right to vote, work outside the home, and pursue their own choices. It was fun reading about a history that I didn’t know much about, how deadly the influenza was back then (super flu, anyone?), and characters that kept you rooting for them. I won this book from a website contest. The next book I’m about to read is also from another contest win. I find it lovely of the author/s to do these sorts of promotions, not only to help get the word out about their book/s, but to open up the opportunity to get to know a new writer.