Review by Iola Goulton
Heart on the Line is the second novel (and third book) in Karen Witemeyer’s Ladies of Harper’s Station series. It is a standalone story, but you’ll probably understand the women’s colony and their attitude to men better if you at least read No Other Will Do first (and perhaps Worth the Wait as well).
Like No Other Will Do, Heart on the Line is a departure from Karen Witemeyer’s witty historical romances, in that it’s more of a witty romantic suspense.
It starts with a Prologue, which I found rather confusing—we were introduced to a lot of off-stage characters in short order, perhaps too many. The point was introducing the central conflict of the novel: that Herschel Mallory has discovered Chaucer Haversham isn’t the rightful heir of his father’s fortune, a discovery Mallory pays for with his life, leaving his daughter an orphan on the run.
Chapter One opens a year later.
Grace Mallory is hiding in the women’s colony of Harper’s Station, and working as the local telegraph operator. After hours, she chats online (on the telegraph line, not our ourline!) with Mr A., the telegraph operator in a neighbouring town. All is well, until she receives a late-night coded message that might mean her hiding place has been found.
When Amos Bledsoe hears Miss G might be in danger, he travels to Harper’s Station to protect her—and to see if the chemistry between them sparks in real life the way it does over the lines. Of course, there is the obvious issue of a man turning up in a women’s colony after they’ve all been warned to expect bad men … but that’s sorted out in a most original manner.
It’s an excellent novel. Grace and Amos are both great characters, and their shared occupation made for some great moments. The writing was excellent, a perfect mix of humour, romance and suspense, with just the right injection of the Christian faith. There was also a subplot with the man-shy Helen, and I loved that as much as the main Grace/Amos romance plot.
And there was plenty of suspense. The identity of the evildoer was kind of obvious to the reader, but was equally obvious to Grace (yay for intelligent heroines!). That added to the fun—how would she keep him from knowing she was onto him? And who would find the missing documents first!
Recommended for all romantic suspense fans.
Thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Karen Witemeyer at her website.
About Iola Goulton
I am a freelance editor specialising in Christian fiction. Visit my website at www.christianediting.co.nzto download a comprehensive list of publishers of Christian fiction.
I also write contemporary Christian romance with a Kiwi twist—find out more at www.iolagoulton.com.
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