Love’s Sweet Beginning
1868 Missouri: Cassie Haddon grew up being waited on by servants, but since the war ended that way of life, she has no training for any kind of job. Yet in spite of her mother’s insistence that she remain a “lady,” Cassie is determined to work. She talks her way into a kitchen job at a restaurant run by Jacob West, only to be fired the first day. But Cassie discovers a talent for pie-baking, and persuades Jacob to hire two former slaves as extra help. While attraction grows between the couple, Jacob worries that Cassie will reject him if she finds out about his shady past. And his business partners back East are about to put the squeeze on him.
This inspirational romance has good characterization: I liked how Cassie was undiscouraged by failure and is willing to try again. The plot touches on post-Civil War societal changes, such as the difficulties ex-slaves encounter despite being free. Shorey’s books usually stand above others in the genre, but this one has a slightly disappointing denouement. Problems are resolved too easily, such as an extremely tame villain. It’s still enjoyable despite that quibble, and I recommend it to inspirational fiction fans.