Bertha Biddle loves Thaddeus Bloom, but doesn’t know how to capture him. When gorgeous and mysterious Annie Monroe steps off the train in Jefferson, Texas, in 1877, the men have eyes only for Annie. That’s when Bertha knows how to solve her problem. She’ll get Annie to teach her how to woo a man.
Thaddeus, too, faces a dilemma, but he’s already in love. He doesn’t believe it’s fair to ask Bertha to wait until he finishes college. It’s not that he wants to continue his education, but how can he disappoint his father, who has sacrificed and dreamed of his oldest son being the first to earn a college degree?
Although based on an unsolved murder, this isn’t a historical mystery. Rather it’s the story of people who lived in and around an east Texas town where steamboats bring strangers both good and bad. Gruver expertly captures what it’s like to live in Texas, yet the joys and sorrows, trials and troubles her characters face are ones with which readers everywhere will identify. Faith plays an important part in the story, but Gruver weaves it into the events that unfold so it never seems to intrude.