Love’s Rescue (Keys of Promise #1)

Written by Christine Johnson
Review by Fiona Alison

In 1850, deeply mourning her mother, Elizabeth returns home to run her father’s household. She oversees the house slaves whilst fending off an overbearing aunt, an intransigent father and a resentful brother. She yearns for Rourke O’Malley, but her father claims the master of a wrecker sloop will never be a candidate for marriage. He presents alternative suitors to her, all of whom Elizabeth shuns, but Rourke believes his recent salvage will finally be the windfall he needs to ask for Elizabeth’s hand.

In a happily-ever-after romance, the crucial question becomes how skillfully the author weaves her story, such that we can ignore minor contrivance and happy coincidence. I wasn’t particularly convinced by the prologue (braving hurricane-force-winds wearing six petticoats and a bustle sounded unlikely), but this is a romance and people do strange things for love. Johnson’s writing is beautifully evocative of Key West’s land and seascapes and the salty sea mist and oleander blossoms felt tantalizingly close. A fast, entertaining read, chock-a-block with absorbing twists and turns and conspiracies. Plus an ocean backdrop! What’s not to like? A true romantic’s romance!