Moon in the Water
The year is 1867, and young Ann Rossiter is pregnant, unwed, and in trouble. Her stepfather, James, arranges a marriage of convenience between her and one of his riverboat pilots, Chase Hardesty. In exchange for wedding a woman clearly pregnant with someone else’s babe, Chase will obtain ownership of one of James Rossiter’s best steamships. Though Ann and Chase face many dangers on the Missouri together, growing closer as they travel the river, and falling in love along the way, they both harbour secrets that neither can fully discuss truthfully until the very end of the book. At that point, all is happily resolved, and rather conveniently too, just like their arranged marriage. Grayson has clearly done a lot of research into steamboats and the perils faced on river journeys, and this research is subtly conveyed throughout, making for easy reading. I also found both Ann and Chase to be sympathetic and likeable characters. Ultimately, though, there were too many contrived situations and obstacles to their relationship; for this reader, it was an average rather than an exceptional read.