The Accidental Wife
In 2012, Jessica Brewster has inherited her beloved grandmother’s belongings. As she rummages through the items, she finds a delicate teacup with a strange word on the bottom: Mitawin. Jessica, a life-long single woman due to an unfortunate experience in college, also volunteers at historic Fort Laramie in her Wyoming town. She dresses in her period costume, takes the teacup, and joins the ladies for their tea party in a vintage house at the fort. Waiting for tourists to arrive, she runs her finger around the rim of the cup and feels suddenly peculiar. She shakes it off and greets the other women, but something isn’t right. She quickly discovers she’s been propelled back to 1886 into the life of her look-alike great-great-grandmother, Jessamine. Now she has a nine-year-old daughter, and is married to Jessamine’s first husband, a handsome half-Lakota Indian. Jess must struggle to survive as a frontier wife and learn to be a mother, while resisting the advances of her unexpected husband. He calls her Mitawin, meaning “wife.”
Frontier life and homes are well described, as is the Wyoming scenery. Jessica almost immediately realizes she’s gone back in time, which seemed contrived. She’s not very anxious to find her way back to her own era and doesn’t worry about what happened to Jessamine until near the end of the novel. Other than those quibbles, the story is well-told, if leisurely. Fosdick is a talented writer.