The Frasers: Clay

Written by Ana Leigh
Review by B. J. Sedlock

1865, Independence, Missouri: Rebecca Elliott is furious that the wagon master refuses to let an unattached woman join the wagon train. She will be too much of a temptation to the men, he says. Having spent all her money on supplies, Rebecca is determined to go. She tricks Clay Fraser, a fellow emigrant, into marrying her.

This set-up creates many opportunities for sparks to fly. Yet they must cooperate to endure the hardships of the trail. True to the romance form, Clay and Rebecca begin to discover feelings for each other. Will they hold out for the agreed-upon annulment at trail’s end, or consummate what they thought was a sham marriage?

Leigh includes several facts which I thought might be untrue to the period (Bustles in 1865? Pies in trail cuisine?), but research proved they were possible. Clay and Rebecca are interesting characters, but the secondary ones less so. Leigh makes doubly sure the reader doesn’t mistake the villain—besides endowing him with shifty eyes, he also runs a shell game. And there were a few plot points that seemed awfully politically correct for 1865. Still, historical romance fans will enjoy this first in Leigh’s new series about the Fraser brothers.