The Lieutenant’s Bargain (The Fort Reno Series)

Written by Regina Jennings
Review by Ray Thompson

December 1885. Hattie Walker is the lone survivor when outlaws attack her stagecoach. Unaware that the Arapaho who rescue her are friendly, she is relieved when a cavalry officer arrives to escort her to safety; but her plans to resume her journey to Denver, where she hopes to launch her career as an artist, are frustrated when she learns that, as witness to murder, she must remain. Worse still, the ceremony conducted when she is handed over to her rescuer was, in fact, a wedding ceremony. She is now married to Jack Hennessey, and even though it resulted from a misunderstanding, it is legally binding!

The novel explores interesting subjects: language and cultural barriers, mistrust of what we don’t understand, women’s aspirations for more than just marriage, PTSD, Indian residential schools. Since this is an inspirational romance, the schools, like the characters, are idealized, coincidences are convenient, and the humorous potential is neglected in favor of reminders to trust God’s plan. Still, the plot is lively, the irony entertaining, and the development of Hattie and Jack’s relationship heart-warming. They knew each other in school, but he has changed, and much for the better. Hope for young bookworms? Recommended.