Tuesday, October 2, 2012

In Need of a Good Wife-Kelly McNees

In Need of a Good Wife

Kelly McNees

Berkley, Oct 2 2012, $15.00

ISBN: 9780425257920

In 1866 in Manhattan City, Clara Bixby loses her job at Rathbone’s Tavern. This is the latest setback, having lost her baby followed by her husband George deserting her. She reads about a town in need of marriageable women. Seeing an opportunity, Clara writes to Destination, Nebraska Mayor Cartwright asking if anyone is interested in a wife.

Widow Rowena Moore still grieves for Richard who died in the Civil War. With her father in an asylum, Rowena worries about paying the bills, as she sells items like her wedding ring. She knows this is a far cry from her upper class social status. Fortyish Elsa has worked at the Channing Mansion laundry for three decades. When she reads an ad for Christian wives, she decides to take a chance on a change. Clara hosts a meeting with twenty two applicants for eight men. She pairs snobbish Rowena with widower businessman Daniel Gibson, but fails to mention he is the butcher and has five young children. Leopold Shreier wants a cook not a wife. Elsa is interested as both are older Bavarians. One woman backs out in Manhattan City. In Detroit, two more women leave. Another dies on the train. Four of Bixby’s Belles reach Destination. The men whose women fail to arrive accuse Clara of fraud. Cartwright likes her, but can’t help her as she faces a trial.

This is a super western romance with the three female protagonists possessing different personalities while the time and places come alive with nuances like the letter exchange. Although George’s actions seem illogical, fans will enjoy this engaging Cornhusker romance.

Harriet Klausner

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