I’ve been a fan of Johanna Lindsey for many years. However, the only stories that I enjoy from her are her earlier ones. Gentle Rogue is still one of my all favorite stories. I thought this was a fair read, but I’ve read such good stuff from this author, I didn’t quite feel this one measured up to her better story lines and story telling.
Tiffany Warren is sent to her father’s (Frank Warren) ranch to meet the man that she’s been pledged to marry. Tiffany didn’t make the pledge; her mother did. Hunter Callahan is the oldest son from the sworn enemy of the Warren’s and his mother pledged him to marry Tiffany. All of this is to stem the ongoing feud between the Callahan and the Warren families.
After leaving the safety and comfort of her home in New York, Tiffany decides that instead of going to stay with the father she doesn’t know, she’ll impersonate the housekeeper that the Callahans are stealing from the Warrens. It’s a convoluted yet simplistic case of mistaken identity. The thing is, this charade, even before it began, had a shelf-life. Part of Tiffany’s stay/visit in Montana where her father lives is to get to know her fiancé, Hunter. To see if they’re compatible. It was a concession that her mother made because of her own story with Tiffany’s father.
Stealing the Warrens’ housekeeper, Jennifer – this is who Tiffany impersonates, the Callahans have delivered a real blow to their enemy. Frank was really looking forward to having someone on hand to acclimate Tiffany to her new home. But Tiffany doesn’t see any of this. When it’s explained to her, she feels no sympathy for her father. During her formative years, Tiffany was always under the impression that Frank never visited her, never cared for her welfare. But I blame that on Rose and Parker. It had absolutely nothing to do with Frank and I was actually disappointed in Rose for keeping her daughter away from her father. It made zero sense.
The friendships that Tiffany/Jennifer begin to create while working as a housekeeper was the fun part. She had to learn to cook, because even though she’s the housekeeper, that’s a part of the job as the Callahans’ old cook left. Tiffany/Jennifer doesn’t know how to cook and her attempts were cute and too few.
During her time with the Callahans she does witness some of the rougher but realistic things that the small town in Montana has to offer. She’s dismayed by many of these things and uses them to reiterate that she’s made only for city living. She’s a tad bit spoiled but Rose and Frank like her that way.
The person that Hunter gets to know is ‘Jennifer’ the housekeeper. He finds himself making time to spend with her. Talk to her and eventually comes to care about her. The thing is Tiffany knows that she’s lying and creating a situation that’s not right and not at all fair to those around her. I didn’t like that about her – not one bit.
The climax happens about 75% into the story and once things start getting revealed the snowball effect happens, and things I probably didn’t care about are brought to light.
One of the things that I didn’t like about this story was that there wasn’t enough Tiffany and Hunter time. There are several big threads that seemed to take on a life of their own. 1) Rose and Frank – Tiffany’s parents who have their own drama. 2) Frank and Zachary’s parents – Elijah and Mary (that was very interesting in a War of the Roses kind of way). 3) Hunter’s parents – I’m still trying to figure out what the mother’s injury was.
Happy reading folks!
Click to purchase: Amazon
One Heart to Win
by Johanna Lindsey
Release Date: June 23, 2013
Publisher: Gallery Books