Jan 16 2007
Dear Mr and Mrs. Houston,
Now we’re back in business. After my disappointment in the contemporary book of yours I tried, I figured I’d better go back to a historical. And since I’ve been in the mood for westerns lately, this seemed a good choice.
Twenty seven year old Isabel Delaney listens in amazement as her dying older brother asks his best friend to marry her. Why, she doesn’t even know Myles Donovan nor he her. Myles is just as astounded but once he listens to Jim’s fears that Isabel will be taken advantage of by the slick preacher who’s cosying up to her and thinks about how a wife will help in his campaign for the Governor’s office in Texas, he decides why not.
Isabel takes a little longer to come around but in 1907 Texas, there’s not much for a woman to do except get married. Warily they agree to a marriage in name only until they feel more comfortable around each other. Isabel quickly discovers she enjoys being a mother to Myles’ daughter from his first marriage and that Myles is a man willing to listen to her sometimes outspoken views on politics and women’s rights. She’s still trying to figure out his family, especially his cousin who works for the local paper. There’s some bad history behind their animosity towards each other which ends up costing Isabel far more than she ever bargained for. Political scandals are nothing new and the one which explodes around Myles and Isabel threatens not only his career but their slowly budding romance. Can Isabel risk believing the word of a man who admits to having an affair and can Myles persuade her that that is all in his past?
I like the slightly old fashioned feel of Isabel and Myles’ initial relationship. Even after their marriage ceremony, he is still Mr. Donovan for a while. And though Isabel quickly takes to marital relations, she’s no instant expert who immediately figures out oral sex. I had to sadly shake my head at the way Myles’ powerful political backers were very quick to dismiss what he’d done and center their attention on whether or not Isabel would stand by her man. Some things just never change, do they? I also found it amusing how a fainting woman and “female problems” could so easily fluster the menfolk in the town. At times Myles seemed slightly overbearing to this 21s century women but he probably would have been seen as a progressive in those days. And the story also makes one think about what part private and past doings should take part in the current political career of an otherwise capable person for the office.
My main niggle would be how easily Myles overcomes the past scandal in his life to win his campaign. Would this have happened in conservative 1907? And how easily his main naysayer ends up leaving the field of battle. B- for “Wish on the Moon.”