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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Book Review: Letter Perfect by Cathy Marie Hake

This is wonderful Christian fiction with grounded faith, sweet romance and a bit of mystery.
    Letter Perfect (California Historical Series #1)
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (August 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764201654
  • ASIN: B001C2FW3U 
Genre: Chrisitian Historical Romance
My Rating: 4.5 of 5.0
Product Description:
If her own two feet don't end up tripping her, Ruth Caldwell's mouth is likely to get her into equal trouble. But Ruth has the best of intentions. Truly. It's just that her attempts to live up to her mother's expectations of how a lady should act have often yielded...well, less than impressive results.

Josh McCain is speechless when he sees Ruth step off the stage in Folsom, California. Sure, it looks like she's been sleeping in her gown for the past week, but with a crown of riotous curls and those deep green eyes, she's certainly the most beautiful woman he's ever met.

But Josh soon finds the sparks that fly upon Ruth's arrival aren't the romantic type. With her legitimate claims to an inheritance, the Broken P Ranch's future is suddenly precarious. And when Ruth's "accidents"--going beyond even her normal bumbling ways--seem to take a sinister turn, Josh must decide where his loyalties lie.
Review:  This is delightful and the ladies from my book club enjoyed it too.

Ruth Caldwell is a brave, bright young lady but her independent ways keep her from fitting into the mold of the respectable ladies’ schools. She is distressed that she is sent home once again to disappoint her mother.  Ruth’s mother gives deathbed instructions for Ruth to go west to Broken P Ranch to be with her father. Ruth finds this difficult as she has never met her father who sent her mother away before he even learned that she was pregnant. When Ruth arrives in California she learns that her father is dead.

Josh McCain is a quiet and intense man. Ruth’s father had a drinking problem and did not get control of himself until he got help from Josh and Josh’s father, Mr. McCain.  The McCains made an arrangement with Mr. Caldwell to help with the failing ranch. They would get half of the ranch now and the other half under his Will since he didn’t know he had any heirs.

If Ruth can prove that she is Mr. Caldwell’s daughter then she will inherit fifty percent of the ranch. Although Josh is unhappy about the circumstances and Ruth’s possible claim, he agrees that Ruth can stay at the ranch until the circuit Judge can hear the case. Josh’s sister Laney has been needing a female companion and is thrilled to have Ruth.

The lovely, kind Laney is frilly and ladylike next to Ruth’s clumsy, cheerful and practical personality. They become fast friends. Ruth wants to do chores but Josh thinks she is too clumsy and Mr. McCain insists she should be more of a lady like his daughter. When Ruth wants to set up a library in town she meets with more opposition but she is determined.

Soon the accidents that are happening begin to look more deliberate than accidental. Who could be trying to injure Ruth? Is it one of the ranch hands who seems to be following her? Or could it be someone in the family who is upset with her inheritance claim?

I really enjoyed Ruth’s independence but mostly I loved her steadfast faith. There is another neighbor family whose elder son takes a shine to Ruth although Laney has been sweet on him for some time. Galen is a fine Christian and I enjoyed the faith and interactions of his family too.  The faith messages flow naturally in the story.

The story moves along well with the charming and likeable characters and the mysterious attacks. The villain’s misdoings are slowly exposed until the full extent of the evil and twisted mind are revealed at the end. This was a very lovely read and I am definitely interested in the sequel and more stories by this author.

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