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Book Review: A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California

Title: A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California
Author: Keli Gwyn
Publisher: Barbour Books
Date: July 2012
ISBN: 978-1616265830
Genre: Historical Romance
Reviewed by: Holly Weiss

Delightful Old West Romance

Widow Elenora Watkins relocates with her daughter, Tildy, to California’s Sierra foothills to be an associate in a mercantile. When he finds out she is a woman, prospective partner Miles Rutledge refuses to take her on. Her solution? Invest her life savings in her own competing store right across the street. She has spunk enough to know her woman’s touch will turn her fledgling shop into a thriving business. Will woman-sized garden tools, scented soaps, and pretty fabrics keep her shop on its feet?

Keli Gwyn’s novel is a delightful battle not just of competing trades, but also of tussling wills and glints of romance. Miles and Elenora perform side by side in Bach’s Double Violin Concerto-one of many ways we see their kinship and rivalry. Gwyn’s writing grabs you by the collar. Scenes are liberally sprinkled with spiffy dialogue. The book is packed with lively, intricate characters that come to life within the first three pages of the story. Elenora is self-assured, resourceful, and untraditional. “Being discounted simply because she was a woman was bad enough, but being talked about as if she weren’t there fluffed her feathers.” Her spicy and precocious daughter, Tildy, adds the right dose of levity to the story.

This Christian historical romance is highly recommended as a charming view of the old west and an amusing romp through the battle of the sexes. Don’t miss it. You will delight in the time you spend with Miles and Elenora.

Reviewed by Holly Weiss, author of Crestmont

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