Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Eliza by Joyce Proell

Posing as a widow, Eliza Danton flees an abusive marriage determined to live a solitary life on the Minnesota frontier. When she finds herself homeless, her livelihood threatened and her safety compromised, she must rely on a man who stirs a forbidden longing and jars her well-laid plans. As her world shrinks with lies and deception, the only way out is the truth, but the truth may strike a deadly price.

Haunted by a tragic past Will Heaton vows never to love again. But a chance encounter with a mysterious widow awakens painful memories and a yearning he can’t ignore. When she’s harassed by the same man he believes killed his wife, he grabs at a chance to resolve past mistakes and possibly find love and redemption in the process.

As Eliza and Will struggle to trust again, the past returns with a renewed vengeance, testing them in unimaginable ways.

Eliza is a well-paced and easy to read. A typical romance novel where you sort of know that the two main characters will eventually be together; but their journey will not be an easy one. And in the end it is a story about two people who have lost everything and are trying to rebuild their lives and trust others again. 

Eliza starts out with the protagonist (Eliza) pretending to be a recent widow travelling west to start a new life. She is helping a minister and his wife with their children during the journey and it is when their little boy almost falls off the paddle boat that Will comes to the rescue (the first of many). They of course don’t like each other at first but are drawn to one another. 

What I loved about this book is that even though I could guess what was going to happen I really liked the main characters. I loved how their getting to know each other was not all sappy and flowery, but realistic in how they interacted and how even when Will “saved” Eliza she was really the one saving herself. 

All of the secondary characters are people you would love to meet in real life. You can see how in the frontier towns of antebellum American people came to rely on each other. You can see this during Peter Keller’s misfortune of being trapped under some logs. Eliza rides to Will’s mill and he and his men pull together to free Peter. After this incident the Keller’s are the first to step forward and help Eliza. 

As for the villains you can almost see them snickering and wiping their hands together as they plot against Eliza and Will. They are downright evil men who deserve they get, and you know that will happen. The writing style of this book is really good. I love the flow of the story, it moves like the Mississippi that they are travelling on. At times the story slows down so that you can get to know the characters and at other times it speeds up to move the story along. 

Even though this book is a romance novel it does not have sex scenes in every chapter. Actually besides kissing Will and Eliza don’t do much more. You can feel the tension between them but they don’t act on it. Or when they want to they are interrupted! Eliza is a great book. I loved it and want to read it over and over. There are just times when you need a good romance and this is one of them. 

Joyce Proell was born and raised in Minnesota, attending college and grad school in Chicago where she studied psychology and social work. After working as a psychiatric social worker, a mental health program manager and therapist, she retired at a young age to write full-time. When she isn't writing her own mysteries or historical romances, she loves to walk, read and day-dream.  After living in Nevada and Wisconsin, she makes her home in rural Minnesota in her very own little house on the prairie. 

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  Stephanie

1 comment:

  1. Great review! I have to admit that I'll be adding this to the TBR pile because it's set in Minnesota! :)


The old grey donkey, Eeyore stood by himself in a thistly corner of the Forest, his front feet well apart, his head on one side, and thought about things. Sometimes he thought sadly to himself, "Why?" and sometimes he thought, "Wherefore?" and sometimes he thought, "Inasmuch as which?" and sometimes he didn't quite know what he was thinking about.

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