Expected Release Date: August 9, 2011
Publisher: Astrea Press
Imprint: N/A
Author’s Website: http://www.megmims.com/
My Source for This Book: Won In A Contest
Part of a Series: Yes, Book 1, Double Series
Series Best Read In Order: N/A
Steam Level: Warm

Official Blurb:

A murder arranged as a suicide … a missing deed … and a bereft daughter whose sheltered world is shattered. 

August, 1869: Lily Granville is stunned by her father’s murder. Only one other person knows about a valuable California gold mine deed — both are now missing. Lily heads west on the newly opened transcontinental railroad, determined to track the killer. She soon realizes she is no longer the hunter but the prey. 

As things progress from bad to worse, Lily is uncertain who to trust—the China-bound missionary who wants to marry her, or the wandering Texan who offers to protect her … for a price. 

Will Lily survive the journey and unexpected betrayal?

What Worked For Me:

  • I really enjoyed Lily.  Stubborn, opinionated, and honestly, a bit naive, she was also quite intelligent despite her impulsiveness.
  • I liked Charles quite a bit. I felt bad for him with Lily’s hesitance to marry him, and yet his own character grew quite a bit over the course of the story as well, with his decision to travel to China becoming less and less certain as time passes.
  • Ace was delicious. Handsome, rugged, and tough as nails, he’s also unapologetic about his life as a gambling drifter. What I enjoyed the most, however, is that we’re never quite sure if he’s a hero or a villain.
  • The mystery in this story was fantastic. While I admit I had suspected what turned out to be the truth, there were enough twists and red herrings to make sure I was never absolutely certain of the culprit.

What Didn’t Work For Me:

  • I hate to say it, but I’m simply not a fan of “inspirational” romances.  Mind you, this is a minor point for this story, because Lily’s faith was something subtle and integrated rather than “preachy” like so many inspirational stories tend to be, but even so, it’s really not my thing.
  • I was a little saddened by the lack of Happily Ever After as far as the romance goes. While I understand that there will be a sequel, I still tend to prefer that my heroines find lasting love in a single novel.

I’m not usually a big fan of “mystery” novels, but I admit, I thoroughly enjoyed this one. While this story was far more focused on the mystery than the romance, and was very light on the sensuality, I have to admit that this added some delicious chemistry to the few kisses Lily did get.  I cannot wait to read the sequel when it is published, even though I suspect any action (if it occurs at all) will be behind closed doors.

Overall, a very enjoyable post-Civil War era mystery/suspense; highly recommended for fans of historical mysteries with a (PG-rated) romantic twist.

4/5 Stars.