by Regina Jennings
Published in 2014 by Bethany House Publishers.
Caught in the Middle
Reviewed by Mary Bryan Stafford.
Library Journal called Regina Jennings, “…a fresh voice in Christian historical romance…” and she is. Her main character, Anne Tillerton, conceals her vulnerability in the manners and garb of a buffalo hunter. She’s tough and intends to stay that way until she gets saddled with a baby who’s been deserted by his mother. And to confuse her even more, she meets a debonair young man, Nicholas Lovelace––a nice man, a kind, trustworthy man.  Nothing like the man in her past who nearly destroyed her.
Jennings writes with humor and empathy. Telling the story from two points of view, Jennings lets the reader in on both Nick and Anne’s inner turmoil. Both characters have their insecurities and the reader stays in their heads quite a bit. True to the genre, both have redeeming qualities, if sometime buried behind their own defenses.
Cast the characters for a 1960’s movie and you’d come up with James Garner and Suzanne Pleshette. Sorry, I just couldn’t think of any modern actors who could carry it off. This is historical fiction after all.
The setting was recognizably Texas in the 1880’s. Surprisingly, baby formula powder, while not widely available at the time, did exist.
I loved the cover––a beautiful girl in the perfect dress for the parlor wearing boots appropriate for stompin’ through buffalo dung. That says it all about Anne’s character.
The writing is light, nicely paced, a quick read and appropriate for any audience. The ending was how it should have been––not exactly what the characters wanted in the beginning, but all turned out right in the end––A Sunday kind of read.
Mary Bryan Stafford is seventh generation Texan and a member of The Daughters of the Republic of Texas. She graduated from The College of William and Mary in Virginia with degrees in English and Spanish but got back to Texas on the fast train. She lives in the Hill Country where she spends her time writing and training her horses. An award-winning author, she is the author of the novel A Wasp in the Fig Tree, excerpts “Blowout,” in the anthology, Women Write About the Southwest, winner of the Willa Award, “Epiphany” in the anthology The Noble Generation III and many times in the Texas Poetry Calendar. You may reach Mary Bryan Stafford at http://www.marybryanstafford.com

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