Paper Roses by Amanda Cabot
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Life has not been kind to Sarah Dobbs. While an older daughter of a well-to-do Philadelphia family, she has experienced first-hand some of life's tragedies and the meaning of "fair-weather" friends. When she was younger, an accident with a horse left her with one leg somewhat shorter than the other and a permanent limp. Friendships dried up and she suffered cruel taunts. Then, her father lost the family's fortune through bad investments and shot her mother before committing suicide rather than face the shame. Even members of the family's church shunned the two orphan girls afer that.
So Sarah answers an advertisement for a bride made by a Texas rancher, Austin Canfield. She and her toddler-aged sister, Thea, made the arduous journey to meet Austin in San Antonio, only to be met by Austin's brother Clay, who bears the tragic news that Austin had been shot and killed.
Paper Roses is a work of Christian historical fiction. The term 'paper roses' is what Sarah gave to the sweet letters of courtship she received from her intended.
Ladreville, Texas, the closest town to the Canfield's ranch is populated in majority by French and German immigrants, who mostly do not get along. So much so, there are two churches in the relatively small town, one French and one German. Both groups consider it a sin to enter the other's church.
A number of thefts and acts of 'criminal mischief' haunt the town and as Sarah and Clay attempt to determine who killed Austin, attempts are made on Sarah's life as well.
I thoroughly enjoyed Paper Roses. The characters were well-developed and multidimensional. Nobody was sickenly sweet and even the "bad guys" could seem well-mannered at times. This book is well worth the read. I look forward to the rest of the series.
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