Todd Valmer should have known better. A farmer who’s been through several disasters, he travels to Virginia to fetch his widowed mother to cook and help him around his Texas farm…or that was the plan until she keels over on the train and they get kicked off. Maggie Rose barters for a living and also makes soaps, lotions, and perfumes with a special rose recipe passed down from mother to daughter for generations. She hasn’t wanted to marry…until that handsome Texan shows up. Her heart skips a beat, and when he proposes, a hasty marriage follows.
What ensues, however, is a clash of culture and a battle of wills–and it’s clear they both mistook instant attraction and infatuation for love. As their marriage loses its sparkle and fills with disillusionment, Todd and Maggie must determine what is worth fighting for. He dreams of a farm. Maggie wants to fulfill the family tradition with her rose perfumes. Todd’s mother, however, has entirely different plans for her son that do not include Maggie. In light of their hasty marriage and mistaken dreams, is there any hope of recapturing their love and building a future together?
The beginning of the book was reminiscent of Snow White with Maggie caring for her numerous quirky elder “uncles.” This is an interesting twist on the “marriage-of-convenience” plot line; instead of dependent children, Todd has an ailing mother that needs caring for and Maggie presents a competent and beautiful relief to his dilemma. I am not a violent or angry person, but I would have taken a frying pan to Maggie’s mother-in-law for all the hateful venom dripped comments that came spewing out of her mouth. The tension between Maggie and Helga sometimes produced some comic scenarios that were amplified by their cultural differences. Todd was too emotionally recluse and too much of a Mama’s boy for me to truly appreciate him as the hero of the story.
I was missing the necessary connection with the storyline and the characters to fully enjoy this book. The rhythm of the narrative took some time to grow accustomed to in the beginning. I wasn’t completely convinced by the ending, especially after a cliche farming/prairie event that regularly appears in storylines to bond the main characters (don’t worry I won’t reveal it). This was a pleasant read with some important moral lessons, but it fell short for me, especially when compared to Cathy’s other books which I found very entertaining.