A beautiful historical romance full of suspense, struggle, and noble but mistaken intentions

5.0 out of 5 stars, August 17, 2014

   
 Set during the events of the great Seattle fire of 1889, beautiful newcomer Fayth Sheridan struggles to establish and grow her sewing business since her unhappy departure from Baltimore. Arriving in Seattle following the untimely deaths of her parents and the betrayal of her unfaithful husband-to-be and his ruin of her business, she desperately seeks capital but cannot obtain credit of any kind.
 

Single women are scarce in the Seattle market and Fayth is besieged with unwanted marriage proposals but seeks a respectable marriage of convenience only. She set her sights on handsome prosperous sea captain Con O’Neil who is probably he only man in Seattle who has never shown the least romantic interest in her.

However, Captain O’Neil secretly is attracted to Fayth and agrees to her unconsummated marriage proposal hoping to win her love. Following the disastrous fire which destroys Fayth’s business and Captain O’Neil’s vital shipping wharf, neither can borrow any further legitimate bank’s money to rebuild so both turn to the City’s wealthiest madam Lou Gramm.

Both Fayth and Con declare their dislike for dishonesty. However, an ironic trail of deceit builds between the two of them that is both amusing and confusing as they snoop into each other’s businesses, something they swore they would never do. Why? Their mutual financial well-being is vital to their survival and they selflessly try to secretly shore each other up. To complicate the proceedings even further, Fayth’s fickle fiancé shows up from Baltimore begging her to reconsider the possibility of their thwarted marriage. Complicating matters, kind-hearted Fayth seeks to rescue a young prostitute from Lou Gramm’s upscale house of ill-repute. As if it could not get any crazier, Fayth discovers the captain’s accountant has been embezzling his funds, thus jeopardizing their future.

Full of both romantic and financial tension, the story is a constant and harrowing struggle for survival as Seattle rebuilds from the destructive fire. The deceptive cover-ups perpetrated by both Fayth and Con are both risky and, at times, comical in their unimagined consequences.

I dearly loved the grit and determination of Fayth as she struggled to succeed in a man’s world and likewise admired Captain O’Neil as he sought to protect and help Fayth while trying not to openly show his growing love for her. Likewise, Fayth realized she was falling madly in love with the good-natured confident and protective Captain, going directly against her marriage for convenience agreement. How long can she hold out against the seductive power of he captain?

The author’s authentic and gritty account of the great Seattle fire adds tremendous historical interest and vibrancy to the romantic backdrop of the story. There were a couple of somewhat erotic encounters between the heroine and hero but timely interruptions thwarted them before they could sexually consummate their “marriage of financial convenience.” (Well, they WERE legally married weren’t they?)

In summation, this story grabbed my interest immediately and held it throughout to the end. It is one of the best historical romances I have recently read because of its unusual historical backdrop and the complex romantic relationship between the two principals. I highly recommend this thoroughly entertaining read.

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