Love Spell, Jul 2002, 5.99, 3641 pp.
In 1876 Yuma Territorial Prison, Arizona Pinkerton Agent Casey Walker visits his brother Mark who was convicted of murder. Casey vows to get his sibling free, but needs money to hire the best lawyer available to properly defend Mark's self defense plea. Casey agrees to a deal with winery owner T.J. McAllister to bring his client's five-year-old grandson Tommy to him in exchange for three thousand dollars in advance.
T.J. informs Casey that his estranged son died on a cattle drive after marrying a whore Belle Parker. Though he ignored the existence of his grandson until now, he demands his heir be brought to him without the prostitute mother. Casey learns that Naomi of Naomi's Pleasure Palace has corresponded with Isabelle Henderson of Placerville, Oregon. Believing Henderson is Belle Casey heads north. Instead of a fallen woman, Casey finds Belle to be a good mother and a hardworking restaurant owner. He quickly respects and falls in love with her leading to a moral dilemma because what is best for his brother is not best for Belle or Tommy.
A LOVE TO CHERISH is a deep historical romance that contains a strong ethical quandary that leads readers to keep going until a resolution occurs though that denouement is too simplified for the honorable lead male protagonist. The action-packed story line enables the audience to see inside the gentle yet protective Belle and caring decent Casey. Though the outcome is too easily facilitated for such a complex morality tale, fans of Americana romance will want to read Connie Mason's well-written cerebral tale.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner