Pocket, Feb 2002, 6.99, 339 pp.
In 1911 Beaumont, Texas, after Baron Oil heiress Evelyn Thurgood-Baron disgraces her family, her father cut a deal with rival William Hadly, owner of Texhoma Oil. Evelyn will marry William's son Guy regardless of how either of the heirs feels. Unable to cope with a loveless marriage, Evelyn flees town as a maid to a Mrs. Smythe.
Luke Deveraux cannot understand how a person can fall from grace so fast. He was recently a New Orleans police officer like his father and three brothers. Now he sees his picture on a wanted poster with a reward of four thousands dead or alive in Texas. His only hope for proof of his innocence lies with his former partner Henry Boyd squirreled away in New Mexico. When Mrs. Smythe fails to make the train due to her ailing canine, Luke buys her ticket. When Luke meets her maid, he realizes he has no choice but to allow Evelyn to accompany him so that she cannot reveal his identity. As they travel together, they fall in love while eluding the man her parents sent in pursuit of her and while chasing down the man that can prove his innocence.
THE RUNAWAY HEIRESS is a fun romantic historical romp that will remind readers of It Happened One Night though the novel thoroughly brings to life an era two decades earlier than the classic movie. The story line is loaded with action as the two lead protagonists escape one caper only to land in the next escapade. Fans will enjoy StefAnn Holm's unrestrained Americana fable.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner