Heart on the Line
Bethany House Publishers, 2017
Grace Mallory enjoys a quiet, if sometimes lonely life, as the telegraph operator for the women’s colony of Harper’s Station. Once upon a time she dreamed of love and a family, but that dream evaporated when her father died protecting the secret that is now hers to defend. Now she lives with other ladies in the colony, content to keep a low profile to protect herself and her secret.
Though he is weary of the matchmaking efforts of family members, Amos Bledsoe agrees that he needs a companion, and he thinks he might know where to find her. Telegraph employees are permitted to use the telegraph system ofter hours and he has been conversing with a fellow operator from a town called Harper’s Station. Unfortunately, the only thing he knows about her, besides that she seems clever and kind, is that she is female. She could be old enough to be his mother, but the only way to find out is to meet her.
One evening an emergency telegram for Grace interrupts their conversation, informing her that the threat she has been hiding from has found her. Overhearing this message, Amos knows he must go to her aid, though he doesn’t know the details of the threat or the woman and she hasn’t asked him to come. When he arrives in Harper’s Station he finds the lady just as lovely as he imagined and the danger worse. Determined to protect her and woo her heart, his plan hits a snag when a handsome, mysterious stranger arrives in town, highlighting all the ways Amos feels he is lacking. As the danger increases Grace must decide what is right and who is right for her.
This post contains affiliate links. Read more about that here. This book was sent to me for review by Bethany House Publishers.
Another winner from Karen Witemeyer. This book is the second in her Ladies of Harper’s Station series. I’ve written before about the first in the series, No Other Will Do, and an accompanying novella, Worth the Wait, and this book continues the story.
Harper’s Station is a town founded for and by women who have been hurt and abused by men or for women who have nowhere else to go. Most of the women are very mistrustful of men, but that doesn’t categorize Grace. She is regretful that she may never be able to have a husband and family, but knows that as long as she guards the set of books that contain the proof of an unknown heir to a vast inheritance she will bring danger to anyone who gets close to her. Her father died trying to get the books to the proper authorities to prevent them from being apprehended by the current heir, who will stop at nothing to see that his fortune stays in his possession.
I loved the characters in this book. Grace is a smart, kind woman, who thinks she is nothing special and wants to do what is right above all else. She is stuck in the middle of a never ended question of whether to protect the documents her father trusted her with or to give them up to protect herself, her friends, and the man she is coming to care for. Amos is also kind and smart, and painfully aware of the fact that he does not possess many of the quintessentially masculine traits that he think women desire. He rides a bicycle instead of a horse, and isn’t particularly tall, strong, or rugged. That might sound kind of cheesy, but I thought the author did a good job of turning the ’what’s on the inside matters more than whats on the outside’ trope into an interesting, realistic part of the story and made Amos a character that I rooted for because he was genuinely likable and not because he was an underdog.
There are many fun aspects to this book, including an intriguing side romance that occurs simultaneously to Grace and Amos’s courtship, in addition to the mystery and intrigue surrounding Grace’s predicament. Many of the other characters have fun roles to play as well and I love the humor that is infused into the narrative. Two thumbs up for Heart on the Line, or really any of Karen Witemeyer’s novels.