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Joe's Wife by Cheryl St. John
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Joe's Wife

by Cheryl St. John

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Returning to his home town of Aspen Grove Colorado after the end of the Civil War, Tye Hatcher found that nothing had changed. The people who had shunned him as a child did so again making it impossible to find a job and save the money that he needs to build his dreams. The war had taken a lot of good men and one of them was Joe Telford, leaving his young wife (Meg) a new widow with a ranch to take care of. Not knowing of any other way to keep the ranch going any longer, Meg Telford approached Tye with an unlikely proposal of marriage as a business proposition. If she could find a way to save Joe’s ranch with his help, she would sacrifice anything.

Harlequin Historicals to me are like going home, I really enjoy them and this one is no exception. I really enjoyed the style and the atmosphere of this book, with its setting in 1865 and the limited amount of characters, each one was so well developed and the interactions were expected but still delightful. I really liked the way each one of them had strength of character and deep emotions without being overbearing or a pushover. ( )
  onyx95 | Jan 18, 2010 |
Meg Telford is a young widow whose husband Joe died in the war leaving her to run their small ranch near Aspen Grove with only a couple of old cowboys. Her in-laws want her to sell it and move back into town to live with them. But Meg values her independence and does not want to let go of Joe's ranch. Tye Hatcher is a war veteran who returns after the war to Aspen Grove, the home of his birth. Tye grew up a bastard son of a prostitute who is now dead in order to fulfill his dream of earning enough money to start his own packing plant. The town has always treated him poorly and when he returns to town after the war they still treat him like dirt and he has a difficult time finding work of any kind. This was the only part of the story that just did not work for me. Why would anyone return to a place where he is treated like a pariah? He could have gone anywhere after the war and no one would have known his background, but instead he comes back for more punishment.

Meg has a mortgage payment due and has been selling off anything of value in order to hang onto the ranch. But her options are running out. Since she can't afford to pay any more ranch hands, she decides she needs a husband to work hard and help get the ranch financially stable. But since it's after the war, men of marriageable age are scarce. She decides to propose marriage to Tye. He will help her with the ranch in exchange she will help him with his dream of a packing plant if they make enough money. Tye feels he cannot refuse such an opportunity to realize his dream. They marry and cause quite a scandal in town.

The love that slowly develops between them is beautifully written and very emotional. Tye is a wonderful, wounded and courageous man. Although he has thoughts that he is not good enough for Meg, he shows his worth to Meg and the entire town. St. John is spare in her writing but the emotion she conveys is very powerful. Tye promises the town prostitute on her death bed to raise her daughter. So five-year old Eve comes to live with Tye and Meg. Tye is not sure who the father is but he suspects. Tye has always felt excluded and alone. When Meg confronts him about the paternity of Eve in a climatic scene near the end of the book, I went straight for my Kleenex box. Meg is also a wonderful, compassionate character. She is the only one in town who always treated Tye with respect. Slowly she comes to stop thinking of herself as Joe's wife and starts thinking of herself as Tye's wife. (Grade: A-) ( )
  reneebooks | Sep 7, 2009 |
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Meg Telford was feeling pressure from all sides to give up her ranch outside of Aspen Grove. She had lost her husband, Joe, to the Civil War and was determined she was not going to lose her home; the place they'd worked so hard for. But she needed help, and time was running out before she would have no choice but to leave. What she needs is a man. What she doesn't need is to fall in love. Tye Hatcher had returned to Aspen Grove to find life hadn't changed all that much during the war; he was still despised by nearly everyone in town. Everyone, that is, but Meg Telford. Tye had always been a little in love with Meg. She had always treated him as an equal, as a human with feelings. That fact didn't lessen the shock any when she approached him with an outrageous scheme to save her farm. If the town didn't like him now, just wait until they found out he was marrying Joe Telford's widow!
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