What Matters Most
by Winnie Griggs, historical (2001)
Leisure, $4.99, ISBN 0-8439-4829-9


Reed Wilder is the boring, stuffy one in his family. Someone has to keep the family of irresponsible scoundrels together, after all, and acting wild and boinking around don't put food on the table. But when Reed's brother dies and a family heirloom goes missing, Reed tracks the heirloom down to Lucy Ames, who bore dead bro Jonny a son and was his mistress. Or so they say.

But while on the road, Reed gets beaten during a robbery, and guess who comes along to nurse him back to health -

WAIT A FREAKING MINUTE!!!

Hello? This is the zillionth Western/Americana book I read in a row that has a nursing-him-back-to-health thing. Enough is enough - try something new, for goodness sake! How about nursing-her-back-to-health? Enough with this plot device, please, enough! One more time, ENOUGH!

Anyway, Lucy is not a mistress. She is - well, that's her secret, so I can't give it away here without blowing apart the story's Grand Revelation Moments. Anyway, she's misunderstood, Reed grows to understand her, they fend off the baddies, and they, along with that kid of hers, head back to Reed's big house where he will buy her pretty dresses and she will never have to be hungry again. Nice.

It's not a bad book. It's predictable, but I am still peeved about the nursing-him thing. That one black mark is enough to ruin my reading experience. I need nursing now - hey, where's Dr Luka Kovac? I'm sick. I need CPR.

Rating: 65


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