by Tracy Jones, historical (2007, reissue)
Amber Quill Press, $7.00, ISBN 978-1-60272-072-5
This book is previously released as Dare To Dream by Wordbeams Publishing back in 2000.
Maggie McCarty travels to her aunt's place in Indiana from Ireland to start a new life away from her really bad suitor. Aunt Catherine works as a housekeeper at Benjamin Driver's place, and soon Maggie finds herself attracted to Ben. But Maggie is actually fleeing from the attentions of vile Timothy, whom she only promised to marry to placate her father before the old man kicked the bucket. Little does she know that Timothy is smart enough to read a map and hence chase after her.
Ben, in turn, is still haunted by memories of his dead wife. He feels responsible for her croaking, and hence treats Maggie rudely to drive her away. Then comes Timmy, and Ben will have to Protect and Nurture our heroine from danger. Love, needless to say, is in the air.
Maggie McCarty starts rather slowly, but it soon gets into the swing of things. There are lots of epic dangers to be overcome before our two lovebirds can make babies while Auntie Catherine sheds happy tears of joy in the final pages. Kidnaps, near-deaths, stabs, wounds, there are enough here to keep things moving.
But I must say I can't actually warm up to the two lovebirds' tendency to react to every pitfall with shared mutual resignation. Ben thinks Maggie is dead, and he mopes in bitterness. Maggie thinks Ben is dead, and weeps bitterly. Both are proper, nice people - maybe too proper, too nice. Playing by rules in an environment that penalizes rule-abiders, well, I don't know what to think, really. But I do admire these two's ability to endure and persevere in face of adversities. If only they would actually do something, that'll be nice.
Atmosphere? Great one - the whole epic feel is there. Emotions of the characters are handled pretty deftly too. It's just too bad that the two main characters' knee-jerk reaction to every situation is to (a) feel guilty, (b) mope, or (c) lament. They may dare to dream, but boy, do they need a motivation seminar.
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