Set in 19th century Texas, Safe in His Arms by Colleen Coble is Book 2 in the Under Texas Stars series. It is a romance but also has enough adventure and excitement to keep the reader interested. The protagonist, Margaret O’Brien, is a skilled and talented rancher who can do anything the men do with competence and excellence.
However, her father fails to appreciate her help and leadership on the ranch. He wants her to attract a man, marry and have children, and her husband can supervise the ranch. I realize that Margaret’s father probably was blinded by deeply ingrained prejudices toward a woman’s place that were prevalent during this time period. At the same time, I was amazed that he could not see the value in what Margaret was doing. With a dead brother and ageing father, she was a young woman who took over running the family ranch out of necessity, and she learned to do it well. It was frustrating that Margaret’s father wanted her to use her feminine wiles to attract a husband. He did not appreciate the wonderful young woman that was his daughter.
Then Margaret’s father hired Daniel Cutler, a new foreman. Margaret sees no need for a foreman because she knows everything about running a ranch. She and Cutler clash like a cold front and humidity on a summer day. But in spite of Margaret’s obvious antagonism, both she and Daniel have an irresistible attraction. It was rewarding to see that finally a male came into Margaret’s life who fully appreciated her competency and intelligence, while noticing her beauty even though she did not wear hoop-skirts.
Margaret believes that Daniel is not being upfront about his past and has a suspicion that Daniel is not what he says. A bank robbery, a hostage situation, a tornado and a trusted relative who is a cold-hearted criminal keep the story fast-paced. I loved how the author developed Margaret’s character. I loved watching Margaret’s confidence grow and it was evident that Margaret’s faith grew as she lived through a difficult time.
This is an exciting book. It is the story of a young girl’s maturity process and a couple getting to know each other. The icing on the cake is that the story is told through many plot turns, twists and surprises that kept me involved in the story. I appreciated the account of Margaret’s faith journey. I could understand how happenings in her life could have made her hard and bitter toward God. She allowed God to turn her problems and difficulties into qualities that made her an even stronger woman – a woman able to reach out to others but also able to accept herself. Coble took me on a journey from pitying Margaret as she coped with her insensitive father to inwardly cheering for the woman Margaret became. Coble created a character that is appealing and shows how kindness and love cause Margaret to flourish.
I received this book from the publisher in return for a review. All opinions are my own.
About Safe in His Arms:
Under Texas Stars, Book 2
Born and raised on sprawling Texas land, Margaret O'Brien prides herself on her competence as a rancher. But her father believes she's made for more than just dawn-to-dusk work. He wants her to have the love of a good man, to raise children, to build a life. But Margaret gave up such dreams years ago. She's convinced no man would have her, that the ranch is her life now.
So when Margaret's father hires Daniel Cutler as a new foreman, she's frustrated and suspicious. Then an overheard conversation links him with a gang of bank robbers, and she's downright worried. Daniel swears he's not involved, but Margaret's not convinced. She knows the man still has secrets. But would a criminal be so kind and talk so convincingly of his faith? As a series of tragic "accidents" threatens all she holds dear, Margaret must decide what to trust: her own ears, her best judgment . . . or what her heart keeps telling her.
Best-selling author Colleen Coble's novels have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Best Books of Indiana, ACFW Book of the Year, RWA's RITA, the Holt Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers' Choice, and the Booksellers Best. She has nearly 2 million books in print and writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail. Colleen is CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers and is a member of Romance Writers of America. She lives with her husband Dave in Indiana.
Find out more about Colleen at http://www.colleencoble.com/.