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Publisher's Summary

Jake Marcum’s busy ranch leaves him no time for courting, and his wounded heart has no place for love. When battlefield nightmares disturb his peace and his tomboy niece Juliet needs taming, somehow a mail-order bride seems like a logical solution.

Dr. Evangeline Olson has no idea her niece is writing to a rancher on her behalf, and she sure isn’t interested in abandoning her medical practice for a stranger. But when an inheritance threatens to reveal a long-buried secret, she travels west to become Jake’s wife.

Jake soon realizes Evangeline is more than he bargained for, especially when her arrival causes a stir in the community. As the two try to find their way in a marriage of convenience, their fragile relationship is further tested by cattle rustling and kidnapping. Can their hearts overcome past hurts to create a real marriage? 

General Content (G) (I): Contains little or no; sexual dialogue or situations, violence, or strong language. May also contain some content of an inspirational/religious nature.

©2017 Smitten Historical Romance (P)2018 Smitten Historical Romance

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Pam C
  • Wolfforth, TX
  • 05-08-18

One of the best!

Finished listening to this book in just 2 days! If you are interested in a VERY well written, Christian story this fits the need! This is a mystery, drama, non-violent, love , prayer-filled story. The author develops the characters and the storyline in a way that you can't help but enjoy. If you get the audiobook, you are getting one of the best narrators with Meghan Kelly! Get it!!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A great mail order bride book!

I liked the way that our heroine is not your typical "mail-order-bride" she is a doctor and a very good one. Dr. Evangeline Olson must go west to hide secrets and gain her inheritance. I really liked her strong yet soft character and the way she grows in the story.

Jake is a very good rancher character. I liked the way that he was tough and yet had a heart and listened to other's solutions to the problems that he was facing.

Cindy's secondary characters were complete and I enjoyed them almost as much as Jake and Evangeline. The twists and turns of this story were intriguing and kept me interested in this action-packed, suspenseful western with a twist of romance.

Meghan Kelly was at her usual, a great story-teller! I really liked her narration in this story.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Truth, Love & Forgiveness

This book was an uplifting tale of life in the old west. The characters were very well written and described and the storyline had no difficulty holding my attention. This book when finished left me with a warm glow because good triumphed over evil and goodness and love won the day.

The story centers around the lives of Jake and Evangeline, and their lives together on the Double M Ranch.

Jake has been writing letters for a year to a woman he believes to be Evangeline with a view to her coming west and being his wife. He doesn't really trust women having suffered rejection in the past. But over time has begun to think that Evangeline will make him a good wife and help him bring up his orphaned nice.

Evangeline is a very strong woman, she has had to be, she trained and qualified as a doctor and has in the past worked with her brother, also a doctor. But when her brother hired someone else as his partner she decided to make a change in her life. At this time she discovered that her own nice has for the last year been writing to Jake pretending to be her in the hope of helping her aunt find happiness. Evangeline decides to make the trip and put her trust in God.

Jake and Evangeline marry but agree to take the time to get to know each other before becoming intimate. Once they reach their home and start their lives together there are many instances when they have to put the trust in God and hope things will work out for the best.

There are many factors in this story, deception, impersonation, cattle rustling, fraud, murder, and kidnapping. The flow of the story is very good and all the characters are very well developed. Whilst I enjoyed the writing style of the author what really made this book for me was the narration. Meghan Kelly brought every single character to life and each person was instantly recognizable by the voice given to them by Meghan Kelly.

I would love to tell you more about the story but to do so would mean giving spoilers, which I never do, and so you will have to take my word for it that if you enjoy books of this genre you will certainly enjoy this one.

I was given this book as a gift and am voluntarily writing my review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Marcine
  • Vienna, Ga United States
  • 06-12-18

Exceptional Western Romance

I really enjoyed this book. A new author for me, but I'll be looking for more books by Ms Huff. The Audible narration by Meghan Kelley was exceptional. Whether man, woman, child or ethnic group, she handled it nicely. I would recommend it for action Western. romance readers

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A marvelous mail order bride Western!

This was one of the most delightful mail order bride stories I've read in a time. Evangeline is a strong independent lead character, yet she works in perfect balance and respect with her husband Jake. I absolutely loved the faith in this story, how both Evangeline & Jake depended on the Lord for their strength and guidance. One of my favorite parts was when Evangeline helps the young lady sell her woven cloth and yarn to the Mercantile. There were so many great parts to this intricate book, and plenty of mystery and intrigue to keep ones attention. Meghan did a marvelous job with the narrative and all the character's voices. I'm always in awe she can do so many different ones, making the story come to life.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Meghan Kelly brought it to life!

Okay, so I'll start with the story first. Overall, I enjoyed the book. Because there was no physicality or overt romance scenes, the plot had to carry the book completely. In that, it did not disappoint. It had everything you would expect in a western, and more. There was the fallout from the civil war, cattle thieves, racist shop owners in a dusty town, men on the run, and the ramifications of women's rights and breaking the glass ceiling of what is expected of a woman and a wife. As a historian, the story was vastly believable as well and I didn't find any inaccuracies that might ruin it for another history buff.
The bulk of the book relied on Christian values, from the themes of forgiveness and grace to the cornerstones of Evangeline and Jake's marriage. While I normally do not read Christian books, it's nice to have a clean read that one can share with Grandma without feeling the need to skip Sunday dinner out of shame.
As for the narration, I was pleased as punch (whatever that means!) at how Meghan handled things. Her voice was clear and sharp and she gave life to each character as she spoke. You could always tell when Jake was calling out from the barn or Juliet was speaking about her beloved dog, even without using "he said/she said" after every sentence. You would never know she was a one woman show, recording and editing herself.
Overall, I highly recommend Secrets and Charades in audiobook and highly highly recommend Meghan Kelly as a narrator.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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More than just a Mail Order Bride book

This book has a little of everything. Held my attention right to the end and then I was sorry to see it end. Well worth the credit. Meghan Kelly does a great job narrating this book. Her performance is excellent.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Sweet, historical western

Mail Order brides to me always come with a strong woman and a wonderful man and the two always end up falling in love. Cindy Ervin Huff has taken this premise and given personalities to the characters with a fresh new perspective. Evangeline, a free thinking, progressive woman comes to marry Jake. With secrets in her past, she is hesitant to be completely open with him but does her best to help run his ranch. She is a doctor by trade, something unheard of for the time, is nice to the servants and especially falls in love with Jake's niece. There is trouble on the ranch, and as they work together to find the answers, life becomes more intimate. But will Jake accept her when he finds out what she is hiding? So much goes into this story, but the standout for me is Evie. Her character is wonderful. Even though she comes from a different class of people, she treats all as she would like to be treated. She doesn't feel the need to be like everyone else, and is here to help all. With a strong Christian basis, this story is a beautiful read showing the true merits of this new to me author.

Meghan Kelly is perfect for this book. Her ability to bring characters to life is incredible, giving them each distinctive voices and personalities.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Secrets&Charades

This was a very good book, finding each other after being afraid that no one would understand your past. Very heart warming. The naration was wonderful. I just thought the pause between chapter's was a little to long. If you haven't read or listed to it I highly recommend it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A pleasant surprise.

Secrets & Charades is a sweet, clean historical romance.  Huff blends moments of courage with heartfelt fears and finds gold.  What  started with letters becomes an adventure of the heart. Jake and Evie find themselves dupped into a mail order arrangement. Evie is a woman who prides herself on following her dreams.  Jake is a man in need of some emotional healing.  Apart they exist, together they learn to live.  Their romance is littered with a hint of suspense and moments of enlightment.  The edition of Meghan Kelly is an added bonus. Her ability to give each character a personality  that is separate from the story and more about the connection is a welcome asset.  A pleasant surprise.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful