Montlake Romance, $14.95, ISBN 978-1612182056
Historical Romance, 2010 (Reissue)
Home by Morning was previously released by the author herself back in 2010. I’m not sure whether this version contains any significant revision.
Anyway, Alexis Harrington’s a reliable author of entertaining Americana and Western romances, although of course I don’t love every book she had written in the past. Ms Harrington hadn’t made an appearance in the romance scene for a while now, so it is a pleasant surprise to see her back in the game. This one is a romance, but it is set in a time period that is atypical for the genre: 1918, when the world is reverberating from World War I.
Jessica Layton, a doctor, returns home to Powell Springs, Seattle, to accept a research position. She is fleeing New York because of a nervous breakdown of sorts. Her experiences during her stint in New York are traumatizing enough, but heartbreak on top of all those is just too much for her. However, she won’t find much free time to relax. The Spanish Flu wastes no time wrecking havoc in that small town – and the town doctor will not arrive for another month. Guess who has to step up to save the day. Meanwhile, she not only has to fend off the unwanted attentions of the local minister, she also has to stand by and watch as her ex-boyfriend Cole Braddock make plans to marry her sister. She still have feelings for Cole, so oh boy, what a homecoming for the poor darling.
Jessica is a pretty good heroine. She is a bit of an emotional wreck, but she steps up when she has to. Her despair at how she is ill-trained to deal with the deadly pandemic. It’s not that she is stupid, mind you – there are still unanswered questions today about the pandemic that killed so many people all over the world in just two years, from 1918 to 1920. In light of all this, Cole Braddock’s personal melodrama about being rejected once by Jessica and having to manage the ranch while his brother play the soldier is so trivial and therefore eye-rolling when he makes such a fuss about it. It doesn’t help that he is stringing two women along in this story. As a result, Cole could been run over by an angry bull for all I care – I think I’d like this story better if it’s mostly about Jessica and Powell Springs with minimal drama involving Jessica, Cole, and that plot device of a minister.
Still, despite the uninteresting romance, Home by Morning is a very readable story with Jessica’s dilemma and predicaments giving this story a solid emotional anchor for it to resonate with me. The romance could have been more interesting, but all in all, this is a pretty good read both for the drama and the catharsis.