Monday, July 30, 2007

The Measure of A Lady


The Measure of A Lady by DeeAnne Gist, 2006.

I loved A Bride Most Begrudging. But let me tell you right now, I loved, loved, loved The Measure of a Lady. From its first sentence: This street is Impassible, Not Even Jackassable. (Which for those who are wondering is Rachel van Buren's first introduction to her new home, San Francisco. She's reading a sign on the muddy street.) Rachel and her brother and sister are in quite a mess. Their father died on the way to California. Now they are orphans. As the oldest, Rachel must find some way to survive in this gold-mining community. But can a woman "survive" and still be considered a lady at the end of the day. The first challenge she must face is a hard one: finding a place to stay. When hotels offer neither privacy or decency, what is a lady to do? (Especially since some "hotels" are brothels in disguise.) Luckily a 'hotel' owner--whose place is really more of a saloon/gambling hall--offers her the use of his shack--the shack rated to be "the best" in town. Not quite the accommodations she was hoping for but still...there is some potential there underneath the surface. Johnnie Parker and Rachel van Buren may not have gotten the best introduction, but soon the two become friends. Life in California sure is full of challenges, but Rachel soon comes to love it...for better or worse. If only she could find a way to protect her siblings....