In Morse’s debut romance, a business deal reunites a woman with the man who betrayed her years earlier.
In 1953, Ellen Hamilton is something of an anomaly in her hometown of Pitney, California. Fiercely independent and resolutely single, she’s built a satisfying life as the town librarian while occasionally helping her father, Sam, with the family business of Hamilton Manufacturing. Sam expects that his son, Tim, will one day run the company, but he also hopes Ellen will join full-time. Hamilton has built a profitable business making tractors, but Sam wants to expand into other products. Specifically, he plans to develop a tank in partnership with military contractor Riesel Lang—a risky but potentially lucrative move. A representative from Riesel Lang travels to Pitney to tour the factory and Ellen is shocked to discover that it’s John Adair, a former Hamilton employee whom she once hoped to marry. Their passionate romance ended abruptly amid allegations that John had stolen from the company. But he never forgot the beautiful, intelligent woman who won his heart—and he’s determined to win her back. Ellen, meanwhile, can’t deny her own continued attraction to John, but their reunion is complicated by the old allegations and her father’s and brother’s schemes. Morse successfully weaves a lively romance together with a tale of complex corporate skullduggery that often feels like a gripping thriller. Its characters and setting are particularly well-developed. Ellen, for example, is a strong, independent heroine who’s determined to live her life on her own terms, even if it means defying her family’s expectations of her. Although John comes to Pitney with a hidden agenda, his feelings for Ellen are genuine, as is his desire to make amends. Their rekindled relationship crackles with romantic tension. The well-described settings render a convincing portrait of life in 1950s California. Meanwhile, a subplot involving Tim’s plan to wrest control of Hamilton from his father keeps the novel moving forward at a brisk pace.
A satisfying romance bolstered by strong characters, detailed settings, and surprising plot twists.