In an East Texas town called Redemption, actual redemption doesn’t come easy.
Laurel James has finally escaped her scandalous past to settle in the small town of Redemption, where she works in Ollie’s Café and is engaged to respectable Murphy Yates. Murphy doesn't know that during the Civil War, Laurel was abducted from her family by a villain named Will Taft and sold into prostitution in St. Louis. Known there as Lavender Lil, she did what she needed to in order to survive. Yet a Confederate spy named Shenandoah promised dreams of rescue before he disappeared and left her heartbroken. Now, in 1869, the man she once knew as Shenandoah has mysteriously reappeared. In fact, he is Murphy Yates’ brother, Brodie, and he holds the power to uncover Laurel’s disreputable past. Brodie is opposed to the marriage, of course, but he can’t say whether it’s because of Laurel’s deceit about her identity or his own buried feelings for the woman he left behind in St. Louis. He gives Laurel one week to break off the engagement to Murphy, with a veiled threat to expose her. Before she can come up with a plan, Murphy is shot during a bank robbery and comes dangerously close to death. Suddenly, both Brodie and Laurel feel a renewed loyalty to him, all the while embarking on an escapade to seek outlaws and knowledge of their own hearts. Author Broday’s charming mix of Texas vernacular, history, and storytelling, along with her earnest characters who care about family above all, makes this an enjoyable if somewhat long romantic adventure. The chemistry and attraction between Laurel and Brodie feels authentic, and their love scenes are fun and sensual, though at times they can get bogged down with clichéd language.
Great for fans of history, romance, and some good old Texas grit.