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Sandra Ardoin @SandraArdoin

Heart on the Line is Karen Witemeyer’s second book in the Ladies of Harper’s Station series. To one extent or another, I’ve enjoyed most all of what I’ve read by Ms. Witemeyer. She has a fun way of putting her heroes and heroines in situations where their weaknesses are exposed and their strengths tested.

Her new novel is a fine example, especially when it comes to Amos Bledsoe. Amos is not your typical western hero. He’s a modern man of the 1890s who prefers a bicycle to riding horses. He’s not the handsome, strong and silent type—and he knows it. He’s a plain Joe longing for a family and in love with a woman he’s never met, except through the after-hours dots and dashes of their conversations. In other words, Amos is real.

How many months had he pinned his hopes for future happiness on the mysterious Miss G? The lady of sparkle and wit who entertained him with stories of outlaw attacks, quilting fiascos, and a budding romance between a reluctant shop owner and the freighter who carted her goods. He’d been following that tale with particular interest, his own hopes lifting at the prospect of a man’s persistence paying dividends in winning a maiden’s heart.

Grace Mallory is perfect for Amos. Like him, she’s a telegraph operator enchanted by the “online” exchanges with Mr. A from Denison.  But Grace has a past that could put them both in danger. Now, when that danger appears, what man would travel miles to rescue a woman he doesn’t even know? Amos, of course.

I don’t hesitate to say that this was my favorite of Karen Witemeyer’s novels since Short Straw Bride. And we get to meet those wacky aunts, Henry and Bert, again. Or, as Amos refers to them…Revolver Granny and Cookie Granny. I’ll let you read why.

The spiritual aspect is seen in the ways Amos and Grace respond to their circumstances and the abilities God has given them. Will they shrink or stand? In a stronger way, it’s found in two secondary characters who struggle to overcome physically abusive pasts. 

Mystery, danger, a strong heroine, a true hero, and a little insight into online dating—19th century style. What’s not to love in Heart on the Line?

Do you prefer your heroes to be the handsome, strong, Superman type, or an everyday Clark Kent?