So I stole a few quiet moments here at work to finish up A Stranger's Wife by Maggie Osborne.
I hate to be a piss-pot, but I was disappointed.
Lily Dale has spent 5 years in prison for her part in an armed robbery. Then miracle of miracles, she finds herself getting released early! Of course, there's a catch. The catch is the hero, who secured her early release in order for her to impersonate his missing wife. Quinn Westin is on his way to being the first governor of the new state of Colorado. Then his wife goes and vanishes. It's a scandal that Quinn cannot afford, so his hired henchman finds a spitting image of the missing Miriam. But how do they go about turning rough Lily Dale into the very picture of a lady?
OK, I liked Lily. I know some readers who found her a bit rough around the edges - but I found her interesting. Sure she's done some bad things in her past, but she's paying for her mistakes. I also love how she dresses down the male gender for "taking advantage of women" for "their own selfish gains."
My problem was with the hero - who comes off too ambitious and deceitful for my tastes. In fact, he's a world class sonofabitch. The entire conflict of this story centers around his lies. And he's lying for his own personal gain - he wants to be governor. I also found myself feeling sorry for his wife, Miriam. Without giving too much away, it's hard to think much of a hero when he plays a big role in the demise of his first marriage. Miriam isn't without sin - but she's so weak-willed that it's hard to chastise her too harshly.
But as usual, Osborne can write. In fact, even when I'm not blown away be one of her books (another that comes to mind is Shotgun Wedding), she still writes a story that makes me stop and think. While I didn't love A Stranger's Wife, it's still a book capable of staying with me for days. I guarantee I'll think back and ponder it.