The Harlequin Historical bender continues!
Winning Jenna's Heart by Charlene Sands opens up with spinster Jenna Duncan nursing a man back to the health. She found him shot and slowly bleeding to death near her property and she takes one look at his battered face and "realizes" it's her intended, Blue Montgomery. She's never seen blue eyes quite as brilliant as Blue's, and even though they haven't seen each other since they were kids, they've been pen pals for years. The plan was for him to leave his war-ravaged home back East, marry her, and build a life together on her dilapidated farm in Oklahoma Territory.
The man does wake up, but can't remember a darn thing. Is he this Blue Montgomery? Well, since the back cover copy spoils it for you, I'll just say it - no, he's not. But before he realizes that, he finds himself smitten with Jenna. When his memory returns to him, it shatters her dreams. The man she loved, the man she built her dreams around, is really Cash Callahan, a gambler! A worthless, no good gambler just like her worthless no good brother!
This story works on a lot of levels. Sure Jenna is tarring and feathering Cash with a broad brush, but the girl has her reasons. Her brother has literally put her life in danger because of his gambling. It's not an easy prejudice for her to overcome. Plus, when she learns the truth - the entire story of how Cash came to be on her farm - well she's heartsick.
Cash feels indebted to Jenna. Not only is he smitten with her, but she's done more for him than anyone ever has. He wants to repay her, even if she can't stand to look at him. So he stays, if only to help her get her crops planted. She loves her farm, and she needs his help to make it a success.
I really enjoyed this story. Yeah, Jenna gets a bit uppity at times, but it sure is nice to watch Cash weasel his way into her heart. A very good, very solid story. Final Grade = B+.