Kelly left a comment that she thinks of historical inspirationals as Little House on the Prairie for adults. Which is why I have quickly come to think of Lacy Williams as my new "comfort" author. Her books are just so darn cozy and wholesome, without being cloying. I slip right into the world she creates and happily go traipsing along with her characters until the final page. The Wrangler's Inconvenient Wife is the fourth book in the Wyoming Legacy series and it was so easy to fall back in with White family once again.
Pa and Ma are out of town, and with his two older brothers now with families of their own, it's up to Edgar White to bring his Pa's cattle to market. Unfortunately it's been one trial after another. Damaged train tracks mean the train that was going to take their cattle to Cheyenne gets derailed. On that derailed train? Fran Morris and her sister Emma, who are part of a passel of orphans looking for adoptive homes. Turns out though that Fran is of-age! She lied! She only did it to protect her sister, to spirit Emma out of Memphis and away from an older man who had become obsessed with her. But she's in the stew now. The orphanage matron is calling for her head, she can't go back to Memphis, and Emma is in real danger. What's left? Why marry a cowboy, of course!
Edgar marries Fran to keep her out of jail and so none of his brothers take it in their fool heads to marry her. It's a rocky start to their union however because Edgar cannot abide liars - and while Fran sure is pretty, she's been lying up to her eyeballs. Now he has to figure out a way to get his Pa's cattle to market, protect Fran and Emma, and oh yeah - figure out what to do with his new wife. A tricky situation for a man who had never, ever planned to marry.
This was a nice, pleasant read. Edgar has baggage, mostly regarding his childhood. Yes, he was adopted by Jonas White and raised in a loving home. However what that has done is instill a sense of obligation in him. Jonas saves him, ergo he "owes" Jonas. He's borderline obsessive getting the cattle to Cheyenne. He simply cannot let his Pa down. Period.
You feel for a girl like Fran who is literally the picture of why I'm glad I was born in the late 20th century. She is all Emma has and as a mere woman, protecting her sister is not an easy thing. Their parents are dead, her much older brother essentially abandoned them at boarding school, a school they could not pay for, and once a man with resources sets his sights on Emma - well, what chance do they have? The answer is none. So she does what she has to do to spirit them to safety, and if that means marrying a stranger - then so be it.
As much as I've come to care about this family and these characters, this wasn't as strong as the other books in the series. It took a while for the story to find some footing, for me. It's not really until the couple hits the trail together that things started to pick up. Also there were elements that I thought the author glossed over a bit - namely the tension between Edgar and his brother Ricky. It's not explored much and I never felt like I got a good handle on it. However maybe the finer details are being saved for Ricky's story, which is due out in December. And while I know I was supposed to feel sorry for Emma, and understand her fears, I couldn't help but get annoyed with the girl. Sigh. Yes, I really am this cold-hearted.
So it's not my favorite in the series, but it was a nice return to a world that I've come to care about. Edgar was always the character that I knew was going to be the toughest nut to crack, and for the most part the author makes his romance work. If you're looking for cozy, look no further than a Lacy Williams romance.
Final Grade = C+