|Sophie's aunt convinced a rich, American gentleman to bring her over and marry him. The first page of this book is almost tragic with Sophie's new husband dying on their wedding night (and not after any conjugal bliss either). Her husband was Theodore Wilbach, a very German, very proper businessman. Theodore's oldest son ran the store in town and his wife ran people's lives. His younger son, Karl Joseph, ran the mill and pretty much rebelled against anything his father wanted. Thanks to the greedy doings of George, Sally and her father Judge Markham, Sophie is left nothing and Karl is kind of shanghaied into remaining in town (German Mills, Pennsylvania). Did I mention the story takes place after the Civil War? Well it does, and Karl is one of the veterans of said war.
This is a true period piece. Sophie is all about duty. Duty to her family (who she had hoped Herr Wilbach will bring over), duty as a wife... then when her husband dies suddenly, duty to be Herr Karl's housekeeper. I almost feel sorry for her. Okay, I do feel sorry for her. She barely knows English, she was married for a day to a man old enough to be her grandfather and she's terrified of Karl. The bright spot for her initially is Divine Daniels and her family, they are African Americans but the book uses Black (and Negroes). While the town is called German Mills, not all the townsfolk are German. We meet the Irish McNally's who Herr Theodore didn't approve of but were good friends to Karl.
While this isn't my favorite period for romance, Ms. Waldron has made me love it! I was very pleased Sophie wasn't a German version of Scarlett O'Hara and Karl a German version of Rhett Butler. While I liked those movie characters, I love these characters! I enjoyed the fact that Ms. Waldron kept a good pace throughout the story and gave us (Sophie, Karl and I) time to really fall in love. Having grown up with Spanish as a second language, it was very interesting to see the country from the view of a German with English as her second language. I had a few moments of being on the edge with tornadoes, tom cats, and sick children, but this is an excellent, historical romance and I couldn't stop smiling when I finished it.
Reviewer: Teresa T.
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