Pinkerton detective Maggie Cartwright is tasked with going undercover as a mail order bride. Her "fiancé" is widower Garrett Thomas, aka the suspected Whistle-Stop Bandit. No sooner does Maggie arrive in Arizona Territory when she’s confronted with an early wedding date—the clock is ticking on her detective work or she may end up a criminal’s wife! As the day of the wedding draws near, Maggie begins to panic. The problem is that the more she gets to know Garrett and his two adorable children, the harder it is to keep up the deception. Can a man as kind and gentle as Garrett really be the Whistle-Stop Bandit?
About the Author:
Bestselling author Margaret Brownley has published more than thirty-five books and has written for a daytime TV soap.The third book in her popular Undercover Ladies series, Calico Spy, will be published December 2015. She is currently working on a new series. A past Romance Writers of America RITA finalist she has won many literary awards including Readers Choice. Margaret and her husband have three grown children and live in Southern California. Margaret can be reached through her website; www.margaret-brownley.com
My Review: 3 stars
Undercover Bride is the second book in Margaret Brownley’s, Undercover Ladies series, though they each stand alone quite well. I’ve read a few of Margaret’s books, though I have to be honest and say that while I’ve enjoyed all of them, she isn’t on my must-read list. Her books are generally cute, engaging, and make me laugh. I can say the same of this one.
The historical details are well done and I had fun peeking into the life of a Pinkerton operative. Unfortunately, it took me almost half of the book to become really interested in the story. The pacing was so slow, that I kept checking to see how much I had left, hoping it would pick up soon. It did about half-way through and I didn’t want to put it down as I was quickly coming to the climax. I confess, I wondered for a while if this was a novella and I had become confused. Her writing style reminded me of one I had read. Days are passed over with little comment and the writing is very surface, if that makes sense. Just when it seemed something important was about to happen in Maggie and Garrett’s relationship, the scene would end. This frustrated me more than anything. I wanted to “see” something happen between them, rather than just having them think about it. I’m more of a show, than tell kind reader.
Characters are definitely her strong suit. I adore the quirky secondary characters she creates, as well as the main characters that are so realistic. This book is no different. I loved Maggie and was cheering for her the entire story. She is kind and sweet with the children, while also being strong and stubborn. Garrett was also a compelling character, though the story doesn’t come from his point of view that often. Which I actually found rather frustrating. I’m assuming she wrote it like that because he is suspect, but as everyone knows how it’s going to end, I really found leaving him out unnecessary.
The mystery was interesting and probably one of the main things that kept me reading. I enjoyed following Maggie and her fellow operative as they attempted to piece together the evidence and find the real criminal. It definitely upped my appreciation for modern technology and the pioneers in the field of law enforcement. I hadn’t considered how much more difficult it would have been, until reading this book.
Another part of the story I enjoyed was the spiritual aspect. This is a Christian novel and reflects those beliefs. I appreciated the emphasis on how important church is and Maggie’s desire to teach the children about God. I also appreciated that Maggie and Garrett’s individual struggles with faith were not glossed over. On the contrary, there is no swift conversion, but rather at the end, we’re still left with Maggie working toward forgiveness. That realism is sometimes rare to find, as most of us love all of the loose ends neatly tied up (I do).
I will end by saying that I did enjoy this book, though I doubt I will ever read it again and it will not receive a place on my keeper shelf. Sorry. I would recommend it to anyone who loves historical romance and is looking for a nice, easy read for a few hours.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my review! I hope you enjoyed it! Links are below, as always. :)
Barnes & Noble