May 1887—Flora Brimm is determined the fifth time is the charm. Back home she has a reputation as “Fatal Flora,” a woman whose previous four fiancés died in untimely accidents. Flora is desperate to marry, because producing an heir is the only way she can keep her family’s estate. She’s confident this visit to Eureka Springs with her grandmother will help her land a husband.
Pinkerton detective Lucas McMinn is hot on the trail of Will Tucker, the thief who broke his sister’s heart. When he discovers the slippery fellow with Flora, he thinks they are in on the devious plot together. Will Flora be able to convince Lucas of her innocence? Will Lucas catch the elusive Mr. Tucker?
And, more importantly, will Lucas survive if he pursues Flora’s heart?
Flora has a problem. Her grandfather’s will specifically states she must provide an heir in a certain amount of time. If she doesn’t, her family home will land in the hands of her annoying cousin. But to provide an heir, you need a husband and all Flora has is four former fiancés who are all quite dead. Desperate to keep the home for her grandmother and sister, Flora works out a marital agreement with Will Tucker. It’s all quite legal, except Will Tucker is not the man she thinks he is, and an annoying Pinkerton agent is determined to prove it.
The plot of this novel consists of Lucas – with Flora in his charge – pursuing Tucker through three states – Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana – and on paddle steamers up and down the Mississippi River. Suspicions grow that Flora’s fiancés did not die of natural or accidental causes, and in the meantime, Lucas realizes he may be falling in love with Tucker’s bride-to-be. Will that make him dead fiancé number five?
Flora’s Wish is a fun romantic romp with a touch of steam punk thrown in. Flora is a feisty hopeful heiress who ignores Luke’s instructions on a regular basis as she aims to do right by her family. Luke is the Pinkerton agent torn between revenge and justice, who uses tools he’s invented to aid his task. Flora’s grandmother, however, is perhaps the strongest character in the book. Millicent Meriwether Brimm might be elderly and partially deaf, but nothing stops this southern matriarch. She even put General Ulysses S Grant in his place when the Union army took Mississippi, thus ensuring the house survived the war in good condition!
This is the first book in a new series by Kathleen Y’Barbo called The Secret Lives of Will Tucker, but Tucker is only in a couple of scenes. It seems the focus of the narrative is on catching the man. The second book, called Millie’s Treasure, looks as though it will be told along similar lines with a lady taken in by the man and a Pinkerton on the trail. It is due out in August.
Publisher: Harvest House
Publication Date: 01 February 2013
Page Count: 368
Thank you to Harvest House for my free electronic copy of Flora’s Wish, which I downloaded from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.