My Heart Belongs in Fort Bliss, Texas: Priscilla’s Reveille by Erica Vetsch

My Heart Belongs in Ft bliss Texas

Publisher’s Summary

Journey now to Fort Bliss in West Texas of 1874, where…
A Battle Is About to be Waged Between Two Hearts.

Fashion artist Priscilla Hutchens has a grudge against the army that has ruined her family and taken the people she holds most dear. When her twin niece and nephew are left orphaned at Fort Bliss, Texas, she swoops down on Fort Bliss to gain custody of them immediately.

There is just one thing standing in the way—Post surgeon Major Elliot Ryder, who is also the twins uncle, also claims the children and thinks he knows what is best for them.

Priscilla and Elliot will cross swords, but each will have to lay down arms if they are to find a lasting peace on which to form the family both are longing for.  Who will win the battle? Or will a truce be called for the sake of love and family?

My Review

Priscilla Hutchens travels to Ft Bliss, Texas, to rescue her niece, Tessa, and nephew, Timothy, after the untimely death of their parents. She is determined they not be subjected to the type of life she was as an army child being dragged from pillar to post.  They are already too much like her, in that the Army has made them orphans. Major Elliott Ryder is their uncle, and he definitely has something to say about Priscilla’s attitude and where the twins will live.

I especially enjoyed getting to know Priscilla. She is a very spunky, spirited and feisty young woman who is not afraid to speak her mind, but neither is she afraid to get her hands dirty and help when needed.

The twins are fun to meet, too. Tessa is a lot like her Aunt Priscilla in spunkiness and spirit, and she is never still, running full tilt night and day. Timothy, on the other hand, is more circumspect and reserved.

Erica Vetsch has written a captivating story of late 1800s military life. I found myself fascinated by the remarkable detail to the story. Just a few of the topics Miss Vetsch described in interesting and realistic imagery include the primitive conditions, herbal and natural medicinal techniques, military protocol and Army regulations.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Where the Heart Is Romance Collection: Love Is a Journey in Nine Historical Novellas by Andrea Boeshaar, Carol Cox, Rhonda Gibson, Sally Laity, Jane LaMunyon, Claire Sanders, Erica Vetsch and Pamela Kay Tracy

Where the Heart Is

About the Book

Journey along with nine women who find themselves on the move out of their comfortable lives and into the unknown as they set up new homes, take on new jobs, seek out loved ones, and encounter romance. Will their faith endure the hardships, and will love form when life is in transition? Written by nine inspirational romance authors who have a passion for American history and faith.

My Review

In Where the Heart is by Sally Laity, Leah Somerville is heartbroken when she finds out her brother will inherit her home, Laurelwood. Leah hoped and prayed her hard work and dedication to her family and Laurelwood would result in her being given the home, even though it wasn’t the norm in 1860. However, she realizes she must find another place to live when her younger brother boldly announces he is to receive the home immediately.

Rhonda Gibson introduces us to Polly Schultz in The Midwife’s Apprentice. Polly is traveling on the Oregon Trail after being forced from her home by her mentor’s new husband. She is journeying with a family expecting a baby. However, due to a misunderstanding, she has to abandon their wagon and stay with another family.

Murder or Matrimony, by Pamela Kay Tracy, puts us back on the Oregon Trail with Megan Crawford. Megan left her old life behind in the hopes of a new beginning but, she encounters multiple hurdles along the way.

Bride in the Valley, by Andrea Boeshaar, remains on the Oregon Trail. Dillon Trier and Penny Rogers are two young people we met in an earlier story.  Miss Penny isn’t the best cook, especially over a campfire, but the few times Dillon eats with her family, he has no complaints. Dillon’s been ordered by his boss to stay away from the ladies and concentrate on his job of making sure his boss’ spoiled, pampered daughter’s piano makes it safely across the dangerous terrain.

New Garden’s Inspiration, by Claire Sanders, is set in Indiana in 1861. Leah Wall, a young Quaker, living with relatives since the death of her parents, feared she would never marry. Nevertheless, handsome Caleb Whitaker, a widower with two children, asks for her hand in marriage. However, Leah quickly discovers all is not as she thought or dreamed.

A Tender Branch, by Jane LaMunyon, takes place in 1874. Mary Sherwood is grown. However, she never forgave her father for letting the Civil War claim him on the battlefield. She also blames him for her mother’s death and the destruction of their home when she was six years old. Now, she finds out that her father is not only alive, but has the audacity to want to see her, and wants her to travel cross-country to where he has started his new life.

Erica Vetsch brings us the story of Evelyn in Knight and Day. Evelyn is one of four sisters forced out of their home upon their father’s death.  The four have traveled to Wyoming in 1874 as mail order brides. Unbeknownst to Evelyn, her future groom has a child. Evelyn has a child too and hasn’t told her future groom either.

The story of Evelyn’s sister, Emmeline, is picked up in On a White Charger, by Erica Vetsch. Emmeline is a dreamer and fantasizes about a life as a cattle rancher’s wife. Her fantasies are fueled by dime novels and have ill-prepared her for life as a shepherd’s wife; adding insult to injury, the local cattle ranchers don’t like the sheep either.

Carol Cox finishes the collection with The Wonder of Spring. Charlene Matkin and her grandfather, Jed have been trying to support themselves by selling eggs to the town grocer. In her spare time, Charlene writes stories based on her grandfather’s life. She realizes her dream when an out-of-town newspaper wants to publish her stories. However, there is a catch-she has to have a masculine pen name. Charlene is torn between her desire to write and earn enough money to supplement her meager earnings, and her aversion to creating a pen name, thereby perpetrating a falsehood. After much consideration, she decides on the pen name, Charlie.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Friday’s Fiction

Cactus Creek Challenge

The Cactus Creek Challenge by Erica Vetsch

About the Book

Anything he can do, I can do better. At least that was what Cassie Bucknell thought before she pinned on Ben Wilder’s badge and took to patrolling the streets of Cactus Creek, Texas. Cassie has been in love with Ben since primer school, but Ben treats her like a little sister. When they are picked to swap jobs for a month as part of the annual Cactus Creek Challenge in their Texas hometown, the schoolhouse is thrown into an uproar, the jail becomes a temporary bank vault, and Cassie and Ben square off in a battle of wills that becomes a battle for their hearts.

My Thoughts

The Cactus Creek Challenge has a charming and enchanting premise.  Every year in Cactus Creek, Texas, two people swap jobs for a month, but this year there is a new twist. Instead of only two people, there will be four, and women can enter the challenge, too. The townspeople (and the contestants’ families) are initially outraged and/or upset when they realize just what the winners must do. Cassie Bucknell, a schoolteacher, must swap jobs with Ben Wilder, her secret love and sheriff of the town. The other two contestants are Jenny Hart, the town baker, and Carl Gustafson, the town’s livery owner.

Ben’s sure he can wrangle a few schoolchildren.  After all, how much trouble can they get into? However, he’s not sure, nor is he happy, that Cassie can run the job of sheriff.

Erica Vetsch does an incredible job of showing the “challenges” each contestant faces, from Ben’s too cocky attitude toward the woman’s “easy” job of teaching to Carl’s bewilderment at the complexities of baking anything besides biscuits. There are many funny laugh out loud moments. All the same, Ms. Vetsch also shows how each character grows and comes to appreciate the other contestants’ unique skills.

For information about Erica Vetsch, you can visit her at: http://www.ericavetsch.com/

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.