For many reasons, I felt the urge to pick this story up, but I grin to admit that the biggest one was that the setting is not a half-hour southwest of where I live. How could I resist a story set on home turf even if it was in the past? The second chance romance, historical era, and new to me author were all factors that had me eager to give this one a read.
The story opens with intrepid woman journalist, Mia Roper, returning to the home town she swore she would never see again after her fiancé broke his word to follow her to Boston. Mia went without Ayden to make her mark and follow her dreams while Ayden stayed behind to help out his family and pursue his career dreams as a professor of history at the local college. She thought she was beyond her feelings of anger and heartbreak, but riding the train into Hillsdale a year and a half after she left has brought all the memories back. If the assignment from the women’s magazine editor to interview women college students and those who graduated from her alma mater wasn’t so important to gaining a permanent position on staff at the magazine, she would have avoided it. She’ll sneak into town, do her research and the article, and leave. But then a collision with another train, fire, injured passengers, a lost child alone, and her former fiancé out helping with the rescue efforts send her plans crashing about her.
Ayden Goswell has adjusted to watching the woman he loved leave without him placing her career over what they had together. Now, he is seeing a sweet and lovely young lady, gentle and gracious with no big ambitious plans who won’t break his heart. He is looking for the college to give him a permanent post as history professor and he will settle down into marriage and life in Hillsdale. But then one look into the eyes of the fiery woman who broke his heart and his equanimity is gone and all the feelings he buried rise to the surface. He wants to avoid Mia, but they have a young boy that needs to be reunited with his parents and all the people left stranded from the crash in the cold winter need help. Surely he can guard his heart and stay true to his course until Mia disappears out of his life again?
Alright, this was a second chance romance with two reluctant people brought together due to circumstances. They both seem to have legit reasons for their anger and it seems a hopeless cause at first glance even if they wanted to make amends. Mia is the more riled of the two and gets down right mean with her hurt and anger though both are fairly antagonistic in the beginning. I found the slow reconciliation and growing understanding well written and loved how the author brought them to see beyond each other’s failings to their own and on to a solution if they will set pride and past grievance aside to take it.
The historical situations was an interesting one. Mia is trying to make her way in a world little suited for professional women and she fights to be taken seriously and accepted. Ayden always encouraged her career and promotes women’s educations. The significance of the college in Hillsdale where Mia has come for her writing assignment and Ayden teaches is that it is one of the few at that time where men and women can both come in a co-ed environment to seek an education and earn a degree. I thought the author did a great job not just with the historical setting, but the social mores of the time.
There is a bit of suspense and mystery that make things exciting. I liked what it brought to the story, but also that it was not a strong piece since the romance conflict was already a strong one and this could have overbalanced into too much going on.
All in all, this was a lovely sweet historical romance that I was glad to read and definitely recommend to others.
I received this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.