A German Brewmaster’s adventures of leaving home, traveling to America, hitting the Oregon Trail, and building his new brewery along with the additional story of the wife he was forced to leave behind made for a colorful, engaging historical romance.
I love when a writer tackles either a less popular historical era or a less written about historical setting or element. In this case, the story was split between that of the German states and it’s people during the American Gold Rush and prime pioneering years. The author didn’t stint on the culture and society of the times and it was fun to see Burke encounter historical American icons along the way. I first caught on when he met western outfitter, Levi Strauss.
And if that weren’t enough, this was a romance trope that I enjoy- the marriage of convenience. Burke is the third son of a successful German brewmaster and has skills of his own, but he is not one of the two favored sons simply because his existence is not welcome. His father can’t stand the sight of him because his birth was the cause of his mother’s death. Burke is the one married off to a young girl he has never met- the daughter of a carter and below his station- and he is told that he’ll be sent to America to expand the family business there. Burke makes the most of his situation both falling for and gently courting his new bride and also taking on his father’s order and proving his worth on the journey across the world.
Now, Burke’s new wife, Lily, is also one who has been disappointed by life. The man she thought to marry spurns her because he wants to marry up in status and he definitely doesn’t want a wife as independent as Lily. Now her father agrees to a match that will advance her in status. Lily is wary, but starts to hope when Burke is much better than she ever expected. For one, he doesn’t mind that she has her own ideas and he supports her business endeavors. He is gentle, kind, and protective. Now, he is on a long and perilous journey that will take months and he will have to build up a business from scratch. Meanwhile, her former love interest is sneaking into his boss’s wife’s bed and pretending to court the boss’ daughter all while staying close to Lily and she lets him.
Burke is tested the entire journey, but he comes into his own making wise choices and wiser friendships. He longs to send for Lily and longs for her. Only, he has no idea that a snake is infiltrating his Eden and might destroy much.
Alright, this was a fantastic adventure. The writing style took some adjustment as the scenes and narration flip back and forth quickly. Once I adjusted, I had no trouble focusing. I loved going along with Burke for all of his part of the story and I loved seeing others value him. I even enjoyed seeing Lily’s success back home. But… yeah, there’s a but.
Lily. Bless the dingbat’s heart. She is so duped by her former crush, Josh, and she stupidly lets him hurt everyone in her circle of family and friends because she won’t act against him when it’s in her power to stop him. She especially lets him really go after Burke. She doesn’t grow and learn or feel responsible for her part in things Josh did. It was disappointing because she starts out as this fiery woman who starts her own business, makes a success, and cares for her father along with Burke’s remaining family, but then she just fizzles out into a ninny who sabotages her own marriage and the lives of those around her for the sake of a villain. The author gives some insight later in the story into why this is and it makes some sense, but it doesn’t change my opinion.
On a side note, I don’t normally bring up pricing, but I found $15.99 for an electronic novel-length book beyond excessive.
All in all, I enjoyed the author’s immigration tale and adventure along the Oregon Trail and also Lily’s own adventures. I thought she wrote colorful, entertaining scenes and characters. Historical fiction and historical romance fans who want something out of the upper class drawing and ballrooms should give this a try.
My thanks to the author for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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