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"Easy on the Heart" by Jodie Thomas. His three older sisters arrive at Cooper's ranch for their baby brother's thirtieth birthday and to find him a wife. Cooper feels old enough to select his own spouse. Mary would be his choice except she is a damn Yankee and the Civil War still rests heavily in his heart. "Coming Home" by Patricia Potter. Civil War veteran Seth returns to his family's Texas ranch only to learn his dad is dead and his twin siblings missing; the ranch is owned by Elizabeth and her father. He plans to regain what he feels was stolen, but is unprepared to fall in love with the rifling carrying enemy. "Tombstone Tess" by Emily Carmichael. In Arizona Tess is irate with her deceased father as he left her with the choice of finding a husband or losing the family ranch. She has two weeks left to find a spouse. An embittered Joshua lost his ranch to his brother. He has nothing so he agrees to marry the hellcat. Neither expected to fall in love. "Finding Home" by Maureen McKade. In Colorado, Caitlin asks her former lover Winston to help her break a horse. Winston has avoided his beloved Caitlin for over a decade because he believes she can do much better than a half-breed like him. Caitlin has never known why he suddenly left her, but this time she plans to make him stay forever. These four terrific late nineteenth century Americana romances star enchanting couples who at first seem wrong for each other until love brings them together. Harriet Klausner
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Writing short stories, I think, is harder to do well than a full novel. Why? The author only has so many pages to get the reader involved and interested in the characters and action; then it is time to resolve the story's problem and close. Each of the four authors did a great job within the number of pages allotted.
EASY ON THE HEART, Jodi Thomas: Thirty year-old Cooper Adams is busy on his ranch in Texas. His 3 old-maid sisters have come from Dallas to help him find a wife.
Cooper isn't opposed to the idea of marriage and a family, but all he knows about women is what he's learned from his 3 domineering sisters (who raised him). Cooper is convinced that he cannot run a ranch and figure out the complex nature of women at the same time.
Cooper really wants to go hide until his sisters give up and return to Dallas. The strange thing is ... things start to happen!
This is a cute, quick story. "Easy on the Heart," first came out in this compilation. In 2006, it was published on its own.
COMING HOME, Patricia Potter: All of the stories were well done; however, this is my favorite. It tells about the difficult time southerners had after the Civil War. As part of Reconstruction, most of the families were uprooted from their property by exorbitant taxes. Potter knows her Civil War/Reconstruction history and weaves a powerful tale.
Sean Sinclair comes home to Texas to find most neighbor families dead or gone. In fact, his family's farm has been sold to carpetbaggers; he plans to remove them with all due haste. However, he soon falls in love with the daughter of the northerner who took his land (for pennies on the dollar). Potter is at her best in this story!