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No Other Will Do Paperback – June 7, 2016
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From the Back Cover
A Ladies of Harper's Station Novel
She Trusts Him for the Job,
But Can She Trust Him With Her Heart?
Men are optional. That was the credo Emma Chandler's suffragette aunts taught her and why she established Harper's Station, a women's colony that offers a fresh start to females in need. But when a dangerous and shadowy assailant tries repeatedly to drive the women out, Emma is forced to admit they might need a man after all. One who can fight. And there is only one man she trusts enough to ask.
Malachi Shaw has finally earned the respect he's always craved by becoming an explosives expert for the railroad. Yet when Emma's telegram arrives, he rushes back to Texas to repay the girl who once saved his life. Only she's not a girl any longer. She's a woman with a mind of her own and a smile that makes a man imagine a future he doesn't deserve.
As the danger intensifies, Emma, Mal, and the ladies of Harper's Station must choose safety or whether to risk everything to fight for their future.
"Witemeyer's latest is an entertaining read with plenty of drama and action, a smidgen of suspense and two main characters with perfect chemistry...And of course, the romance is tender and sigh-worthy--a key reason why her readers keep coming back for more."--RT Book Reviews
About the Author
Winner of the HOLT Medallion and the Carol Award and a finalist for the RITA and Christy Award, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer writes historical romance to give the world more happily-ever-afters. Karen makes her home in Texas, with her husband and three children. Learn more about Karen and her books at www.karenwitemeyer.com.
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Top customer reviews
Perhaps the best part of No Other Will Do is the characters, both the main protagonists and the supporting cast. Emma Chandler is decades ahead of her time when it comes to feminism, but she doesn't embody any stereotypes. In fact, she's still a sweet, feminine woman with a core of steel. She is the definition of a servant leader, one who puts others' needs and safety before her own and mentors people rather than bossing them around. I also loved Malachi Shaw, a man who grew up fighting for his life on the streets, but became the perfect mix of a gentleman and a tough cowboy who fights to the death to protect those he loves. Every time he called Emma his angel, I just wanted to swoon.
The women of Harper's Station had my interest immediately. It's not easy to give so many characters distinctive personality traits, but Karen pulls it off. I feel like I got to know each woman personally, from tough but tender Betty to timid yet wise Grace. Additionally, Karen constantly kept me guessing as to who the traitor was. Every time I thought I had a lead, something would happen to change my mind. Even when I found out her true identity, I was a bit shocked. I love when an author does that. I see this book is the beginning of a series and am looking forward to meeting more Harper's ladies.
If I could change one thing, I suppose it would be Malachi's spiritual trajectory. He goes from distrusting and almost hating God to being a serious believer, but there's not much explanation for why. I assumed it was because of Emma and the aunts' influence, but I wanted to know what his defining moment was. Other than that, No Other Will Do is a well-written story I heartily recommend.
Malachi Shaw could never turn his back on a plea for help from his "angel", Emma Chandler. After corresponding for years with the young woman that was just a teen-ager when he left, Malachi leaves his lucrative employment as an explosives expert for the railroad, and rushes back to Harper's Station to lend aid to Emma. Stunned with the beautiful young woman that greets him, Malachi feels his heart exploding with deep affection, but first things first. He must prove to Emma and her female citizens that he is a man who can be trusted to keep them safe. At least in Emma's mind, no other will do.
Enjoy this pleasant, creative storyline with an overriding sense of climax that comes when safety and danger finally meet face-to-face.
That said, the narrator did a spectacular job. With male voices, female voices, differences in characters and their ages and accents and levels of education and "correct" speech.
Review of the story itself: I'm torn. I'm a big Karen Witemeyer fan. I loved the opening with Mal's childhood experience where he met "his angel", Emma Chandler. Less than two pages in, Ms. Witemeyer had lassoed my heart and I was fully invested in the story, Malachi's life, Emma and her big-hearted character. I LOVED the story. Until we landed in Harper's Station, where the story often dragged, the time spent in character's heads going over the same thought processes again and again made me tired. I've never before, with one of Witemeyer's books, been compelled to check how much of the story remained again and again because I found myself thinking- how much longer can this go on?
This story has more heavy-handed Christian elements and religious elements than I remember her previous books containing. I've read perhaps six of them, and I'd rate this one as the most religious in nature of them all. Lots of scripture, lots of problem solving between characters by reminding the other to pray for guidance or help from the Lord. Lots of time spent in prayer. The rule in Harper's Station? All ladies must attend church services every Sunday. This rule is right alongside "must work". As a church-attending Christian, compelling others to attend church services rubbed me the wrong way.
But I loved "the aunts", and how Mal looked at the big-hearted women (Emma's spinster aunts who raised her after her parents died) as the only mothers he ever knew. He fits in the family but doesn't want to be Emma's brother, can't see himself in any role but as a husband, and wants to claim Emma, spend the rest of his life holding her and loving her. The romance is sweet, believable, and tender. One hour from the end of the audible edition, I found myself disappointed that they'd yet to confess, either one of them, how they felt about the other. They'd kissed, sort of, but both are so filled with doubts, what-if's, and insecurities, that even with the overarching threats and risks to their lives, they 100% trust each other with everything but the truth in their hearts. I wanted to shake them both, lock them in the parlor together, and tell them they can't come out until they 'fess up, admit they're in love, and start working together as a team. But by the time the closing credits rolled, I came to understand, a little better, why the admission of love was literally at the very end. Not my favorite order of operations, but it suited the story.
When the big reveal happened at the end, as to why the outlaws are harassing the ladies of Harper's Station I just thought... huh? Really? The bad guy had to threaten the entire town, ensure everyone left, in order to get what he wanted?
Maybe the next book will be better. I have my fingers crossed. I've read some of Witemeyer's that have lingered in my mind, thoughts, and heart long after the close of the book.
Sensuality Level: Mild, Clean
Violence: Mild to Moderate (Old West type violence and domestic violence, some of which we have to see) Could be a trigger for some.