Sorry...the name of this new author is Marcia Gruver...so I had to do the McGruber thing...yeah, I thought it was funny. So laugh.
Her first book... hmm...can we say trying too hard? Don't get me wrong, it was well written, but just crammed full of characters that were unnecessary to the story she actually wanted to tell. Diamond Duo was based in 1877 Jefferson, Texas the site of a gruesome murder of a prostitute. Apparently, Ms. Gruver wanted to tell this story with little to no information as to the entire story, but surrounded it with a chicky Christian historical fiction...hmm. She used real characters as part of the story about this girl who falls in love (not the prostitute) with this guy who thinks he can never be with the girl (not the prostitute). So the girl becomes friends with this new girl in town (yes, the prostitute) in hopes of this girl (the prostitute) teaching her a thing or two about luring a man. The other chapters not about this are surrounding a black couple who live in Jefferson and face racial problems from the townsfolk. They are really minor minor characters who shouldn't even have their own chapters... they chop the book up too much and make it hard to get into... BECAUSE and this is not a race thing...the black woman is apparently the one who found the body of the prostitute after she is murdered....and that's it. There is no other full story about this woman... just made up fooey... that makes this first novel in the series seem really, really dull.
HOWEVER, the second novel, based some 30 years later with the original girl (not the prostitute) and her daughter, called Chasing Charity, was much, much better. The author comes into her own...not having to worry about including a story about a real murder or some real events...I think the last time she got trapped into some story lines she didn't really like but had to write to make some sort of sense to anything...ANY WHO...
You have set characters in this story--Charity, her mother, Bertha, widowed. Bertha's friend, Mother Dane and her daughter, Emmy. Daniel, who leaves Charity at the altar for Emmy... kinda. And new fellow to town, Buddy Pierce, who falls hard for Charity after helping her and her mother find oil on their land...and no, that 's not why he falls for her.
OK, synopsis: Charity left at altar. Emmy runs after Daniel revealing to all his motives for such action in church. Charity humiliated and alone goes home with mother and is shown oil by Buddy Pierce, oilman from Beaumont, TX (town in Deeanne Gist's novel, Deep in the Heart of Trouble) Oh yeah. They begin their friendship and soon fall in love. He leaves to finish business for Charity's family so that they can be in the money as it were and Charity's father's friend reveals that he and her father made a bet that whose ever daughter married first the other's land would be forfeited to the winner. Since Buddy is out of town and apparently out of luck at this moment, Charity runs to Daniel who has since dropped Emmy for appearing like the town strumpet and he agrees to marry her in 3 days time in secret so that her mother will not lose the land and the money.
Emmy finds this out and runs to find Buddy after Daniel has scared him away with the news that Charity will be married... (as you see, Emmy has seen the error of her ways and wants to make things right...)she takes the train to Houston to find Buddy and bring him back for some sort of Mrs. Robinson-esque escape from the church...as he is still sick from too much sarsaparilla. Yes, being a teetotaler, Buddy got drunk on sarsaparilla. And yes, that is indeed sad. Haha.
So good job on story 2. Let's see if story 3 (Emmy's Equal) is better than that... it comes out this fall.