Jill Marie Landis, Author . Ballantine $15.95 (416p) ISBN 978-0-345-44039-6

Following a slew of well-received romance paperbacks (Come Spring; Blue Moon; etc.), Landis serves up a tender, satisfying historical romance as her hardcover debut. Born in 1842, Kate Whittington, abandoned daughter of the Applesby, Maine, town tramp, is raised in a cloistered orphanage. Approaching spinsterhood at the age of 30, Kate answers the newspaper ad of Reed Benton, a widowed Texas rancher seeking a mail-order bride. After months of correspondence, she agrees to a marriage by proxy, packs her bags and heads off to the Texas frontier. When she arrives at Benton's sprawling Lone Star ranch, she is surprised to discover that her new husband is a Texas ranger who defends the frontier against Native Americans, has recently been wounded during a raid on a Comanche village and has captured an eight-year-old Comanche boy he believes may be his long-lost son, Daniel. Even more surprising, Reed Benton denies having ever placed the ad, written the letters or married Kate. Devastated by her crushed dreams yet determined to tame young, wild-haired Daniel, who is fierce in his conviction that he is a true Comanche, Kate agrees to stay on at the ranch to take care of the boy. As Reed convalesces, he finds himself lusting after Kate despite his suspicion that she is a charlatan, responsible for their sham of a marriage. Fully recovered, Reed returns to the frontier as a ranger, only to return to the ranch soon after because Daniel has run away. Kate and Reed team up in their search and not only find the boy but also discover that they have fallen in love. This sweet but not-too-sugary romance is a breezy, beach-blanket read, offering up well-developed characters, a compelling plot line and a pleasing slice of Americana. (July 31)

Reviewed on: 06/25/2001
Release date: 07/01/2001
Genre: Fiction
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-58788-616-4
Open Ebook - 287 pages - 978-0-307-41676-6
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-58788-617-1
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-58788-619-5
Mass Market Paperbound - 416 pages - 978-0-345-47888-7
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-58788-618-8
Hardcover - 620 pages - 978-0-7862-3453-0
MP3 CD - 978-1-59600-615-7
MP3 CD - 978-1-59600-616-4
Mass Market Paperbound - 416 pages - 978-0-345-44040-2
MP3 CD - 978-1-5012-8819-7
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