cover image A Touch of Forever

A Touch of Forever

Jo Goodman. Berkley, $7.99 mass market (416p) ISBN 978-0-44-000064-8

A jilted ex-lover and the railroad bring excitement to historical romance star Goodman’s third Cowboys of Colorado tale of romance and intrigue in a late-1890s Colorado town (after A Touch of Flame). Two years after Frost Falls, Colo., resident Jeremiah Salt died in a fire, his widow, Lily, who suffered Jeremiah’s drunken violence for years, has quietly carved out a peaceful life for her four children and just wants to be left alone. There is no room in that life for railroad surveyor Roen Shepard, though he charms her children and addresses her with respect. Their sweet courtship is intellectual as well as sexy, as Roen teaches Lily advanced mathematics while showing her what it is like to be treated tenderly by a man. When Lily gives Roen her trust, it’s a hard-earned victory. Meanwhile, tensions rise between Roen and Fedora Chen, the descendant of Chinese railroad workers, who endures harassment from several of the white townspeople while making plans to stop the railroad’s expansion; and Roen’s pregnant, vicious ex stalks him to Frost Falls. Domestic abuse and racism are meaty topics for a historical romance, but Goodman tackles them with sensitivity, aided by the strong plot and appealing cast. Readers will be eager for their next visit to Frost Falls. Agent: Pamela Hopkins, Hopkins Literary Assoc. (June)