The Ballad of Hattie Taylor

Susan Andersen. Berkley, $16 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-0-593-19786-8
Andersen (It Had to Be You) loads this addictive historical romance with charismatic characters and well-handled drama. In 1899, 11-year-old Hattie Taylor is sent to Mattawa, Ore., to live with a distant relative following the death of her father. Hattie, who’s spent her young life running wild in Nevada, is way out of her element in her “aunt” Augusta’s genteel world. Augusta’s son, 22-year-old Jacob Murdock, is initially appalled by his mother’s decision to take in the hellion, but to his surprise, he grows quite fond of Hattie, finding her guts and exuberance a breath of fresh air. Hattie, for her part, has a girlish crush on Jacob and dreams of marrying him when she grows up—despite his betrothal to someone else. The pair remain close through Jacob’s marriage, the death of his wife and child, and Hattie’s maturation from girl to woman. Their friendship eventually transforms into love, though it hits some traumatizing bumps along the way, as when Hattie is raped by the family lawyer. Andersen tackles this sensitive subject with the utmost care, and does a good job handling Hattie and Jacob’s transition into lovers, though some readers will be turned off by the age gap and familial relationship between them. A powerful plot, vibrant characterization, and stirring dialogue make this romance a delight. Agent: Meg Ruley, Jane Rotrosen Agency. (Jan.)
Reviewed on : 09/18/2020
Release date: 01/05/2021
Genre: Romance/Erotica
Book - 978-0-593-19787-5
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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