cover image Daniel's Bride

Daniel's Bride

Linda Lael Miller. Pocket Books, $6.99 (400pp) ISBN 978-0-671-73166-3

In Washington Territory in the 1870s Jolie McKibben is about to be hanged for bank robbery and murder (although she's innocent) when Dan Beckham, a widower and prosperous farmer, takes a fancy to her and offers to marry her under the terms of a local ""weddin' ordinance."" Faced with the choice of strangling to death or getting married to a stranger, Jolie opts for the latter. But the spirited bride finds it easier to take over cleaning her taciturn husband's house than to puzzle out his character. For his part, Dan alternately gives in to his attraction to Jolie and to his feelings of remorse over what he sees as disloyalty to his first wife. Their lives are further complicated but enriched by Hank and Gemma Wagner, orphan siblings who stow away in Dan's wagon. But before the four of them can make a happy family, Dan and Jolie must deal with the two villains responsible for the murder Jolie had been convicted of. Almost nothing in this romance hasn't been done before, but Miller ( Caroline and the Raider ) does an adequate job of putting the same old dogs through their hoops and should satisfy the genre's diehard fans. (Sept.)