cover image Caught in the Middle

Caught in the Middle

Regina Jennings. Bethany House, $14.99 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-0-7642-0992-5

Jennings (Sixty Acres and a Bride) creates a strong heroine in this historical romance that veers between comedy and drama. Anne Tillerton has become a tough buffalo hunter in Texas, late 1883, for a good reason; there’s trauma in her past. She’s a good enough shot to save the life of Nicholas Lovelace, a businessman from Anne’s hometown, during a train robbery. Nick’s and Anne’s lots become entangled when Anne becomes responsible for an infant who’s been abandoned by the runaway camp cook Anne is pursuing to bring her back to camp. Nick faces ethical problems and Anne social and emotional ones as the two slowly develop an unlikely relationship. Jennings is a strong writer who has fashioned two complex characters. Occasionally the comic tone seems off given Anne’s difficult backstory. And the child she accidentally acquires, Sammy, at times plays the stilted role of deus ex machina in the plot. But character transformation in this tale will certainly satisfy Christian readers, and others may find memorable characters. Agent: Rachel Kent, Books & Such Literary Management. (Apr.)