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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Review: A Wife For Big John

by Lauri Robinson

At first sight, Dani Jones fell in love- not with Big John, but with his stove. It’s the latest model and makes her believe her cooking alone will encourage the Boss Man to let her stay until she has enough money to travel to California and be reunited with the man she promised to marry.

Big John Thompson returns from the spring river drive to find the man he hired to cook for the lumberjacks is a slip of a girl- Danielle Jones. To make matters worse, Miss Jones decides John needs a wife, and sets out to find him one...

A WIFE FOR BIG JOHN is a special treat. It engages the reader from the very first sentence, making her feel that she is walking into the house with Big John where he finds a stranger, Dani, firmly entrenched. As Big John’s and Dani’s story unfolds in the timber country of Minnesota during the late 1800’s, affirmation of the basic goodness of people rings loud and clear. The industrious, honest work ethic of the characters calls to mind the tremendous effort it took to make a living and a life in early America.

Lauri Robinson weaves the ordinary but fascinating elements of weather and landscape into the story. This West Texas reader marveled at the building of an ‘ice’ road to drag logs on to get them to the river. Also, the squish of the deep mud after the spring thaw the author uses to create a pivotal scene astonished me.

Ms. Robinson also uses the myriad of tasks necessary in running a household of that era to propel this poignant love story along. As Dani sets about to make herself indispensable, her love affair with the appliances in Big John’s kitchen is a delight to read about. Her happy, energetic, giving ways added to her honesty and loyalty endears Dani to the community of Cass Lake, as does her misguided search for a wife for her boss.

The zest for life permeates the story and the subtle, sometimes hilarious, humor give the reader a look at more facets of both the primary and the secondary characters adding joy to the reading of this novel.

A WIFE FOR BIG JOHN is one to keep so when life is “too-much with us”, we can read it again and escape for a time to the timber land of Minnesota to get our faith in humanity reaffirmed. This Happy-Ever-After story reminds me why I love to read romance.

Review by Camellia