Get out the handkerchiefs ladies, this is a good one! Joe’s Wife is a three hanky read in the best sense. It’s a marriage of convenience story between a widow from a good family and a man who is the son of the town whore.
When Tye Hatcher came home from the Civil War, no one would hire him. No matter that the town had a shortage of able-bodied men, Tye is the son of a prostitute and almost everyone looks down on him. There are a few exceptions. The local minister is a good friend – he and Tye get together on Sunday afternoons to eat pie, drink coffee, smoke and talk a little “man talk.” The other is Meg Tilford. Meg has known Tye since they were both children and she, unlike some, has always been polite and kind to him. Meg is now a widow and is being pressed by her in-laws to sell her ranch, the Circle T, and come live with them.
Meg wants to keep the ranch. It’s all she has left of her late husband Joe, and besides, she loves the place, loves ranch work and the thought of living in town doing embroidery and paying calls chills her. But she needs a man to help her with the ranch and there is only one young man in town who is sound in mind and body – Tye.
Meg proposes an arranged marriage and Tye agrees. The town is shocked, Meg’s former in-laws shun her, but she gets what she wants – a strong man to help her fulfill Joe’s dream. But Tye does not want to be just a hired husband – he has dreams too.
The slow growth of love between Meg and Tye is beautifully portrayed. Tye is a classic wounded hero who sometimes indulges in a bit too much of an “I am not good enough for you” attitude and is taciturn to a fault. But his attitude is understandable given his background.
Meg is a wonderful heroine. There is not a trace of snobbery in her and I loved how she treated Tye with respect from the beginning, even though the marriage cost her – she lost her social position in town. Meg does have to learn to let go of Joe and think of herself as Tye’s wife and slowly but surely, she does.
Also, it’s a minor thing, but I would like to thank Cheryl St. John for making the minister a good guy. I do get a little tired of so often seeing ministers or priests portrayed as censorious or hypocritical. The minister in Joe’s Wife was a good man and a firm friend to Tye and Meg.
There is enough background history in Joe’s Wife to make the reader realize how hard the Civil War hit small towns like the one in this story. Almost every family lost a husband, father, brother or son and many women faced lives without hope of finding a husband. This is real Americana – not just European manners and mores grafted on to American characters.
While, I have several favorite authors who do a good job with European Historical romance novels, it is harder to find good American Historical novels. This is one of them. So grab some hankies and curl up with this one – you’ll be glad you did.
|Review Date:||October 11, 1999|
|Book Type:||American Historical Romance | Frontier/Western Hist Romance|
|Review Tags:||Frontier Romance | Frontier/Western Historical Romance | tearjerker | Western romance|