The Merry Widows: Catherine
I had a fairly merry time reading Catherine and Greg’s story. Catherine is a beautiful widow, determined to make her way in the world without help from a man. She’s gone from her father’s house to her husband’s house, and likes having her own house. She agrees to have Gregory Michael Mayfield III as a paying house guest because he is the brother of an old friend.
Greg Michael Mayfield III is a rich and pampered man from back east. The stress of his high-powered life is physically killing him, and he’s accepted a bet with his sister – he will stick it out out west at Catherine’s house to get healthy or he will forfeit a large sum of his fortune to help his sister in her suffragette activities.
When Greg and Catherine meet, they, to say the least, do not have an auspicious beginning. But she needs the money and he cannot lose his bet, so they agree to work it out. To say that this is your typical feisty woman/arrogant man story would be unfair to the author. Instead, Catherine and Greg act in many ways as real people would. They get mad at each other, yet mid-fight, they change their mind, and go on to something else.
Greg is quite willing to change his citified and pampered ways. He’s very nearly too good to be true. There is much good humor in how he learns to fetch eggs from the henhouse, make coffee that’s drinkable, and deal with a very surly cat.
Catherine apparently had a terrible experience as a wife and works very hard to keep Greg away, even after he’s proven he’s a good man. This is where the author lost me. She just never provided me with the information about Catherine’s past life that would show just why she is so very adamant about not accepting Greg and all he has to offer.
And while the fact that the lead characters do tend to act as real people would, I ended up getting lost in some of their discussions – they would be fighting, and then they wouldn’t be, and I had to read the same page again to figure out what had transpired.
I was a bit surprised at how fast they became intimate, given the historical setting of the book. It seems that within a day or two of his moving in, Greg was kissing Catherine and fondling her breasts, and she was allowing it – the actual scene was fine, but this was the 1880’s, not the 1980’s.
Take-charge men are very attractive, especially when they’re not overbearing about it. While Catherine thought he was, at times I wanted to shout at her, “Get over it!” I enjoyed Greg’s eagerness to change. I also enjoyed the humor infused by the author in the secondary characters, the small details, and through the animals in the story.
All in all, the flavor or the small-town west is nicely captured in this book, and, once Catherine’s bluster is set aside, the feelings these two good people have for one another come shining through. If you’ve got a hankering for a western romance, you could do worse.