Trouble in Store
By Carol Cox
Published by Bethany House
346 Pages

Back Cover: Historical Suspense and Romance
in the Wild West

Fired from her most recent governess position, Melanie Ross must embrace her last resort: the Arizona mercantile she inherited from her cousin. But Caleb Nelson is positive he inherited the mercantile, and he's not about to let some obstinate woman with newfangled ideas mess up all he's worked for. He's determined to get Melanie married off as soon as possible, and luckily there are plenty of single men in town quite interested in taking her off his hands.
The problem is, Caleb soon realizes he doesn't want her to marry up with any of them. He's drawn to Melanie more every day, and he has to admit some of her ideas for the store unexpectedly offer positive results.

But someone doesn't want the store to succeed, and what used to be just threatening words has escalated into deliberate destruction and lurkers in the night. When a body shows up on the mercantile steps--and the man obviously didn't die from natural causes--things really get dangerous. Can Melanie and Caleb's business--and romance--survive the trouble that's about to come their way?

REVIEW:  I’m thankful for the review copy of a book I enjoyed just as much as Carol Cox'es last one. This novel had everything I enjoy in a book well timed humor, suspense, thrilling in parts and a splash of romance.

I instantly connected with the lead female character Melanie. She’s a single woman, alone, with no family to protect her; but somehow she musters up the courage to go far away to claim what her cousin had left for her in his will. She was willing to start a new life as a partial store owner in a strange land.

I liked the leading man in this novel too! Caleb. He’s a single father of a very active, sweet boy; who finds himself curious about Melanie, which frustrates Caleb.

When Melanie and Caleb meet sparks fly – not the good kind. He wonders who Melanie Ross thinks she is. He’s done very well without her help running the store thank you very much. Then she shows him the letter from her cousin. He doesn't know what to think. She’s a feisty woman who speaks her mind. He wasn't used to that.

Melanie has many challenges to face besides those she has with Caleb. There’s a murder to solve and people to win over and a little boy who she’s getting attached to in spite of the fact that Caleb is his father.

Here’s a peek at Melanie and Caleb’s first meeting: “I want to see Alvin Melson,” Melanie insists.
Caleb: “I’m afraid that isn't possible.”

Irritated, Melanie replies, “Mr. Nelson, over the past 4 days, I have traveled by train, stage coach, and freight wagon…I did not go through all that just to be brushed off like some bothersome insect. Please get him immediately, or at least tell me where I can find him.”

Caleb, “I have every reason to believe that he is in heaven. Miss Ross…my uncle too passed away last month, leaving me sole charge.” There was no mention of Melanie's claim.

Caleb can’t help but notice the qualities of this fine lady. He had to stop looking at her. She was a lady. “A lady, to be sure, and an irritating one at that. One who didn't hesitate to stand her ground when she believed she was right, which seemed to be most of the time…”

I liked what the author said in her notes to the reader – “When Melanie arrived in Arizona, she already felt like her life had been turned upside down.  Becoming the proprietor of the mercantile she inherited from her cousin wasn't a turn she’d expected her life to take. Little did she know that God had even more surprises ahead!"

"I don’t know about you, but I often feel like Melanie did when life throws me a curve. I’d like to have things planned out well in advance and know exactly where I’m going and how to get there…but more often than not, it doesn't work out that way."

"What then? How are we supposed to react when the path we expected to follow turns out to be far different than the one God gives us?...No matter how wonderful I think my plans are, His are always so much better. And that’s where our happy ending truly lies – in trusting Him to know what’s best.”

I whole heartedly agree with Carol. I really enjoyed this story and her characters. It’s a fun read and would make a great book club pick. There’s a lot going on inside these pages. Love the cover too. It’s captivating!

This author's NEW BOOK is called Truth Be Told. I'll be checking that book out soon!

Nora St Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins
Book Fun Magazine
The Book Club Network blog 


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