Temperance Peabody is a thirty-two-year-old spinster with a farm to run, and her only hired hand is a cantankerous drunk. With a cholera epidemic in the area, Temperance cares for some of the affected families. When several people die, leaving their children orphans, Temperance steps in to care for the kids. God soon makes it clear that He wants her to take the children back east to their relatives. But Temperance knows she cant make the rugged trip alone, and the only man she can hornswoggle into helping her is her hired handand even then, she has to agree to something that challenges her Christian ethics.
Thaddeus Brennan cant figure out how he got wrangled into guiding a prudish Bible-preaching spinster and six children back east. Thousands of people are traveling west on the Oregon Trail but nobody is going eastexcept them. Thad has his hands full dodging Indians, running from the law, and managing to keep safe his motley crew. When Quaid, an old friend, joins their ranks, Thad is grateful to have another man around. But when Quaid turns his gaze on Temperance, Thad cant understand why it bothers him. He has no interest in wooing the plain spinster, so why is he so irritated when Temperance seems to welcome Quaids attentions?
Temperance has never known the attraction of a man and isnt sure how to react to Quaids obvious interest. Her parents shooed away any suitors that came calling, so she never spent much time around men. Will she find romance on the long trip from Oregon to Louisiana? Will she be able to give up the children she has come to love?
A MAN FOR TEMPERANCE is an interesting read. Thaddeus, the hero, is a man who can hardly be called heroic in the beginning. Hes cranky, often drunk, rude, and smelly, but he can be bold and a fierce defender when necessary. Temperance seems a bit naïve for a woman in her thirties, but shes honest, caring, and devoted to her faith. Gilbert Morris brings the backward trip on the Oregon Trail to life with interesting details that he has deftly woven in to the storyline. The story moves at a steady pace, much like the oxen pulling the covered wagon, and rapid point of view changes can be confusing at times, but readers will overlook that for an enjoyable tale of two unlikely rescuers helping a half dozen children. The kids and a lady of the night named Belle make interesting secondary characters and liven up the story.
The take home value of A MAN FOR TEMPERANCE is two-fold. First, nobody is beyond the reach of Gods redemption, and second, God can work things out for good even if it seems theres no possible way. For a trip back to when days moved at a slower pace and life was about surviving, try A MAN FOR TEMPERANCE.
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