Bandit's Hope takes place on the Natchez Trace in 1882. When Mariah Bell promised her Indian mother to always keep Bell's Inn, she didn't realize what drastic measures she would have to take to fulfill that promise. Tiller McRae leaves his gang of robbers but doesn't plan on feeling guilty about his past. The author manages to make you feel sorry for Tiller when the last man he was involved in "distracting" is brought to the Inn. The first few chapters introduced so many characters that I had difficulty keeping them straight. I felt that perhaps some of them could have been introduced into the story a little later. Overall the story by Marcia Gruver was well written with surprises in the end and I would recommend it to others.
I enjoyed Raiders Heart and was delighted to be reunited with some of the characters of that book in Bandit's Hope. I didn't like Tiller in the opening pages. But as learned and loved and grew I learned to appreciate him. I loved Otis Gooch and how he helped Tiller learn to accept Christ's forgiveness. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Reddick MacRae (known as Tiller) left home many years ago with his cousin?, attracted by the drifter lifestyle. He travelled with a band of thieves, but didn't consider himself to be a thief because he was the decoy who â€˜befriended' the potential victim before the others arrive to commit the robbery. After stealing the life savings of an old man, Tiller suddenly develops a conscience and leaves the gang, ending up at the Bell Inn, owned by John Coffee Bell.
Mariah is half-Choctaw Indian, and had promised her dying mother that she will maintain ownership of the Inn that once stood on their tribe's land. She reasons that no one will permit a half-Indian female to maintain ownership of the property, so she must hide her father's death until she can marry. Her initial thought is to "find a husband with a strong back and a feeble mind", but the arrival of Tiller MacRae sends her thoughts in other directions_ Tiller agrees to work for room and board, undertaking some necessary improvements to the Inn, but the arrival of the injured Otis Gooch with his God talk disturbs both Mariah and Tiller as their relationship develops despite their secrets.
Bandit's Hope had an interesting premise and a terrific opening sentence that immediately grabbed me - "Mariah Bell reached the bottom landing, stumbling under the wright of the most precious cross she'd ever had to bear. Balancing her father's lifeless body _" . Unfortunately, the novel went downhill from there, although it did improve towards the end. The writing had occasional flashes of brilliance, the inclusion of the local Indian culture in the plot was original and the characters were well-written and interesting. But overall, while overall Bandit's Hope was a pleasant enough diversion, it was not a compelling read.
Thanks to NetGalley and Barbour for providing a free ebook to review.
A book of forgiveness and mercy. Tiller finds hope while staying at Bell's Inn. Also the man he helped his fried, Nathan, and gang rob shows up at end. Otis is a unique character and in the end Tiller McRae finds forgiveness from him and God. He also makes things right.
Mariah runs the Inn and is trying to keep the secret of her Dad's death so she will not lose the inn and place her Mom and Dad are buried.
I recommend you read Book 1 of the Backwoods Brides first. Then you will see things more clearly throughout the book.
Tiller's Ma starving herself and her son while hiding all money really can happen. I knew a Preacher's wife growing up who hid money all over the house. She was a lot like Tiller's Mom. Her husband had enough to keep him the rest of his life at her death. So this part of story I could relate to first hand.
Mariah did not intend to fall in love with Tiller. She had her plans laid to save her inn. Plans that back fired and left her in a bad place. Tiller and others rescued her.
Mariah saw the true Tiller. I think sometimes people get messed up in things and can change and find true hope.
Marcia Gruver has crafted another masterpiece of a book in Bandit's Hope; a tale of love, forgiveness, greed, and deceit, in 19th century Mississippi. Mariah Bell is a beautiful half Choctaw woman, and owner and proprietess of Bell's Inn, a place that she has promised her deceased mother to never give up. In keeping that promise, Mariah becomes a harborer of a very dark secret, that if revealed, threatens her very relationship with all those she loves. Tiller McRae lands on the doorstep of Bell's Inn in need of shelter for a few days, and Mariah hires him as a handyman to perform long overdue repairs on the inn.
Tiller, a product of an unjust childhood, ran away from home ten years ago with his friend, Nathan, and winds up in more trouble than he can handle; a life of an outlaw and a swindler, but a life that he is tired of and willing to give up for the beautiful Mariah. But if she finds out of his secret past, will she have him?...especially when two very handsome Choctaw Indian braves, and a childhood friend are all vying for Mariah's hand as well? And when a severely injured Otis Gooch is brought to the inn to be nursed back to health, what secret does he hold, that terrifies Tiller to the core, should the elderly man ever regain his memory and reveal it? And who steals Mariah away and why, and will she be rescued before it's too late?
I absolutely loved this tale, with its wonderful characters, twists and turns, and page turning excitement! Marcia Gruver is a master storyteller, who laces her novels with rich Southern humor (I loved Otis Gooch!) to offset the dark times her characters face. With a strong spiritual thread of love and forgiveness throughout, this book is a must read! Although Raider's Heart is the first book in the Backwoods Brides Series, Ms. Gruver does a good job of recapping so that it may be read as a stand alone, although I highly recommend them both. Nicely done!
This book was sent to me by Barbour Publishing and I was not required to give a positive review.