BANDIT'S HOPE is the second book in Ms. Gruver's Backwoods Brides series but it easily stands alone. Its an older book, one I didn't get read four years ago, but for fans of historical fiction, it's a treasure found. Mariah is a strong, feisty woman, on the verge of making a stupid mistake. The book starts with the mandatory death (for formula historical romances) but it is done in such an unique way that it instantly grabbed my attention. Unfortunately, that attention wasn't held, as the story dragged (except for occasional flashes of brilliance) for the rest of the book. Fans of Ms. Gruver might disagree. The story was written in a stellar manner, and one could easily dissect it to teach the finer points of writing historical romance to a beginner (which is good for those who learn best by example).
I cared deeply for Tiller. My heart went out to him and I loved Mrs. Vee and Otis. Dear, dear characters.
If you like historical romance and haven't given Ms. Grover a try yet, pick up BANDIT'S HOPE. Previous characters from the first book in the series do make an appearance, For those who like to read them in order the first book is Raider's Heart.
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 Ã¢â¬Ëbefriended' 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.