Elenora Watkins and her daughter are headed for a brand new life in El Dorado, California when their stage is stopped by a bandit. Knowing that her prayers have not been answered lately Elenora decides that she will have to take care of the situation for herself as always.
Upon arrival in El Dorado Elenora's plans quickly fall apart when mercantile owner Miles Rutledge refuses to take her on as a partner in his store. Elenora, not to be daunted decides to open a store of her own instead. Opening her mercantile right across the street from Miles', Elenora is determined to prove to him and to the other men in town that she can run a business just as well as any man.
With Miles' mother taking care of Tildy, Elenora's daughter, and much of the women in town excited about the new products that Elenora brings into her mercantile a battle of the sexes soon ensues between Miles and Elenora.
Miles is determined to never let another strong-willed woman enter his life but slowly Elenora begins to touch his heart. Elenora wants to be able to provide for herself and Tildy and to be treated as an equal partner in the mercantile business. Will these two ever be able to see eye to eye?
I loved this story! There were several parts that made me laugh out loud. The interchanges between Elenora and Miles had sparks flying. From the opening pages with the stagecoach robber to the satisfying ending A BRIDE OPENS SHOP IN EL DORADO, CALIFORNIA kept me entertained throughout. This is definitely going on my favorites shelf!
Witty and charming and so much fun! The kind of read you chuckle the whole way through. I could totally see this on the big screen as a romantic comedy. Snappy dialogue -- the whole competition between Miles and Elenora is just a hoot. They're both so stubborn!!! I'd have to say that Elenora came out on top though -- she has such ingenuous marketing strategies! Poor Miles didn't stand a chance.
Then there's Elenora's daughter, Tildy. I love the warmth and humour a child can bring to a story and Tildy has both in spades along with enough spunk to keep her mother on her toes. And it isn't long before the little girl has Miles wrapped around her pinky finger. Their special friendship is another highlight of the book.
Secondary characters fill out a quirky town and contribute to meddlesome matchmaking which raises the stakes on both an emotional and comedic level.
An intricate plot filled with quite a few surprises kept me eagerly turning pages right to the end. A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California is a wonderful debut novel and I look forward to reading more of Gwyn's books in the years to come.
A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California deftly balances romance, humor, and a thoughtful message. Keli Gwyn has a marvelous knack for dialogue, banter, and humor. But I was even more struck by the message of not letting pride destroy relationships. Both Elenora and Miles long to best the other and prove themselves, but they each learn that being respectful and kind is far better. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and look forward to more from Keli Gwyn.