Evidently part of the “Backwoods Brides” series, Hunter’s Prize, by Marcia Gruver, tells the pleasant, enjoyable tale of Addie McRae, a young woman from Canton, Mississippi, who winds up in Marshall, Texas, as the nanny to an apparently mute – yet precocious – young boy named Ceddy. On her first day in town, Addie runs into Pearson Foster, a fortune hunter in town to search for gold in a sunken ship.
In addition to the romance, there is a mystery to Hunter’s Prize: two thugs are after Ceddy, whom they believe has a large, uncut diamond. Well, Ceddy sure is attached to his rocks …
Hunter’s Prize is more than a romance or mystery novel. It’s also got a Christian sheen to it, as Addie and Pearson do some of their courting at church. Both also seek God’s help in understanding each other and in helping Ceddy. If you aren’t into that kind of thing, never fear – it is tacit enough to not bother you. If you do enjoy a Christian slant, then you will like Hunter’s Prize even more.
This is a pleasant, amiable read. It won’t set your world on fire, nor will it stick with you after you’ve finished it. But while you read it, you will enjoy it. Marcia Gruver knows her characters, and she will make you love them as much as she does. Even secondary characters, such as Priscilla Whitfield, Ceddy’s maiden aunt and Addie’s employer. Priscilla either can help Addie and Pearson come together, or she can keep them apart.
“You took lunch with total strangers?” Miss Whitfield snatched a small crocheted doily from the corner of her desk to fan herself. “Oh my, I hope no one saw you. What was Mariah thinking?”
Addie’s spine stiffened, and she drew up her chin. “My mother may be a bit unconventional at times, but she’s ever the lady. There was nothing improper about our behavior.”
Biting her bottom lip, Miss Whitfield lowered her makeshift fan and leaned to touch Addie’s hand. “Forgive me, dear. I never meant to imply otherwise. I’m a bit concerned, that’s all.”
Her eyes drawn to the letter again, Addie cleared her throat. “This mystery is easily solved. I have errands in Marshall this afternoon.” She reached across the desk. “I’ll be happy to forward this on to Mother. I’m sure she’ll send a timely explanation.”
Snatching the envelope before Addie’s fingers reached it, Miss Whitfield shook her graying head. “Don’t trouble yourself.”
But Addie is troubled, because the letter in question is from Pearson, and Addie’s curiosity about its contents rattles her.
Enjoy Hunter’s Prize for what it is: a sweet, affable book with a sweet, affable story.
Published by Barbour Books and available for pre-order on Amazon.com
Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC!