It’s every woman’s dream of finding someone who respects, loves and ultimately makes her feel safe. These dreams become even more crucial when there is a child to consider. In the 1800’s women’s lives were often arranged to secure their future which basically was as a wife and mother often with seemingly little actual control. For Kate Blakely and her daughter Miranda life with her husband Joseph was a living nightmare. His devoutness made him irrational and violent which led to serious temper flare-ups directed to his wife and young daughter. Joseph believed that his attraction to his lovely wife was a sin. Going by literal interpretations of the holy books both Kate and Miranda needed to be saved and that was his job. Make no mistake Kate made several attempts to escape from Joseph’s madness but society wasn’t tolerate of women’s rights and when push came to shove Joseph’s version of their married life was taken at face value while she was viewed as an unbalanced female. In a moment of panic and horror Kate had no choice but to take matters in hand and from that one unplanned action the lives of both Kate and Miranda were forever changed.
Kate’s initial reaction to her new neighbor Zachariah McGovern wasn’t very flattering. His plan was to grow a wine crop and because of Joseph’s influence Kate pictured her new neighbor as a large drunken man who was to be not only mistrusted but feared. Never judge a book by its cover. Kate would learn through her daughter that Zach was a caring albeit gruff man who was fast becoming Miranda’s hero. And Zach was falling in love with a precocious little girl who carried internal and externals scars that rivaled his own – perhaps a kindred spirit of sorts. Kate was in awe of the special relationship those two shared and yet was determined to keep herself at arm’s length. But Kate couldn’t escape her past and there was a new procrastinator to deal with, Joseph’s brother Ryan – as crazy as his brother and intent on possessing and controlling Kate and Miranda as Joseph had done. And Ryan was threatening to prove that his brother was killed. With the threat of being exposed Kate had a decision to make that would take all her courage. Kate and Zach’s future, if there was to be one, depended on her making a gutsy move. It was surely a gamble but the rewards would be worth it.
Anderson takes us on another soul searching adventure in Coming Up Roses. The story is equal parts sadness and joy even though it takes on a very serious topic – abuse – abuse excused by religious tenets. Anderson pulls no punches with realistic expectations of surviving both physical and emotional abuse. What makes this story so heart wrenching is there are two victims – the wife and the young daughter – seemingly unimaginably horrible and yet there it is. I’ve read all the Coulter series which endeared Anderson to me years ago as she somehow managed to give a happy ever after ending.
Wary of love after her failed first marriage, widow Kate Blakely nonetheless falls for her new neighbor, Zachariah McGovern.