Holding the Fort by Regina Jennings is the first book in a new series set at Fort Reno in Indian Territory, late 1800s.
Louisa Bell just got fired from her job singing at a saloon in Kansas, and is trying to make herself some money and find her brother. In doing so, she accidentally lands herself a job as a governess for Major Adams’ two daughters.
Major Adams, after losing his wife, needs help raid his two girls at a military fort in Indian Territory. He has no idea how to turn his daughters into proper young ladies and while he has his reservations about Ms. Bell, he is just glad to have the assistance.
There are certain reasons I enjoy Regina Jennings’ novels: the historical western setting, the laugh-out-loud humor, the likable characters, and the unique romances. This novel only had the historical western setting. I found this book really hard to get into, the plot slow-moving, the characters unlikable, and the dialogue and quirkiness usually found in Jennings’ novels missing. I was disappointed in how long Louisa kept up her deception (over 90% of the book), and felt that the romance between her and the major was not believable. They had virtually no chemistry and the only reason that they seemed to get together was their common love for the Major’s daughters. The only redeeming quality of the book for me was the message of salvation woven into it, but even that seemed out of place in the midst of how disappointed I was in the rest of the book. I would recommend Karen Witemeyer’s Head in the Clouds over this book if you’re looking to find a Christian historical western about a governess who falls in love with the child’s father.
Thank you to Net Galley and Bethany House publishers for providing me with an electronic copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own and were not required to be positive.