This is one of those fun frontier stories of a temporary or
convenient relationship to preserve appearances. Only in
the case of A TEMPORARY FAMILY the stakes are quite a bit
higher. In 1869 Nebraska, the wounds left by the recent
war still run deep. A young woman travelling with three
children arrives at a stage stop in a mouldering mine town.
Tilly Hargreaves is caring for her nieces who were orphaned
by the war. As one girl isn't well, they stay for a few
days; those roads are exhausting.
Only former soldier Nolan West, the staging master who
likes life quiet and orderly, is around when a grim bunch
of men ride into town. They're gold thieves after a
shipment. Nolan figures the best way to protect Tilly and
the girls is to claim them all as his own.
Tilly is a highly respectable young lady who has worked in
her father's law firm, but the soldiers returning home
meant that women lost their jobs. She's hoping to meet
interesting people and find suitable occupation at the end
of the journey. Well, faking a marriage in a one-horse town
wasn't what she had in mind, but if it keeps the children
safe she'll do it. Lucky for her, Nolan is a very decent
man, if he has his quirks. Those desperate outlaws are
something else altogether.
The main feature of this tense tale is the all but
abandoned mining town, which Tilly and the girls explore.
From a racoon in a stove to a collapsing floor, we get
plenty of excitement. Poor Nolan hates confined spaces but
has to enter some of them, while trying to keep up the
impromptu family act. Sometimes we only learn a person's
true character under pressure.
Sherri Shackelford has written a series called Prairie
Courtship of which this is one, and she enjoys researching
her historical backgrounds. The romance is suitable for any
reader and I found it very interesting to learn about the
life and times for an independent woman. A TEMPORARY FAMILY
is an enjoyable historical adventure with a developing
When Tilly Hargreaves and her three nieces are stranded at
his small stagecoach station in an abandoned town and
threatened by outlaws, Nolan West must protect them. And the
only way he can do that is by pretending he's married to
Tilly. But can the former solider, whose only wish is for
solitude, stop himself from growing attached to his
Tilly knows the charade is necessary to keep her and the
girls safe, but now her heart is in danger. The longer she
pretends the stoic station agent is her husband, the more
genuine their union feels. Nolan believes he's better off
alone, but Tilly's certain that if he'd only open his heart
to his make-believe family, he'd want to claim them as his