When Eliza Jane Carter gets off the stagecoach in Gardiner, Texas she's got just one thing on her mind: Teaching other women how to improve their lot in life. She's made it her life's work to travel from town to town educating and advising women about issues like finances and family planning. It's not unusual for some of the men in town to be a little disgruntled when she upsets the status quo, but since Eliza Jane rarely stays in one place for very long, she doesn't let that bother her. When her income is suddenly cut off, Eliza Jane finds herself stranded in Gardiner, with half the population mad at her and the other half not sure what to make of her. Her only allies are the local "working girls" and the town's doctor, Will Martinson.
Will can't help but be attracted to Eliza Jane. She's smart, pretty and unpredictable. And while she might not fit the mold of the "perfect" doctor's wife, she certainly does keep life interesting. But can Will convince Eliza Jane to put her traveling days behind her and settle down in Gardiner?
This was a lot of fun! I hesitated to start the book because I thought Eliza Jane's character would be that dreaded cliché, the man-hating spinster spouting rhetoric that would seem woefully out of place in a late 19th century setting. I'm glad to say that wasn't the case at all. There's a sincerity to the character that is very appealing and her approach to women's "empowerment" seemed in keeping with the time period. She simply wants women to know that they don't have to have a baby every year if they don't want to, and that there are ways of earning money that don't involve taking off your clothes. There's a whole lot of sizzling chemistry between Will and Eliza Jane, and while the love scenes weren't particularly explicit, they were pleasantly steamy.
Now I've read quite a few books by Shannon Stacey, and while it's entirely possible that she's written a "bad" male lead somewhere along the line, I haven't run across him yet! Will is no exception. Intelligent, charming, good-looking - but all in a down-to-earth way that puts him a cut above many of the fantasy males that populate Romancelandia.
There's a lot of humor in the story and I read most of the book with a goofy smile on my face. The title is a bit misleading - there's no "taming" to speak of; Will likes Eliza Jane just the way she is, and I liked Will all the better for it.
At just over 200 pages this is a full length novel, though a fairly short one. There's occasional strong language and some moderate sexual content. There's a follow-up to this book that tells the story of the town sheriff,Becoming Miss Becky . Loved the clever little epilogue.