It is 1859 and Ruth Caldwell is being sent home to St. Louis, Missouri, USA from yet another finishing school. Ruth, described as a misfit, is unique for ladies of her day. She tries so hard but tends to be accident prone and has a way of putting her foot in her mouth on a regular basis. She has a very bright mind and likes to use it. She has no intention of letting men have all the say! Upon returning home though, she realises how sick her mother actually is and regrets not having come home earlier. For the next six months, Ruth rarely leaves her side.
Her mother's dying wish is that Ruth mail a letter via the Pony Express to her father out in California and then go out there. Unbeknown to either of them, her father died two years ago. Josh McCain, 24 is the new owner of Broken P Ranch along with his dad. When Josh receives the letter he does not want her to come. Too late! Here she is!
How embarrassing for Ruth, when she meets Josh off he coach and has a bout of hiccups. This happens quite frequently throughout the story when Ruth gets nervous. Quite amusing. On this first occasion though, Josh assumes she likes her alcohol like her father did. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth! Ruth is a Christian, as is Josh, and she also knows that her mama is now with the Lord.
How will Josh's father react to Ruth's arrival? He has been keeping the books for the ranch but has he been upright? What does the Last Will and Testament say?
There are two main families in this book: the McCains (Josh, his sister Laney and their father) and the O'Sullivans who run a Pony Express station. The girls spend many days with the O'Sullivans and I love the wisdom that Mrs. O'Sullivan dishes out.
Love, suspense, deceit and danger are all present in this book. Who is out to get Ruth? Is her life truly in danger?
This is a Christian novel and therefore scriptures and biblical wisdom are strewn throughout. I absolutely LOVED this story. It was fresh, well-written, easy to read and I did not want to put it down. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
on 11 July 2006
LETTER PERFECT was for this reviewer an introduction to a new author who impressed me with her lovely story of faith, love and filled with characters that will warm your heart.
Ruth Caldwell is a young woman of uncommon beauty and kindness who unfortunately has a penchant for creating chaos --- but only with the best intentions. As a result, she has been sent home from her latest `finishing school'. Home once again, Ruth is dismayed to discover that her beloved mother is ailing and has been for some time. It doesn't take Ruth long to realize that her ailing mother is in fact dying, and she extracts from Ruth a promise that upon her death, Ruth will travel to meet the father she's never seen.
After an arduous three week stage coach ride Ruth, who attracts smudges and dirt like a magnet, gets off the stagecoach and is met by Josh McCain who is at first dismayed that she has shown up bedraggled and all. Knowing that her very existence threatens his family's claim to the ranch he has brought back from near ruin, he urges her to claim her inheritance. When Ruth, the accident-prone misfit starts to have more serious accidents than can be explained, Josh begins to uncover a sinister plot that will have serious repercussions for all concerned and realizes at the same time that he's fallen in love with Ruth.
*** This was a lively and endearing tale that had me both laughing and crying throughout. It was well-written with witty dialog, a sustainable intrigue and positively brilliant characterizations of the leading players and secondary ones as well. Ruth was a gal after my own heart. I fully empathized with her bumbling through life with only the best of intentions and somewhat disastrous results. She may have been a bumblebroth in many things but in her self-effacing loving support and kindness towards Josh's sister Laney and towards all she meets, she was heaven sent. Josh, while not depicted as a warrior hero, was a hero nonetheless in my mind as he wore his honor in being a true Christian in his clear support of Ruth's claim to the detriment of his own family's interest. This was a beautiful story of faith and love and one that I could consider as a keeper to read again.
Marilyn Rondeau, RIO - Reviewers International Organization
First off, I confess I did not know this was a Christian book until after I purchased it at the big warehouse store. And I'm glad I bought it there instead of full price, this was a total waste of a day to get through this.
It's disappointing, as the story line could have had great possibilities and I loved the way Ruth was originally portrayed as a bit of a klutz. However, the characters were flat and uninteresting, either black or white with no gray areas between. There are pages and pages of useless conversations and characters that did not develop the story at all (especially Galen's family, I skipped many a chapter on them) and the big surprise of who the villain was (yawn!) was not much of a surprise at all. I mean, who else could it have been?
While I understand this is a Christian book, it seeped through virtually ever word of the book and much too preachy and overbearing for my tastes, and virtually no chemistry between Ruth and Josh. This was one of those books that I prayed for the end to come so I could toss it in the charity pile instead of on my bookshelf to be read again and again.
It's interesting noting from the one other review on this site, and looking at the ones on Amazon US, the only 5 stars are from professional reviewers. Makes one think.