Title: No Other Will Do
Author: Karen Witemeyer
Series: Ladies of Harper’s Station #1
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction
Publishing Date: June 7, 2016
About the Book:
Men are optional. That’s the credo Emma Chandler’s suffragette aunts preached and why she started a successful women’s colony in Harper’s Station, Texas. But when an unknown assailant tries repeatedly to drive them out, Emma admits they might need a man after all. A man who can fight–and she knows just the one.
Malachi Shaw finally earned the respect he craved by becoming an explosives expert for the railroad. Yet when Emma’s plea arrives, he bolts to Harper’s Station to repay the girl who once saved his life. Only she’s not a girl any longer. She’s a woman with a mind of her own and a smile that makes a man imagine a future he doesn’t deserve.
As the danger intensifies, old feelings grow and deepen, but Emma and Mal will need more than love to survive.
It wouldn’t be too far of a stretch to see a community maintained and occupied solely by women today. There are enough advancements in the world and stronger law enforcement for protection that it’s not that difficult to picture. On the other hand, seeing that same type of community 150 years ago isn’t as easy to visualize. The roles of men and women were much more clearly defined. Especially in smaller and newer developing towns, protection was often up to the community members themselves until they could establish their own law enforcement. Karen Witemeyer paints a believable picture of what it would be like for a community run by women in the late 1800’s. While they are able to keep things running smoothly from within, they are ill-prepared for when they are threatened from the outside. While the women look to Emma Chandler for leadership, Emma seeks out a long-lost friend Malachi Shaw for the protection she hopes he can provide them. Although skeptical at first, the women eventually embrace him and they all work together to bring the men threatening their community to justice.
The middle of the book dragged for me but overall I enjoyed the read. I was particularly interested in the dynamic of the relationship between Malachi and Emma. Little did they know how their time together as children would effect them on such deep levels as adults. Once they are reunited the spark is instant, though neither is willing to admit it out loud. With Emma being such a strong and independent leader, Mal is afraid of getting in her way. With a steady job far from their town, Emma doesn’t want to hold Mal back from his dreams either. It was interesting to see how their relationship developed.
If you like action and romance mixed up with drama and suspense, then this would be a good book for you to read. The cast of characters not only added to the drama, but made figuring out their situation even more difficult. There was a reason each of the ladies had sought refuge in their little community. Those that stayed behind had reason to continue to fight for the peace they’d found there. I honestly didn’t know how their story would conclude. I won’t spoil, so if you want to know what happened you’ll just have to read to find out!
Age Appropriateness: I would consider this book a good introduction to the romance genre. There was plenty of other action to hold the interest of younger readers. Although the book is intended more for adults, it’s a fairly clean read. There are several instances of two men on horseback attacking the town in different ways in an attempt to get them to leave, but there is nothing overly graphic. My recommendation is for ages 12 and up.