A Worthy Pursuit
About This Book
A teacher on the run. A bounty hunter in pursuit. Can two enemies learn to trust each other before they both lose what they hold most dear?
Stone Hammond is the best tracker in Texas. He never comes home empty-handed. So when a wealthy railroad investor hires him to find his abducted granddaughter, Stone eagerly accepts.
Charlotte Atherton, former headmistress of Sullivan’s Academy for Exceptional Youths, will do anything to keep her charges safe, especially the orphaned girl entrusted to her care. Charlotte promised Lily’s mother she’d keep the girl away from her unscrupulous grandfather, and nothing will stop Charlotte from fulfilling that pledge. Not even the handsome bounty hunter with surprisingly honest eyes who comes looking for them.
When Miss Atherton produces documentation that shows her to be Lily’s legal guardian, Stone must reevaluate everything he’s been led to believe. Is she villain or victim?
Then a new danger forces Charlotte to trust the man sent to destroy her. Stone vows to protect what he once sought to tear apart. Besides, he’s ready to start a new pursuit: winning Charlotte’s heart.
My expectations are always high when I see Karen Witemeyer’s name on a book cover, and she never disappoints. Bounty hunters, bookworms and Beethoven . . . oh my! I LOVED this story!
Witemeyer’s vivacious writing style shines on every page and makes it so easy to forget that I’m ready a made-up story! She expertly combines deep point-of-view, imagery and metaphor to suck me into the story from the very first line. And her characters are so well-written, with distinct voices and personalities, that they truly come to life and I soon feel I’m joining an adventure with two old friends.
I immediately loved both Charlotte, with her mama-bear protectiveness, and Stone, with his unusual blend of humble bravado. They balanced each other well throughout the entire story and definitely made me root for them. Great secondary characters, too, especially the three children and Mr. Dobson, who immediately reminded me of the crotchety old caretaker at the blind school in the Little House on the Prairie TV series. I felt every moment of the action right along with these character, they were all so lifelike.
Witemeyer always delivers a rollicking story, and every single one of her novels I have devoured in one sitting. A Worthy Pursuit was no exception. I sorted laundry and washed dishes with one hand because I literally could not put this book down! There was plenty to keep me guessing as the story wove through its various settings and scene changes. Who could Charlotte trust? Would Stone’s allies pull through or betray him? The characters faced a lot of internal challenges—learning to trust, overcoming fear, forgiving past wrongs—but there were more than enough villains, wild animals, and runaway horses to give them plenty of external obstacles to overcome as well.
Witemeyer is clearly at home in her late 1800s Texas settings, and if you’ve read any of my other reviews on this site, you already know that’s not exactly my favorite. But Witemeyer is definitely one of the few exceptions on my bookshelf! I also loved the inclusion of dime novels, and how their real-life inspirations do and don’t live up to the hype. As a pianist, I also appreciated the intricate touches Witemeyer brought to the story as she described Charlotte’s and one of her students’ piano playing. Very beautiful!
Enemies from the opening page, Charlotte and Stone definitely have a lot to overcome in order to fall in love. And I enjoyed how they’re both slightly older characters than often found in romance novels today; and their ages played well into the angst of their romance. And Stone is a most swoon-worthy hero! He knows what—and who—he wants, but woos with patience and diligence, not just words. His intentions are made crystal clear, but he doesn’t force himself on Charlotte; he draws her in gently, and they absolutely earn their happily-ever-after.
One of Stone’s few possessions is his mother’s Bible, and I loved how this story played against type by letting the rough-and-tumble bounty hunter lead the faith elements of the story. Great spiritual themes of trust, relinquishing control, sacrifice, and clinging to joy even in the darkest of life’s moments all shine in A Worthy Pursuit.
This is a western, so there are scenes of gun play, chases on horseback, and such, but nothing is graphic or included just for shock value; these harrowing elements would make the movie of this book rated PG at most. And there is potential to see some of these characters again in the future. I, for one, can’t wait!
Saddle up for another action-packed, swoon-worthy historical romance! Karen Witemeyer fans old and new will love this story of a bounty hunter with a heart of gold and a timid teacher with fierce protective instincts. Reminiscent of one of her earlier novels, Head in the Clouds, Witemeyer once again delivers a dynamite story that historical romance fans will definitely want to pursue.
Available June 2, 2015 from Bethany House Publishers