In 1860s Seattle, a man with a wife could secure himself 640 acres of timberland. But because of his wife's untimely death, Joe Denton finds himself about to lose half of his claim. Still in mourning, his best solution is to buy one of those Mercer girls arriving from the East. A woman he'll marry in name but keep around mostly as a cook.
Anna Ivey's journey west with Asa Mercer's girls is an escape from the griefs of her past. She's not supposed to be a bride, though, just a cook for the girls. But when they land, she's handed to Joe Denton and the two find themselves in a knotty situation. She refuses to wed him and he's about to lose his land. With only a few months left, can Joe convince this provoking--but beguiling--easterner to be his bride?
Popular evangelical Christian novelist Gist tells a could-have-happened tale of a Seattle landowner who requires a wife to keep his 640 acres. In the land replete with timber but few women, widower Joe Denton signs a contract with Asa Mercer to deliver the wife he needs to ensure his land rights. Unfortunately, 19-year-old Anna Ivey doesn't realize she's signed on for marriage; she only wants passage out West and a job. Sparks fly as tempers flare when Joe and Anna discover they are at cross-purposes. Acquiescing to common sense as well as a sense of desperation, the two agree to work together temporarily. As Anna cooks up a storm in payment for the traveling debt Joe incurred on her behalf, Joe cooks up his own scheme for wooing Anna into marriage. Gist's work is comical, sassy and sweet "yet her story's ending ties together a bit too neatly for readers who relish real-life finales.