Loving a Wild Stranger
A woman running from her past… straight into the arms of an untamed man
In a moment of desperation, Kathleen Stanton flees her pampered life in Kingston, New York and ends up stranded in a small town in the Michigan Territory. Out of money and forced to rely on her instincts, she impersonates a handsome stranger's mail-order bride.
Committed to her deception, Kathleen calls herself Michelle and starts her new life with Luther in an isolated cabin in the wilderness. Luther can't believe his luck when his beautiful bride arrives, but something doesn't feel right about his new wife. Michelle has terrifying nightmares involving a man named Roger and is reluctant to talk about where she came from.
Luther's friend, Redfeather visits and tries to convince Luther to send Michelle back east. Distrusting Michelle, he warns Luther that his bride is not what she seems. But Luther is in love with Michelle, and he is harboring a secret of his own—one that might force Michelle to reject him when she learns the truth.
Michelle falls in love with Luther and adapts to her new way of life. Together, they face off against brutal townspeople and overcome harsh living conditions. When they finally give in to their desires and agree to become a proper man and wife, a dark figure from Michelle's past resurfaces and threatens to destroy everything.
Wilkins (Trust with Hearts) has created a wonderfully sweet romance (first published in 2014 as Wilderness Bride) set in a small town in the Michigan Territory in 1823. Kathleen Stanton, on the run from her past with nowhere to go, ends up in the town of Ranford. After encountering a handsome stranger and overhearing his conversation, she makes the desperate decision to claim to be his mail-order bride. Luther Dubois sent off for a wife a year prior, since no woman in Ranford wanted to marry a man who was part Ojibwa, and is shocked when Kathleen claims to be his. On Luther's homestead, Kathleen struggles with her new life, so very different than the one she had in New York, while Luther's quiet strength belies his troubled past. Kathleen's lack of trust in men, thanks to her ex-fianc , and Luther's discomfort with his heritage make it hard for them to love each other; meanwhile, there's growing danger to them both from outside forces. The fantastic tension between the two characters as they grapple with their sudden newlywed status and the awkwardness that comes with marrying a perfect stranger keeps this story emotional and realistic as they fall in love. The story flows nicely and does not rush the romance. A few too many story lines crowd the novel, but Wilkins keeps readers interested with strong, complex characters. Fans of pioneer romances will enjoy this one. (BookLife)