Perfect Summer Debut: A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, by Keli Gwyn

A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, CA
by Keli Gwyn
Copyright 2012
Barbour Books
ISBN: 9781616265830
About the book:
Love Is Gold in El Dorado, California
Widow Elenora Watkins heads to California with her nine-year-old daughter, Tildy, eager to become a partner in a mercantile. When the mulish owner withdraws his offer because she’s a woman, she opens her own shop. She’s determined to prove herself capable of running a successful business without the help of anyone—including her controlling father, her seemingly distant heavenly Father, and one Miles Rutledge. 

Widower Miles Rutledge is not about to get involved with another willful woman like his late wife, especially when she’s his competition. But the beautiful Elenora may be too hard to resist. When another man appears out to claim Elenora’s heart, Miles searches for a way to win her back. . .while putting her out of business. 

Meanwhile, Maude Rutledge, Miles’s meddling mother, longs to see her son make a good match. And Tildy is just as bent on gaining a loving papa. 

The battle of wills begins, but can anyone win when the competition is more than they bargained for?

My Thoughts:
It's not often that so many debut novels impress me but so far this year I've read a ton (probably a ton, literally!) that I loved and would highly recommend for any romance readers. This latest debut, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, is making my list of awesome first books and has earned its spot in my permanent library. Going into this book I knew that I'd probably enjoy it simply because I've really enjoyed all the "destination" romances that have been published by Barbour but this one is by far my favorite.

Elenora Watkins left her old life behind with the hopes of starting a new life for herself and her daughter, Tildy as a junior partner in Rutledge Mercantile of El Dorado, California. Miles Rutledge's new partner, E. F. Watkins, is not quite what he was expecting especially since she's a Elenora and not an Edward. Unwilling to return to her old life Elenora takes her meager savings and starts her own little shop across the street.

Never before has the lyric, "Anything you can do I can do better..," come to my mind while reading a romance but it certainly fit with this story. I absolutely loved the back and forth competition between Miles and Elenora concerning everything from their shops, their violin playing, to shooting a gun all while watching them grow closer together. I was a little worried about Miles at first since he admitted to being something of a dandy but as the story unfolded he began to remind me of a certain Austen hero (yeah, that Darcy fellow) we all know an love. He was a bit cold at first but boy does he warm up! As for Ellie she is the perfect heroine. She is probably the most stubborn woman that I've ever come across in a book but it's not off-putting at all. Sometimes hardheaded heroines definitely make for some serious eye roll moments in a book but not so with Ellie! She definitely does not give in easily and she goes for EVERYTHING with gusto.

Between Miles and Ellie alone I didn't want their story to end but throw in her precocious daughter, Matilida aka Tildy, and you definitely have a winner. Hopefully Tildy grows up and gets her own story. She is a bundle of energy and never quits gabbing so I think I'd like her to meet a man whose ears she can talk off. ;-)

A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, is a fine debut that was worth the wait. Keli Gwyn is a truly talented writer who has a knack for writing an engaging and fun story that's perfect to read on a sunny summer day. Bring on the next book Ms. Gwyn!

To learn more about Keli and her books take a look around her WEBSITE.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars *A Favorite!*

*I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.* 

Happy Reading!


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