Read with: Amazon Kindle
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Hero: Quinn Westin
Heroine: Lily Dale
Date of Publication: April 1, 2001
Started On: August 21, 2010
Finished On: August 22, 2010
When you curl up with a novel by Maggie Osborne, you certainly don’t end up reading the usual flavor of romances out there. A Stranger’s Wife certainly fits that category and more and I devoured up the book with the fascination that Ms. Osborne’s books always invoke.
Lily Dale spent the last 5 years of her life at Yuma Women’s Prison. Lily had been sentenced to prison for 10 years for partnering up with her then boyfriend Cy in robbing one of the gambling halls in Tombstone, Cy had convinced Lily with all his talk that he was doing this for Lily and their new born daughter Rose so that they could all start off with a better life somewhere else. But things had gone awfully wrong and Lily had ended up firing the pistol in her hand, which the prosecutors had been convinced that she had done deliberately. Whilst Cy had been hanged to death, Lily had barely escaped with her life and paid for her participation in crime with five years of her life inside the walls of prison where hard labor, torture, beatings and starvation had been part of daily life. The one thing that got Lily through was the hope of reuniting with her daughter Rose in Missouri.
When Lily is released from prison before her sentence is completed, little does she know that it has something to do with the recent visit to the prison by a Mr. Paul Kazinski who had spent a significant amount of time studying and watching her, which had made Lily pretty uncomfortable. And when Lily hears that Paul, who is a Kingmaker wanted to meet with her Lily knows that once again she is going to be coerced into doing something she doesn’t want to do.
When Lily steps inside the coach that Paul asks her to take a ride in with him, the last thing she expected was to come face to face with larger than life Quinn Westin. And when she hears the foolhardy plan that Paul proposes, that she Lily who had never played by the rules of the society pretend to be the wife of the magnificent man who sat in front of her sent shivers of foreboding up and down her spine.
Quinn Westin was a man who thought ahead of his time. With his idealistic views about how society should be shaped up and moved into the future, Quinn was hellbent on being the first governor of the newly created state of Colorado. Quinn was determined that nothing would stay in his path towards being governor. His long term friend and Kingmaker Paul was equally determined that even the disappearance of Miriam, Quinn’s wife wouldn’t cause any glitches in the campaign which had about seven months left.
Thus finding a woman who had an uncanny resemblance to Miriam was disconcerting to say the least. When Quinn lays his eyes on the rough around the edges convict woman who loves a shot of whiskey and smokes and cusses like any man, Quinn is surprised at the immense tug of attraction he feels for Lily. Likewise Lily cannot believe that the smoldering gaze of Quinn could turn everything she had believed in for so long upside down.
Backed into a corner, Lily reluctantly agrees to the plan and thus starts her journey from a commoner into a refined lady of the society. Paul coaches her in all the ways she needs to change in order to become the woman worthy of being Miriam. But what even Paul can’t tamp down is the sensuality and provocative nature of the woman who is to impersonate a woman who was shy and laid back at best.
From the moment Lily embraces the role of becoming Miriam, Lily craves to find out what actually happened to the woman she is pretending to be. The more she tries to pry information from her enigmatic pretend husband and Paul, the more they shut her out and when she does find out Miriam’s story, Lily at first detests Quinn for being the unfeeling man he shows to be.
But little by little, Lily finds out the truth, the truth of actually what went between Quinn and Miriam and how forces outside who wanted to see Quinn fail in the election had contrived to use Miriam’s vulnerability against Quinn and end his political career once and for all.
The epilogue is certainly different not because it was a letter from Lily addressed to Paul but because of how life shaped out in the end for Lily, Miriam and Quinn. Though many a people may not agree with what takes place in this story, Ms. Osborne makes it work with charm, wit and enough sensuality to knock your socks off.