Read with: Paperback
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Hero: Jesse John Harden
Heroine: Anne Margaret Malloy
Date of Publication: November 4, 2003
Started On: March 16, 2012
Finished On: March 17, 2012
The saddest feeling in the world as a reader is to know that an author whose voice beats any other writes no more. Every time I read a book by Maggie Osborne, this is a loss that I feel profoundly to my very soul. Lately I have been very discontent with the books lining my e-book shelves, something that happens to me every now and then. Finally, I decided to dust off my paperback edition of Shotgun Wedding which I bought from Abe Books a couple of months back, and let Maggie Osborne charm her way into my heart and soul and she did exactly just that with a story that kept me turning the pages even into wee hours of the morning.
Jesse John Harden works as the Sheriff of the small town of Marshall in Kansas. A man who prefers to keep to himself, Jesse might show a laid-back front to people but he is a man who gets the job done earning him more than the gratitude of the people of his now hometown.
25 year old Anne Margaret Malloy (Annie) finds herself in a bit of a fix when she discovers that she is pregnant and that she can’t continue to avoid the fact any longer. Annie is someone who has sworn off marriage a long time back, the independence that her parents give her one that she had taken for granted and landed her in the shitload of trouble she finds herself in. Annie likes to think of herself as a New Modern Woman like those who aren’t afraid to move ahead in a man’s world and show the world their worth. But the unexpected pregnancy brings all her dreams crashing down and forces her to face the consequences of the road that she had taken when she had met the father of her child.
Even though Annie’s beau agrees to marry her and do the right thing, she cannot accept the concept of living with a man who robs banks and trains for a living. The mere thought of feeding herself and her children from the profit reaped off by robbing other people of their hard earned wealth leaves a hollow feeling deep inside of her and that is how Annie finds herself the outcast of the town, living with her parents who refuse to let her take the coward’s way out and stay at home wallowing in self-pity.
Through a chain of events, the townsfolk arrive at the conclusion that Jesse is the father of Annie’s unborn child as Annie continues to hide the identity of the man who had fathered her child. Jesse had always had a soft spot for Annie, her unruly red curls a constant source that fires his libido unlike any other. But his plans of gentle days of courting Annie into his world fly out of the window when he reels with the news of Annie’s pregnancy, until he comes up with a plan that would effectively tie Annie’s life to his, all the while convinced that with time he would make Annie fall in love with him.
Shotgun Wedding was a story that was delivered in the classic wit and style that only Maggie Osborne can pull off. She is an author who can continue to juggle a hundred characters in her stories and never make you feel as if you are floundering around trying to pin down who is who. In Shotgun Wedding, Ms. Osborne manages to bring the whole town to life, exploring those little nuances that makes you feel as if you are part of the story that unfolds rather than a guest passing through.
I loved Jesse and clamored for him with everything female inside of me. He is the least “tortured” hero that I have come across by the author and there was a definite charm about his character because of that. But don’t fool yourself into thinking that Jesse won’t make your heart go aflutter because he definitely does that and more. He has that inner strength and formidability etched onto his character that would make your heart beat a tad faster when he enters into the picture. And he is the type of man you can count on to keep the nightmares at bay, to make you feel loved and cherished in those little ways that counts. I loved how Jesse begins to court his pregnant wife and that slow simmering seduction that he begins that just made me hum deep inside and curl my toes in anticipation.
I had a bit of a problem with Annie like most readers. Annie is not without her faults but I expected her to grow out of them and show me the backbone that would make her a worthy partner for Jesse till death does them apart. At first her selfishness in not thinking about the parents who had done nothing but love her and give her everything she had wanted grated on me. But later on, she did learn her lesson and accepted her faults and showed that she was made of better stuff. The one thing that continued to irk me was how Annie tried to shield the activities of the actual father of her child from her husband, putting Jesse inevitably in danger which is only then Annie realizes the blunder she has made. But I guess once again she does learn from her mistake but I found it a bit hard to forgive her and move on like Jesse did.
The one other problem I had with the story was how Jesse didn’t feature in the story as prominently as I wanted. The story was mostly dominated by Annie and the father of her child and though the anger that he harbors towards Jesse for snatching away something that he considers as rightfully his drives the story, I wanted the burgeoning relationship between Jesse and Annie to come into the spotlight and give me a couple of chapters to sigh over long after I was done.
It is the sheer feeling of magic that surrounds me when I start a Maggie Osborne that would always leave me coming back for more. Recommended for fans of Maggie Osborne and fans of marriage of convenience themed romances.
If only. The saddest two words in any language.
Golden shadows shimmered and the musky scent of the candles dizzied every breath. They were on the bed now, an enormous bed with sheets of glowing satin. Clasped in an embrace they rolled together, drinking deep kisses from gasping mouths, hands stroking, teasing, chasing, bodies pressing against each other as if seeking to melt and become one with the other.
He bent his head, bringing his lips near her ear. “Talk of the future confuses you, I know. But I think about it all the time.
His hands moved slowly down her bare arms. “When the time is right, when it’s our time, I want to undress you – slowly – in front of the fire. Slowly, one item at a time. I want to roll down your stockings and unlace your corset. I want to slowly take the pins out of your hair and catch the weight of it in my hands. Then I want to learn the feel of every inch of you.”
[Annie] “I just wondered … is slowly a good thing?”
“Is slowly …” His fingers relaxed and she felt rather than saw his smile. He brushed his fingertips across her lips, then sank back to his pillow. “Oh yes, Annie love. Slowly is a very good thing.”