Caught in the Middle (Ladies of Caldwell County Book #3) by Regina Jennings
Bethany house Publishers, April 1, 2014

She Wants the Freedom of the Open Plains.

He Wants the Prestige of a Successful Career.

Neither is Ready for What Comes Instead.
The train to Garber, Texas, is supposed to bring life’s next victory to Nicholas Lovelace. Instead, it gets held up by robbers who are thwarted by the last person Nick ever expected–Anne Tillerton from back home in Prairie Lea.

Anne’s been hiding away as a buffalo hunter. She’s only in town to find their runaway cook, but the woman flees–leaving Anne with her infant son. With Nick the only person Anne knows in town, the two form an unlikely team as they try to figure out what to do with the child.

But being in town means acting and dressing for polite society–and it’s not going well for Anne. Meanwhile, Nick’s work is bringing new pressures, and being seen with a rough-around-the-edges woman isn’t helping his reputation. Caught between their own dreams, a deepening relationship, and others’ expectations, can the pair find their way to love?

Regina Jennings is another new author to me and what a find! This book took me by surprise from beginning to end.

Anne Tillerton is a heroine not seen much in books. She’s a woman dressing as a man, doing a man’s job. She stubborn, deadly with a gun and not afraid+ to say it like it is. She also has a big problem with God and  submitting her life to him or anyone else.

Nicholas Lovelace is a man who likes nice things and wants his career to be more than successful. He has his road mapped out and when an train robbery throws Anne Tillerton in his path, his well ordered life gets thrown out the window.

Slowly both Anne and Nicholas form a truce of sorts which develops into a strong friendship. With Anne almost skittish when it comes to men, Nicholas faces a tough battle to win her affections. Anne disappoints him a few times because she expects him to disappoint her.

What I loved though about this book was the journey these characters had to take individually to be truly changed. Nicholas had to decide if following the God he professed to believe in was something he was prepared to do – no matter what. He is tested and I was proud of him. Anne is tested too, to put her trust in the God she doesn’t want to trust. Can she give her all and will he still be there for her? Both these characters hurt in this book and they are there for each other as the journey gets hard. I loved that about these two. I loved that the author took them to hard places and brought them through that with grace and dignity.

I will be reading more from this author!

Thank you to NetGalley for a copy of this novel for review.  I was in no way obliged to give a positive review