[Note: Not only am I an author, I am also an avid reader. It is my hope to offer periodic book reviews to give you a glimpse at my bookshelf, and hopefully encourage you to pick up a good book. Most of what I read is from a Christian worldview, although I do read some secular books from time to time.]
Love on the Line
By Deeanne Gist
Published 2011 by Bethany House
Every woman I know enjoys a good piece of chocolate from time to time. A sweet confection that you can savor for a few moments. Deeanne Gist’s novel “Love on the Line” is comparable to a delectable chocolate treat. A delightful bit of romantic fluff that will put a smile on your face and make you sigh with pleasure.
I had never read any of this author’s work before and I admit this was one of my summer garage sale finds. The cover art is very appealing and was one of the things that caught my interest.
Set in the early 1900’s, Love on the Line takes place in the bustling town of Brenham, Texas. Miss Georgie Gail, the rural switchboard operator, has just been the victim of one of the most notorious gangs of train robbers in the state. The odd thing is, Frank Comer and his gang have won the admiration of the townsfolk, who see him as a type of Robin Hood. Texas Ranger Lucious Landrum has been hard on the tail of the Comer gang but, despite his valiant efforts, he always manages to fall short of capturing their fearless leader. Deducing that the Comer gang is hiding in plain sight in and around the town of Brenham, the Rangers send Lucious Landrum undercover as a telephone salesman and line repairman.
What follows are a series of hilarious exchanges between Georgie – who truly believes a woman can do anything a man can do – and the overbearing Luke Palmer (a.k.a. Lucious Landrum) who wants nothing more than to do his job without any interference from the irritating Miss Gail.
You will find yourself smiling from the very first encounter between Georgie and Luke. I loved both characters and I truly enjoyed the transformation of Luke, how he became softer and so caring toward Georgie. Being a bird lover, I could really relate to Georgie and her love of birds, how she longed to protect them from their enemies – both human and animal – and how she strove to make her yard a sanctuary for them. It was sweet how Luke began to struggle – he loved bird hunting but hated to disappoint Georgie.
In order to bring in Frank Comer, Luke begins to befriend the men in the town that he suspects are involved in the gang. At one point he is forced to do something that he knows will hurt Georgie deeply, but he figures if he is the one to do it then he can control what takes place and limit the damage to her and her reputation. I could really feel his angst and how torn he was with his actions, but he put his job first. Something positive comes from it though. This incident changes Georgie’s heart in regard to Frank Comer. She begins to see that perhaps the train robber isn’t the hero he has been made out to be.
The scene where Georgie discovers Luke’s true identity – Lucious Landrum – was both laughingly funny and touchingly sweet. I am a sucker for romance, love and happy endings, so I liked that Ms. Gist didn’t play around with the two characters’ relationship. Although she didn’t rush them into falling in love, she also didn’t put a lot of stumbling blocks and barriers in their path. As a reader, too much of that kind of thing has a tendency to frustrate me! There is quite a twist at the end, that I won’t reveal here because I wouldn’t want to ruin the surprise for anyone. I can honestly say it was a development that I never expected and didn’t see coming at all – so big kudos to the author for that as well!
This is an inspirational, Christian novel but there are not a lot of Scripture references and not much development in the characters as to their faith or relationship with God. If you are a person who enjoys inspirational romance because it is “clean” but don’t enjoy it when it becomes too “preachy” then you will appreciate this novel as the faith aspect of the characters is definitely not a bright, shining spotlight. This certainly is not a criticism of the book or author, merely an observation.
Love on the Line was a delightfully fun read. I am looking forward to reading more books by Deeanne Gist. Her “Courting Trouble” is waiting on my bookshelf. Happy Reading!