Saturday, October 14, 2006

DeAnne Gist's The Measure of a Lady ~ Reviewed

The Measure of a Lady
By DeeAnne Gist
Published by Bethany House
ISBN: 0764200739

Rachel van Buren arrives in Gold Rush San Francisco with two wishes: to protect her younger siblings and to return east as soon as possible. Both goals prove more difficult than she could imagine as her brother and sister are lured by the city's dangerous freedom and a missionary-turned-gambler stakes a claim on her heart. Rachel won't give up without a fight though, and soon all will learn an eloquent but humorous lesson about what truly makes a lady.

Speak Politely. Even when you’re the only respectable woman around, protesting the decadence of a city lost to gold fever.

Dress Modestly. Wear your sunbonnet at all times. Ensure nobody sees your work boots muddied by the San Francisco streets.

Remain Devoted to Family. Protect your siblings from the lures of the city, even against their wishes.

Stand Above Reproach. Most difficult when a wonderful man turns out to be a saloon owner.

Rise Above Temptation. No, not even just a little kiss….

When these rules become increasingly difficult to uphold,can Rachel Van Buren remain a beacon of virtue in a city of vice?

Those who love A Bride Most Begrudging will be delighted to discover that Deeanne Gist has done it again with The Measure of a Lady. San Francisco in 1848 is no place for a decent woman. Even if one manages to contend with the ankle-deep mud, the daily ruckus of gunfights, and noisy saloons, there's no place to sleep unless you quarter with the men lured west by the stories of gold.

Should a lady find herself in this indecent shantytown, her best option for survival is to either marry one of the miners or become a woman of ill repute. Going home isn't an option. As soon as the ships pull into port, the sailors abandon their duty and join the city's riotous ways.

It is into just such a city that twenty-five-year-old Rachel Van Buren disembarks with her two younger siblings in tow. She has no intentions of remaining one second longer than necessary, but while they wait for a ship, she isn't going to allow her charges to become corrupted. Neither is she going to wed, and if she has any say about it, she single-handedly is going to oversee that all of San Francisco improves their morality.

But San Francisco isn't without its own allure. Her younger sister is tempted by the flirtations of the men, her brother is attracted making money, and the virtuous Rachel Van Buren is having a hard time remaining upright when around saloon owner Johnnie Parker—a man not about to let morality get in his way of becoming a millionaire and wooing the woman he loves. As Rachel clings to the high standards of a lady, everything spins out of control, forcing her to decide what is really of value and what isn't.

DeeAnne Gist's novels are the perfect medium for crossing over from the Christian market into the general market. Readers who appreciate romance will find themselves delighted with writing that is filled with delightful characters and vivid imagery. –Recommended.

Reviewed by Jessica Dotta

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