The Element of Love ~ Review

The Element of Love
The Lumber Baron's Daughters #1
By Mary Connealy

The Stiles daughters are unique and unusual for the world they live in. Raised by their parents to inherit and run their father's lumber dynasty, their greatest assets are their minds, and to survive on their own and thwart their stepfather's plans, they will need them.

Welcome to 1872 California and the first book in The Lumber Baron's Daughters. In this book, we aren't given a lot of backstory. What we do know is that Michelle, Jilly, and Laura Stiles have to leave in the dead of the night, taking a treacherous and life-threatening path down the mountain that they call home. And to help facilitate their escape, their mother, Margaret, will do what she has to, even if it puts her in danger. More than a year ago, Margaret married Edgar and soon regretted the biggest mistake of her life - marrying a monster in disguise. To rescue their mother and to take control of the dynasty their father built, all three girls must marry to come into their inheritance - one-third share of the business. But can they find men of worth to marry in a hurry? Only time will tell.

This book focuses on the youngest daughter Laura and her quest to find a husband, and she seemingly has the least reservations of the three sisters about this plan. And at her urging, the three join up with a mission group seeking to bring aid to the families of those trapped by the lure of gold's tantalizing promises. This in itself proved to be an adventure itself as normal "womanly" tasks hadn't been a part of their upbringing.

Overall I found this to be an intriguing and interesting story, and I look forward to seeing exactly what happens next with Michelle and Jilly. And as to what exactly happens with Laura, did she marry? If she did, did she regret her choice as her mother did with Edgar? For those answers, you are going to have to read the book. This book has plenty of moments of intensity that will keep you reading late into the night with the oft thought sentiment, "Just one more chapter," so plan accordingly.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book with no expectations but that I provide my honest opinion - all thoughts expressed are my own.

About the Book:

She mixed danger, desperation, and deception together. Love was not the expected outcome.

With their sharp engineering minds, Laura Stiles and her two sisters have been able to deal with their mother's unfortunate choice in husband until they discovered his plans to marry each of them off to his lecherous friends. Now they must run away--far and fast--to find better matches to legally claim their portion of their father's lumber dynasty and seize control from their stepfather.

During their escape, Laura befriends a mission group heading to serve the poor in California. She quickly volunteers herself and her sisters to join their efforts. Despite the settlement being in miserable condition, the sisters are excited by the opportunity to put their skills to good use. Laura also sees potential in Caleb, the mission's parson, to help with gaining her inheritance. But when secrets buried in Caleb's past and in the land around them come to light, it'll take all the smarts the sisters have to keep trouble at bay.

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~ Blooming with Books