Bobby Smith’s, The Lady’s Hand is a quick easy read. The characters are not overly complicated. The heroine is more likable than the hero and she is a bit unusual, a professional gambler.
Set in the Antebellum south and St. Louis, the two leads meet on a riverboat that is chugging up the Mississippi. Heroine Brandy O'Neill is on the boat to gamble. This is how she supports her mother and herself and she is an excellent gambler. She meets hero Rafe Morgan aboard and the two are attracted to each other.
Brandy and Rafe become engaged in a battle of wills and cards and Brandy becomes indebted to Rafe. Let me state that Rafe is very hard to like especially in the beginning of this novel, He has been shaped by a mother who was unfaithful and a father who was desperately in love with a woman who never really returned his devotion. Rafe is calculating and ruthless and it seems he is irresistible to women as they try to trap him into marriage. Rafe proposes a terrible bargain to Brandy to pay off her debt and being the honorable sort she agrees but I wondered how she would be able to follow through.
Rafe shows a nicer persona as the story progresses. He is kind to Brandy’s mother and softens toward Brandy. However, he is quick to think the worst of women and I do not enjoy heroes who own plantations.
The much better story was the secondary romance between Rafe’s widowed friend and a rather shy teacher who has carried a torch for him for years. Theirs is a gentle discovery of love and affection and I liked both characters.
- Mass Market Paperback
- Publisher: Leisure Books (Mm) (1 December 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0843941162
- ISBN-13: 978-0843941166
- Product Dimensions: 17.2 x 10.6 x 2.9 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 159 g
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