THE ENCHANTED LAND – Jude Deveraux
October 2012, reissue of a 1978 release
Kentucky, New Mexico, California – early 1800's
Morgan Wakefield was born in New Mexico, but her mother, raised on a Kentucky plantation, took Morgan and ran away from her husband's ranch when Morgan was barely one-year-old. Now, upon the death of her mother, Morgan learns that the only home she has known, Trahern House in Kentucky, does not belong to her, but to her father. And to make matters worse, she will inherit both her father's New Mexico ranch and Trahern House, but only if she marries for the period of one year and lives in New Mexico. In the meantime, Morgan is forced to live under her uncle's thumb. He controls her money and her inheritance, and he plans to keep it that way by spiriting her away to Europe before she can secure a husband.
When Morgan hears that attractive bachelor Seth Colter needs money to return to New Mexico, she offers him a business deal. She will pay Seth twenty-five thousand dollars if he marries her in name only for one year. Thus, she will secure her beloved Trahern House in Kentucky, her father's money, and most importantly, her freedom from ever needing a man. Her mother always told Morgan she wasn't pretty enough to find a husband, and Morgan sees no need to have a man in her life, but she wants Trahern House and will get it no matter what, even if she has to endure a marriage to a stranger. All Morgan wants out of life is her independence and her Southern home.
Seth Colter needs money for his ranch in New Mexico. When Morgan proposes to him, Seth sees more than the dowdy brown dress she is wearing. This young woman has fire and ambition. She is beautiful when she smiles and her eyes light up. He agrees to marry her, but only if they leave for New Mexico immediately. Morgan plans to annul the marriage at the end of the year. Seth knows that won't happen. New Mexico winters are cold, and Miss Morgan will warm his bed very nicely indeed.
THE ENCHANTED LAND is a reissue of Ms. Deveraux's 1978 novel with the same title. THE ENCHANTED LAND is a rich, epic tale of new beginnings. Seth and Morgan struggle to grow as individuals as they travel West in the years before the Civil War. We follow their path to New Mexico, California, and back again as their tumultuous marriage is weighed down with misunderstandings and pitfalls. Morgan is quick to temper, just as her new husband Seth is, and both want their own way. Morgan's innocence is shattered many times over as she comes to know life is not always rosy. Seth protects her as much as he can, but his temper is often his undoing. And just when things look happy for the new couple, fate steps in by putting unforeseen obstacles in their way. This brings nightmares and blessings as one mountain is conquered, only to be replaced by another equally as daunting or more. Seth and Morgan are reunited and torn apart again and again, only to have their love triumph in the end.
A classic book to enjoy in front of the fire with tea and tissues, THE ENCHANTED LAND is a keeper-shelf novel to read again and again!