FICTION

Breathless

Avon. (Rhine Trilogy, Bk. 2). Feb. 2017. 373p. ISBN 9780062389022. pap. $7.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062389039. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
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Twenty-seven-year-old Portia Carmichael knows her way around a business ledger. Her goal is to be a professional bookkeeper, but in 1885 Arizona Territory, with race relations still tense, including those with the local Indian tribes, this woman of color is fearful of striking out on her own. Portia has a loving and supportive family and a wonderful job managing her aunt and uncle's hotel, which caters mostly to East Coast and foreign visitors looking for that true Western experience. She also eschews the idea of marriage, even though Aunt Eddy and Uncle Rhine set an inspiring example. Then the arrival of Kent Randolph, a cowboy who worked for Rhine in Virginia City years before, gives her reasons to reconsider.
VERDICT Jenkins's second series entry (after Forbidden) reveals a fascinating world in which women of color survived and thrived. This sweetly enticing romance includes a good deal of historical detail and balances an independent woman with a solitary man who appreciates her dreams and her abilities.

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