This is Ms. Huguley's first western and it was wonderful. I love this book about Avis Smith, a biracial woman, coming to Noelle, Co to confront the mother that left her at age 6 with a family that abused her. Liam Fulton is the town's shopkeeper who didn't get the chance for a mail order bride, but isn't bothered because he is studying to become a lawyer (which the town also needs). When Avis is rejected by the asshole that she was matched with, Liam steps in with solutions to the problems. Avis will work for Liam to pay off her travel expenses. As they work together, Avis and Liam grow closer until they fall in love and become the seventh (or eighth? I am not sure about the sheriff's hasty marriage to Pearl counts for the premise of the series) couple to wed by January 6th/Epiphany.
I loved Avis - she is not your typical mail order bride and honestly wasn't all that bothered that the asshole rejected her. She was here for the confrontation with her mother and didn't think or plan for much after that. She does try to make (and succeeds) friends with the other brides and with the few townswomen. But she shines as a businesswoman, which helps because as much as Liam is a wonderful guy and a smart almost-lawyer, he is a bit of an awful shopkeeper. Liam isn't strictly a beta hero, but he is definitely not an alpha, especially ones found in western romances. Liam's back story was amazing, but I wished Ms. Huguley had specified how his fiancé back east died.
This was a lovely way to spend an afternoon.