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Azteclady reviews Cheryl St. John's, Heaven Can Wait

The pressure of commitment!

Being almost too late for this month’s TBR Challenge, I quickly checked the mountains and piles and shelves of unread books for something appropriate—a book published before 2000. After a few frantic moments—have I really read all my old skool books already???—I found the perfect tome. I give you:

Heaven Can Wait, by Cheryl St. John

Sensuality rating: Steamy

This is Ms St John’s second published novel, prequel to Rain Shadow¹. Both novels were published by Harlequin Historical back in the dark ages (1994).

 Please be warned that there’s a lot of religion as part of the story, though not in the way that usually annoys the bejesus out of me.

The novel is set in 1888 Pennsylvania. The heroine, Lydia Beker, is a member of the historical religious commune known as the Harmony Society. The hero, Jakob Neubauer, is also of German descent, but a farmer, one of the Outsiders whose heathenish ways the Colonists abhor.

This premise would be conflict enough for me, to be honest—how do you reconcile such different views of the world? It’s all good and well to long for freedom from drudgery, but the cultural shock would still be there, even if Jakob is not rich and life on a farm is no ride on the park with grooms and maids in attendance.

Ms St. John, however, added extraneous conflict in the form of a mentally unstable sister-in-law who is obsessed with Jakob.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Here is the back cover blurb: (more…)

Her Montana Man, by Cheryl St John

Released by Harlequin’s Historical Western line in December 2008, Her Montana Man is Ms St John’s voice at her best, another one of those novels where you start reading thinking, “a couple of chapters and I’ll turn the light off” then you blink back into reality sometime in the wee hours of the morning.

Set in 1885, it tells the story of two wonderful characters who find themselves trapped by circumstances present and past. While there were some clichés in the plot, and a couple of standard ancillary characters, Jonas and Eliza Jane are just fantastic people who leapt off the page and grabbed me, not letting go until they had told me the full story. (more…)

The Secondhand Wife, by Cheryl St. John

While not necessarily an automatic buy for me, Ms St John’s novels are consistently good reads. Her writing is unadorned, simple and direct, reading as a story told by a family member or a friend, easy to get lost in.

The Secondhand Wife, a Harlequin Historical romance published back in 2005, is a perfect example of what I mean. This is a sweet story about a lonely man and a woman who finds herself in desperate need of help.

Noah Cutter was a man of his word…

Scarred in body and soul, rancher Noah didn’t consider himself fit company for anyone. But when his brother’s philandering finally caught up with him, honor dictated that Noah claim his brother’s widow as his own…

Standing on her doorstep, with his collar turned up and a rifle by his side, Noah was about the most intimidating man Katherine had ever seen. And though one man’s false promises had already dashed her dreams, she instinctively trusted this stranger. Even more, Kate suspected she’d only be a fool this time if she didn’t take a chance on Noah for the sake of herself… and her unborn child!


Child of Her Heart, by Cheryl St. John

Part of the Silhouette Romance continuity Logan’s Legacy, Child of Her Heart has an overall nice mix of traditional romance genre elements and current social issues. Published in 2004, it deals with interracial relationships, societal expectations and prejudices, as well as romance genre staples such as the big misunderstanding and the not-so-accidental set up of the main characters by a well-intentioned third party.

I have read other books by Ms St Johns, and enjoyed most of them quite a bit, which is why I couldn’t resist getting this one during a jaunt to the Library, despite the fact that I usually have issues with continuities. (more…)