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Three and one half moon gifAvon Books (Paperback), ISBN 0380802856
Between heaven and earth, author Maureen McKade brings two love-scarred adults together in her latest historical romance, Mail-Order Bride.  

Book: Maureen McKade, Mail Order BrideKathleen Elizabeth (Kate) Murphy stands taller than most women. Kate looks to the stars for solace when life gets tough. Trev Trevelyan, born to the mining life in Cornwall, takes comfort in the moist, dark, familiar underground world. The two find love and new beginnings as they meet halfway between the stars and the underworld in the mountains of Colorado.  

Kate follows Orion, her favorite constellation, to Orion, Colo., as John Sullivan's mail-order bride. But on the day Kate arrives her status changes from fiancé to homeless in the time it takes for a silver mine to cave in and kill John Sullivan. 

Mrs. Hartwick (a fiesty woman who married and buried five husbands -- all miners) rescues Kate from the street and accepts her as a border and friend. Trev, mine superintendent and widower, hires Kate to care for his two children. Kate accepts the job, although she knows nothing about child care. The money Kate stashes away will take her to Denver where she wants to enroll in school and study the stars.  

Book: Maureen McKade, Untamed HeartKate, a motherless child raised by a drunken abusive father, falls under the spell of Trev's mute daughter and lively infant son. She marvels at the obvious love Trev shows his children and grieves over her own loveless childhood. Kate also discovers she's a woman with needs that only Trev can fulfill. But Kate won't give into her needs if it means giving up her dream. She refuses to live like Mrs. Hartwick, spending her days waiting for word that the mines claimed another husband. Kate vows never to marry a miner, even as she loses her heart to one. 

Predictably, the romance between Kate and Trev heats up just as his problems at the mine threaten the lives of those he loves. McKade creates a tense historic portrayal of the conflict between miners, management and unionization. She paints a vivid picture of the Wild West and the austere life in a mining town plagued by dwindling ore deposits, greedy mine owners, troublemakers, union organizers and poverty. 

Stir in two adorable children, a couple of cats, and you wind up with a captivating tale filled with love, laughter, conflict, and multi-faceted heroes and villains. McKade, although a bit light on the sensual love scenes, researched her subject well. The historic detail and setting add a welcome dimension to a most enjoyable read. 

Dawn Goldsmith

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