|Maggie Osborne: I Do, I Do, I Do|
Books (Paperback), ISBN 0-449-00517-8
Jean Jacques Villette, scoundrel and bigamist, marries Juliette March, a very proper spinster. Shortly after their wedding, he absconds with her inheritance. Juliette sets out to find Villette and in the process discovers wife number two, Clara Klaus. This Rubensque lady ran a boardinghouse until Villette came to stay. But Villette packed up most of Clara's hard-earned cash and disappeared.
Clara and Juliette trail their no-good husband to Seattle where they uncover Zoe Wilder, wife number three. For saving a child's life, Zoe received a pile of reward money, which Villette quickly swindled out of her.
Anger, animosity, and the intense desire to find Villette bind the three women. Juliette and Clara want explanations. Zoe, a tough coal miner's daughter, intends to fire a bullet through his cheating heart. But Villette eludes them all the way to Alaska.
The arduous trek to the Yukon across inhospitable terrain doesn't deter them. Zoe, Clara and Juliette outfit themselves like "stampeders," the name given to the gold seekers. To enter the Yukon, each stampeder must provide a year's worth of provisions. For many stampeders, transporting these provisions to the gold fields means carrying innumerable loads on their strong backs. Zoe, Clara and Juliette acquire an anonymous benefactor who pays to have the heaviest part of their outfits carried on jack mules, the only animals nimble enough to make the trek.
To reach Dawson City, stampeders must climb Chilkoot Pass. Juliette nearly slides down the mountain and several times almost gives up in despair. But a mysterious man from San Francisco, Benjamin Dare, urges her onward until suddenly she finds herself at the summit.
On the boat trip to Alaska, Clara enters an arm wrestling contest to replenish their dwindling finances. She challenges Bear Barrett, prosperous Dawson City saloon owner and arm wrestling champion. When Clara slams his arm to the table, this huge, golden bear of a man loses more than a contest; he forfeits his heart to this redheaded Amazon.
Zoe fights against her feelings for Tom Price, who also grew up in Newcastle, the coal-mining hometown Zoe would like to forget. Tom discovered a different kind of gold mine. He owns a packing company that will transport the stampeders' supplies. Tom's Chilkat Indians and sturdy jack mules carry the heaviest burdens all the way to Dawson City for those stampeders who can afford to pay his hefty fees.
I Do, I Do, I Do supplies a gold mine of adventure and unexpected passion. Maggie Osborne drops nuggets of Alaskan history into a romantic tale heavy with golden moments.
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