A Place Called Harmony by Jodi Thomas
Series: Harmony series #8
Also in this series: One True Heart
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: October 7th 2014
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New York Times bestselling author Jodi Thomas has captivated America with her novels set in the small town of Harmony, Texas. Now she tells the story of the three hard-luck men who first settled the town, a place where last chances and long-awaited dreams collide…
Desperate to escape his overbearing father, Patrick McAllen disappears with his bride, heading north to build a new town—discovering strength, honor and true love along the way.
After drinking away the grief from his family’s death, Clint Truman avoids jail by taking a job in North Texas and settling down with a woman he vows to protect but never love—until her quiet compassion slowly breaks his hardened heart wide open…
All Gillian Matheson has ever known is Army life, leaving his true love to be a part-time spouse. But when a wounded Gillian returns home to find her desperately fighting to save their marriage, he’s determined to become the husband she deserves.
Amidst storms, outlaws, and unwelcome relatives, the three couples band together to build a town—and form a bond that breathes life into the place that will forever be called Harmony.
Harmon Ely is a man who runs a trading post in northern Texas. There’s not a whole lot of anything around but people stop at his trading post on a regular basis. Harmon gets it into his head that he wants to start a town. He puts out ads looking for married couples. Three very different couples converge on the trading post to try and start the town.
The first to arrive is Daisy Matheson. She is married to an Army man named Gillian and they’ve spent most of their married life apart. Daisy sees Harmon’s ad and starts to write to him regarding the job but she does so under Gillian’s name. Gillian has no clue what Daisy’s doing but gets quite anxious when he gets a letter telling him to meet her at the trading post. Gillian’s mind goes crazy and all he can think is that she’s dying and that’s why he needs to get there by a certain date. He loves Daisy with his whole heart and can think of nothing worse than losing her. He heads off to the trading post but ends up with a traveling companion, Jessie, who’s about 15 years old. She has nowhere to go and when his attempt to drop her at a mission doesn’t work he decides to take her with him to meet Daisy. Once there Gillian has to decide whether he’ll stay with his wife and boys to start the town or go back to the Army.
The next couple is Patrick McAllen and his wife Annie. Patrick is the son of a preacher and has been abused his whole life. His father is a bit nuts and after seeing 2 of his brothers die in the war and 2 others escape his father he knows that his father expects him to follow in his footsteps. Patrick just wants out. He tried to escape once and his father caught him and whipped him almost to the point of death. He knows if he’s caught his father will kill him this time. When he escapes he takes a local girl with him. Annie has been little more than a slave to her stepmother and stepsisters and is anxious to leave. The pair get married and head off to meet Harmon. While there was is only friendship between them when they got married love soon grows and flourishes. Patrick is only 20 years old but he’s an accomplished carpenter and knows that he can bring his skill to help build a town.
Clint Truman is a man who joined the men fighting in the war when he was just a teenager. He saw and did things that still horrified him. He then met his wife and she seemed to calm him but his wife and two daughters died from a fever and he turned to alcohol to numb the pain. Two years later the local sheriff tells him of the opportunity to start a new life and town with Harmon Ely. Clint thinks it might be something to look into but he’s not real sure about it all when the sheriff tells him he must be married. His capacity to love died when his family died and while he agrees to get married he knows he’ll never love the woman. They find Clint’s new wife when she gets released from prison with her newborn baby. Karissa agrees to marry Clint as she has no other options. She’s terribly afraid of Clint but manages to start to trust him after a time. The more time they spend together the more they grow to care for each other.
The three couples each have their trials and tribulations. They’re fighting their own inner battles as well as other issues from their past. Together, however, they know they can make the new town a wonderful place.
If you’ve read the Harmony novels you know that it’s a contemporary series that’s set in the town of Harmony. When I opened this book and realized that it’s a historical that takes us back to the founding of Harmony I wasn’t quite sure what to think. I’m not a fan of western historicals in general but I should have known that Thomas would come through for me. Not only was it a really great story but I loved seeing how Harmony came to be.
I have to say I loved reading about these three very diverse couples. Their lives were so different, as were their personalities, but they all were so determined to make the town work together that they all managed to get along and actually become friends.
The building of the town, along with the romances, interspersed with the more suspenseful parts of the book, were all woven together so well. Thomas truly knows how to build a story and characters that have a depth that I just love. The secondary characters in the book, Patrick’s brother Shelly along with Patrick’s sisters, and the Roma family rounded out the cast so well and added that much more to the story.
Whether you like western historical romance or not if you love the Harmony series I think you’ll love this one as well.
Rating: 4 out of 5