Louisa Bell never wanted to be a dance-hall singer, but dire circumstances force her hand. With a little help from her brother in the cavalry, she’s able to make ends meet, but lately he’s run afoul of his commanding officer, so she undertakes a visit to straighten him out.
Major Daniel Adams has his hands full at Fort Reno. He can barely control his rowdy troops, much less his two adolescent daughters. If Daniel doesn’t find someone respectable to guide his children, his mother-in-law insists she’ll take them.
When Louisa arrives with some reading materials, she’s mistaken for the governess who never appeared. Major Adams is skeptical. She bears little resemblance to his idea of a governess–they’re not supposed to be so blamed pretty–but he’s left without recourse. His mother-in-law must be satisfied, which leaves him turning a blind eye to his unconventional governess’s methods. Louisa’s never faced so important a performance. Can she keep her act together long enough?
Louisa Bell is tough, determined, creative, and resourceful. She is also loyal, loving, and incredibly vulnerable as a young woman with no family beyond her younger brother, Bradley Willis. Yet, she doesn’t hesitate to put her own future on the line to come to his aid. She didn’t intend to deceive anyone, but in the end, decides going along with the mistaken identity is in everyone’s best interests. As the reader, it is easy to understand how she winds up in the mess she finds herself in, and your heart is torn with hers regarding how to extricate herself with the least amount of damage.
Major Adams is an equally likable character as a widower concerned with the proper upbringing of his daughters yet not wanting to be separated from them. He is continuously harassed and second-guessed by his mother-in-law. And to top it all off, he doesn’t know what to make of the unusual governess who is far too attractive for his own good.
There are several moments of hilarity brought about by the bungled acts of deception, the antics of children, and the foolishness of pride. There are heartwarming scenes of chess games between the two main characters, bonding moments with the daughters, and loyalty between the heroine and her brother. Then there are the heartbreaking, heartstopping moments brought about by the dangers–both expected and unexpected– which originate from a variety of sources.
With well-developed characters, a plot line that grabs your heart and keeps you turning pages, humor that perfectly balances the heavier events, and descriptions that make you feel you’ve been there, Holding the Fort is yet another fantastic example of why I am such a huge a fan of Regina Jennings’s books.
BONUS! It’s recently been released on Audible!!!
Additional Reading: If you’ve already enjoyed Holding the Fort, you’ll also enjoy seeing Louisa’s brother, Private Bradley Willis, meet his match in Bound and Determined – available both individually and as part of the Hearts Entwined novella collection. (Pssst: the collection is great!!!) Also, the second full book in the Fort Reno series, The Lieutenant’s Bargain, is currently availabe for pre-order and scheduled to release December 4th.
Let’s Chat! Which of Regina’s books have you most enjoyed?