Publication year: 2015
I am sad that this is the last story about Annie and Nate.
I’ll have to wait and see if the author writes another mystery. This novella takes place just after Nate and Annie’s wedding. The first chapter is lovely. Nate gives Annie a surprise, taking her to the Palace Hotel for their wedding night. Nate is nervous as he waits for his bride to get ready, wondering if he will meet her expectations. Unlike Nate, Annie has experience as she is a widow, and even though her marriage to John was terrible, Nate can’t help but wonder if he will be able to love her as she expects and deserves. Then all his fears vanish as Annie appears and lets him love him.
The following day they travel to San Jose where his parents have a ranch. While Billy, his brother, goes to pick them up, Violet stays with her mother-in-law and child. From Violet’s thoughts we can see that she is not a very nice woman. No wonder Nate and Laura can’t stand her. It is true that Violet loves her mother-in-love, but in her love she is also quite selfish. She resents Annie and Nate for getting married in a rush when they were supposed to marry on another date so that his parents could be there. Violet reasons that they have denied Nate’s mother the chance to travel to San Francisco and spend some nice days without worrying about the farm, and in that sense Violet is right. She is also bitter about Billy not being Nate’s best man, but we know from Billy’s own words that he thanks his brother as he didn’t welcome the idea to dress in the clothes he had to wear for his own wedding. Violet also resents Annie and Nate for deciding to spend a week on the ranch, adding up to the work they already have, especially her mother-in-law, and she also doesn’t understand why Laura hasn’t come to see her parents since January. Violet is right in some of the things she muses about, but I don’t think Nate spending time with his parents after the wedding won’t be welcome. I am sure that his parents don’t mind having him and Annie as that will mean a chance to see their son. I think Violet is quite selfish, and I’m afraid that she isn’t going to be very welcoming when Annie and Nate show up.
When Billy picks Nate and Annie up, he is warm to them, and the brothers have a chance to catch up. Nate can feel that Billy is not happy about something to do with his wife. We know that she is pregnant again. Maybe he is worried because a new child means another mouth to feed, and perhaps there are problems in that front. We also know from Violet that Billy had a fall-out with her brother Alec, but it is not clear what it is about. I wonder if that is another worry Billy has.
Lovely story. I can’t wait to see the moment Nate and Annie reach the ranch, and I’m curious about the title. Who is the villain that Violet apparently vanquishes?