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Angel Face (Jane Bonander) The new teacher gets confused in a sudden snow storm and arrives at an empty house; there is a fire and she curls up in a blanket and falls asleep. When the owner, Sam Prescott and his son Joey return, the boy says, "Can we keep her?" Thus, the reader knows that the child is lonely and (for some reason) doesn't know that people can't be adopted, like a pet.
The Prescotts are isolated from the town and school because the townsfolk have all lost loved ones (in the past) through Indian conflicts and they do not want a 'half-breed' child in their school. Eve Engels is unaware of this conflict when she asks why Joey isn't in school. Then she tells the Prescotts that she is the new teacher, and she will teach him 3 afternoons each week until she can get him into the school.
Sam doesn't want her help because he thinks she is taking on a new project and will soon tire of it. However, he does not know Eve's history. She was in an orphanage until the Nisbeths helped Eve earn her teaching credential and then hired her to come to their hometown to teach. Until the Nisbeths, Eve has never had anyone to care for or who really cared for her. She is as emotionally starved as Sam and Joey.
Eve shakes up the status-quo by challenging Sam to show friendliness to folks when he travels into town. When Sam takes a step in that direction, things begin to happen. The resolution of the conflict is a bit contrived, but the characters' actions and reactions seemed real.
Heaven's Gate (Tanya Anne Crosby) In the opening of the story, the fifth Duke of Ascott had asked for Emma Peters hand in marriage. Then he becomes ambivalent and Emma's father asks him to reconsider.
Almost three years later, he has again arrived at the Peters home to finally break the betrothal. However, instead of the hesitant, sweet young lady he had left behind, this Emma has flashing eyes and tells him that she wouldn't marry him. Emma's brother and sister-in-law see that the two could be good for each other -- if they weren't so stubborn. In order to help the couple, Andrew and his family contrive some amusing ways to keep the Duke (Lincoln Traherne) in the Peters' home.
I was stunned by the means the Duke used to resolve the issue of marriage.
The Ice Queen (Jennifer Horsman) Dr. James Balfour has just been denied a position at the London Academy of Medicine and Science. An old woman promises that she will make sure he gets that position if he will help her granddaughter, Catherine (The Ice Queen). She has been grieving over her dead husband for five years and her son has turned into an invalid.
The whole business of the old woman and how James gets into Catherine's home, Harrington Manor, is rather contrived, but the story turns into one of the most sensuous short stories I've read.
The Christmas Baby (Joan Johnston) Two Texas families have been fighting for a generation. It is a serious blood feud that has depopulated both families drastically. Emaline Winthrop decides that it must stop and she suggests that a male from one side marry a female from the other family. But who will the guinea pigs be?
This might be a great story but the paperback copy I had was missing the bulk of the story, from the marriage of the unhappy couple until the birth of their child. Instead, a hunk of pages were repeated. Strange.
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