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Pearl: Dakotah Treasures Book 2    by Lauraine Snelling order for
by Lauraine Snelling
Order:  USA  Can
Bethany, 2004 (2004)
* *   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

When Ruby Torvald and her younger sister Opal moved to Little Missouri in the Dakotah Territory, they never imagined that their inheritance, Dove House, would be a saloon and brothel. Ruby has now turned Dove House into a respectable hotel and restaurant - just in time as Little Missouri is growing by leaps and bounds with the arrival of new families and businesses. Although embarrassed by the continued attentions of rancher Rand Harrison, Ruby is beginning to develop feelings toward him that she cannot deny.

Pearl Hossfuss has lived most of her life shielded from the world, wearing high collars and elaborate hairstyles that hide her scarred neck. Due to an accident as a child, Pearl has given up hope of ever getting married. Her father became distant and now only talks to her when he has something critical to say. Pearl enjoys her job teaching the poor children of Chicago, but when her father announces her engagement to his clerk, a widower with five children, she knows something must change. She applies for a teaching job in the Dakotah Territory, and quickly leaves before the marriage can take place. Will Pearl find peace and love in Little Missouri?

Pearl is the second book in Lauraine Snelling's Dakotah Treasures series. Although the core story is interesting, the plot moves slowly and leaves out large chunks of information. There's a huge buildup - both in the book and on the back cover - about Pearl's father insisting that she marry his clerk, and then coming to fetch her in Little Missouri when she refuses to return home. But that storyline goes nowhere, with nothing mentioned beyond one blustering conversation with the father. The romance between Ruby and Rand is sweet, but again, in the first book there was a big deal about Ruby having to choose between two suitors, Rand and Captain McHenry. In the sequel, Captain McHenry is given a cursory mention, and then seemingly forgotten.

But the characters' reliance on God is refreshing and uplifting. The historical background is well researched and gives the reader insight into the difficulties of day-to-day living in the 1880s. Descriptions of the tedious work of preparing food for the winter, and an intriguing portion about the treatment of head lice add to the rich detail. Those who love historical fiction and Lauraine Snelling fans should enjoy this installment in the Dakotah Treasures series.

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