Author: Deeanne Gist
Published: June 1st 2006 by Bethany House Publishers
Never wears male attires,
Never goes anywhere with a man without a chaperon, and
Never allows a man who is not married to her to touch her inappropriately.
And those are just the rules Rachel Van Buren breaks just months after she arrives in San Francisco with her sister Lissa and her brother Michael. Brought up and trained to be and act like a lady, she holds herself with poise and stick to the rules no matter what. Until Johnie Parker enters her life and rescues all three of them from sleeping in the streets. But Johnie isn’t a respectable man, no indeed. He runs a gambling house which doubles up as a hotel and although Rachel is appalled and terrified, she has little choice but to stay at the back of his hotel.
Determined to shoulder the responsibilities of looking after her siblings, she had to be strict with Lissa as she becomes curious and flattered with all the attentions the men showers on her. To try to control her sister, Rachel rents a building to start a respectable restaurant so that Lissa would not have to associated with men any longer. But it was too late. Lissa was already ensnared by Merle Sumner and she ran away to be with him. Struggling with her own desires and temptations in the form of Johnie, Rachel had to face the heartbreak of her sister leaving her to be with a married man and her brother being a dealer to earn more money. Although she loves Johnie, she is riddled by doubts and the constant reminder that it was written in the Bible that she should not mix with evil men and fallen women. But is that really what God had intended for her to do? As her confusion grows thicker, other problems sprout out. Just what is it that makes a lady a lady? Rachel has lots to learn.
A beautiful novel set in the gold fever years in San Francisco, Rachel and her siblings found themselves stranded with no father, no guardian and almost no money. I really sympathized with Rachel as she had to bear all the burdens to care for her siblings and to find respectable ways to earn money. There were times when I was simply angry at Lissa at her insensitivity as she hurt Rachel time and time again. But then, I just have to keep in mind that she is only human. Humans make mistakes. And then I go back to feeling sorry for both Lissa and Rachel. Of course, Rachel has her fair share of temptations to. Johnie gives off a hero/ bad boy vibe and I just look forward for their moments together and how he forces himself to control his desires. Mentally, I think of Johnie as a gentleman. Regardless if he runs a gamble house. He is a good man through and through. Very patient too. I just love the way he proposed time and time again to Rachel, even going to the point of catching insects for her collection.
The author has a writing style that makes me melt into a puddle each time the close moments appear on the pages. She also has a way of describing the sceneries and nature in San Francisco and surrounding the places where Johnie brings Rachel. She describes everything so vividly I can simply see them in my mind’s eye. I also admire the way she effortlessly slips small prayers and thoughts that Rachel and Johnie sends up to God as the story progresses. It sounds so naturally said as if they were close to God.
I simply adore this book and I intend to hunt down the other books written by Deanne Gist.