For the Record
by Regina Jennings
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Released: Dec. 6, 2016
Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.
Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
Betsy Huckabee knows that writing for her uncle's small-town newspaper will never lead to independence, and the bigger newspapers don't seem interested in the Hart County news. Trying a new approach, Betsy pens a romanticized serial for the ladies' pages, and the new deputy provides the perfect inspiration for her submissions. She'd be horrified if he read her breathless descriptions of him, but these articles are for a newspaper far away.
Deputy Joel Puckett didn't want to leave Texas, but this job in tiny Pine Gap is his only shot at keeping his badge. A young woman who tried to trap him into marriage ruined his reputation in the process. Now his skills and patience is test by dealing with vigilantes feeling that they are the real law. Not to mention Betsy's popping up to trail him, day and night.
For the Record is a Christian historical romance set in 1885 in the Ozark Mountains. It's the third book in the series, but you don't need to read the previous novels to understand this one. I was in the mood for humor, and another reviewer said this story was funny. While some scenes were silly (like the hero mounted on a small, feisty pony), I didn't find the overall storyline funny.
The sheriff in Pine Gap is ineffectual, so some local men have taken to running dangerous men out of the area to make it safe. Several people explained the situation to Joel, and he's told that the vigilante activities will stop if he'll find and arrest the dangerous men. Yet Joel focused on arresting these vigilantes, and people got hurt because he went after the wrong people. It took half the book before he considered that maybe he's going about it wrong. I was frustrated with him, especially as figuring out what's really going on isn't too hard for the reader. By the time he started looking beyond the vigilantes, people weren't giving Joel the information he needed because they had no trust in him.
Incidentally, the story's not meant to be strongly historical. Betsy acted like a modern gal. She wasn't the least bit bothered by things like the hero's comment about hoping to sleep in her bed (which he didn't know was hers) or by being frequently alone at night in Joel's company. And Joel passionately kisses her several times before even officially courting her.
The Christian element was a brief mention or two that maybe Joel should rely on God instead of his own efforts. I don't recall him actually following this advise, though. There were no sex scenes or bad language.
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.