If I remember correctly, the very first book tour I was involved with was for A Bride Most Begrudging by debut author Deeanne Gist. If you’ve been reading here for very long, you know that my first love is fantasy, not historical romance. However, I enjoy Deeanne’s writing so much that I’ve made it a point to watch for any new releases.
Deep in the Heart of Trouble is her fourth novel, and it continues the story of Essie Sprecklemeyer of Corsicana, Texas, that was begun in Courting Trouble. While getting to know Essie in the previous novel would certainly bring a richer appreciation for this tale, I truly believe that it wouldn’t be required. Essie herself fills in just enough of her previous story as the reader needs, as she needs it.
When the book list for June came out several months ago, I knew without a second thought which books I wanted to order from it. Later that day I was working in the yard when my mother-in-law came over (they live on the same property) and asked if I’d seen the list yet. I said yes, and I’d ordered the book. She said, okay, she’d just read mine then, rather than have the publisher send two copies. I said that would be fine. Later on I realized we’d never confirmed which book–there were 8-10 selections for the month–because it hadn’t seemed necessary. I knew which book she meant!
My daughter is another avid fan. When Deep in the Heart of Trouble arrived the other day, Hanna smiled sweetly at me and said, “I’ll have that finished before you even have time to start!” And she was right. And now it is over at my sister-in-law’s house.
What is it about Deeanne’s novels that appeal to (at least) three generations of women? While her stories are historicals, they’re not the typical wagon train romances. From tobacco brides (in Virginia) to sunbonnet girls (in the San Francisco gold rush–The Measure of a Lady) to an oil baron’s daughter in Texas, Deeanne seeks out eras and locations that are not over-used in the genre. But the true appeal is in her spunky characters and her own voice.
The characters are bigger than life, full-blown on the page, not precisely typical for their era, yet believable. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed each novel thus far and expect that to continue as I watch for more novels by Deeanne Gist in the future.