Spotlight Review: THE PROSPECTOR’S ONLY PROSPECT by Dani Collins 

From the publisher:

After eight days in a cramped stagecoach, divorcée Marigold Davis already regrets her decision to come to Denver City to marry. She certainly didn’t realize she’d signed up for mosquitoes, mud, and scores of rough men eyeing her like a hot meal on a cold day. But with her life in Kansas all but incinerated, Marigold needs a husband. Even if she’s not the bride that gold prospector Virgil Gardner is expecting…

Virgil Gardner has a reputation as a grumpy hard-ass, and he’s fine with it. He’s also no fool―this is not the woman he agreed to marry. It takes a tough-as-nails woman to survive the harshness of a Rocky Mountain gold claim, and this whiskey-eyed, gentle beauty is certainly not the type. Now it’s just a matter of how quickly she’ll quit so he can find a wife who will stick. Someone who can care for the only thing he values even more than gold–his children.

But Marigold isn’t about to give in. Cramped in a one-room shack. Berry picking turned into a bear escape. Or cooking for an entire crew of bottomless pits. She’s got more grit than most. And just when Virgil starts to realize his replacement bride might be the treasure he’s been looking for, an unannounced guest arrives…to change everything.

“Collins mines the setting for both danger and humor, providing the perfect backdrop to this sensuous romance. Readers won’t want to put this down.” –Publishers Weekly, starred review

I love cowboy romances, and this historical story is a good one. Set in the Kansas territory long before statehood, Virgil Gardner runs a gold mining operation. His wife is gone, leaving him with three children – two of whom are his. He takes care of all of them as best as he can, but he needs a wife, so he advertises for one.

The woman who shows up, Marigold, is actually the sister of the woman he agreed to marry. Virgil is a good man, albeit short-tempered and suspicious of most people, especially women. He cannot abide liars or cheats and feels like he was taken advantage of by this woman. He agrees to allow her to be his housekeeper but takes marriage off the table. Marigold loves children and is educated, so she is happy to take on her new role. She has never lived under such rugged conditions, and there is a definite learning curve. But she enjoys the children and even becomes friendly with the men working for Virgil, much to his displeasure.

Virgil is also surprised to find that he is drawn to the sassy woman and isn’t quite sure what to do about it. Eventually, they realize they have a strong physical attraction, which surprises Marigold – she had a horrible marriage, yet something about Virgil is warming her heart. Virgil and Marigold’s relationship blows hot and cold, and the men are all seeing more to it than they are. Just when you think everything is finally going to work out, there is a wrench thrown in the works that causes a massive setback. But no worries, a happy ending is just around the corner.

The historical aspects of this book were really interesting, and seeing how people lived under such extreme conditions was also fascinating. I liked these characters a lot, and this was a really good story. If you like historical westerns, this is a good one. The romance is just the icing on the cake!

4/2023 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

THE PROSPECTOR’S ONLY PROSPECT by Dani Collins.‎ Entangled: Amara (March 28, 2023). ISBN:‎ 978-1649373410. 352 p.


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