She knew it was wrong, but he was so insistent. He swore to her that her would leave his wife and he wanted to marry her, but when the stock market crashed in 1929 and he decided that jumping out a window and ending his life was better than facing his family and the woman he had been keeping on the side, Chastity was left bereft.
After the death of her step-mother, a step-sibling and subsequently her father of a broken heart, Chastity was left with the weight of the world on her shoulders. Her three remaining siblings would need to be clothed and fed, and she couldn't do that without a proper job and a place for them to live. Chastity had left the country living of upstate New York for a teaching college in New York City. Struggling to fit in, she was befriended by a few women who were not quite ladies. Then she allowed the wealthy older man, Henry, to woo her into believing he would take care of her, but tragedy strikes leaving her frantically searching for Henry.
When Carl Ward finds the lovely but distressed, Chastity on the street in New York, he offers to help her find her friend. He has come from Montana to seek out his sister, Jessica, who ran away from the ranch to the big city to become a star. Instead, Jessica fell into drugs and when Carl finally finds her, it's a fight to get her to go home. Chastity helps Carl get her back to their swanky hotel, she then helps clean Jessica up. When a snide Jessica awakens and insults Chastity, she runs off, but not before promising Carl a visit before he returns to Montana.
The next day, after a scuffle with Henry's widow that leads to her being evicted from her apartment, the last thing she needs is Carl Ward to show up and see what's going on. Out of the kindness of his heart, he helps Chastity out with her landlord so she can go back to school. He even offers her the job as his town's school teacher once she graduates, leaving her confused if not curious.
Once Chastity finishes school, she unknowingly was placed by her superiors in college to go to Montana and become the town of Wedlock's teacher. With no other options, Chastity sets out to Wedlock and to see the handsome rancher that made her journey possible, Once there in the thick of things with Jessica as her nemesis and Carl trying to ease her way, Chastity begins to pick up the pieces of her former life and go on for herself and her siblings well-being. If only Jessica would just leave her alone. Telling anymore would give too much away, so I suggest you pick up THE RANCHER TAKE A WIFE (Montana Brides #1) by Leslea Tash.
First I need to say that the 20's and 30's are my least favorite time period. I normally run the other way when asked to read anything dealing with this era, but after reading THE RANCHER TAKES A WIFE by Leslea Tash, I was so pleasantly surprised that I have added her subsequent books to my reading pile. Chastity's being thought of as the fallen woman because of her acquaintance with some ladies of questionable morals, while annoying me, fueled my eagerness to read on. Carl Ward is a dream hero, so protective, so honorable and understanding, the man is almost too good to be true, but then again, it is fiction after-all, and what a fictional character he is. Ms. Tash is a very good writer. I am not a fan of stories told in the first person, but this fit and the author's narrative kept me intrigued until the very end. These two seemingly different people from very different worlds, comet together to make a very pleasing story.