Friday, May 25, 2018

Picture Perfect Love, by Natalie Dean (author), Eveline Hart (author)

Kenzo Publishing, May 2018

Madelyn and Lilian Thomas are the daughters of newspaper publisher parents, traveling west to Oregon on the Oregon trail, in the 1845. In the course of the journey, the jewels belonging to another woman in wagon train have been stolen, and a man has been murdered. These events are believed to be related, but so far, both crimes are unsolved.

Madelyn and Lilian are determined to prove themselves as investigative reporters, by investigating this story for themselves. They also want to support the paper as a whole, though, and when they meet Arnold Hendricks, they recognize him as a real find.

Arnold, part of a Missouri farm family also traveling with the wagon train, is a gifted artist, someone the newspaper can use, if they can convince him to stop hiding from attention and show his work to their father.

What follows is a growth of both friendship and courtship among the Thomas sisters, Arnold, families of Protestant Irish missionaries also attached to the traveling group, and other artists and writers also hoping to land positions with the newspaper when they all arrive in Oregon.

Meanwhile, Madelyn and Lilian are quite serious about their investigation of the theft and murder. This is the second book in a series whose planned length I don't know, and that investigation seems to be the arc that binds the series together. What happens in this book is character development, getting to know more of the larger traveling group, and Arnold's courtship of one of the sisters.

It's a gentle story, more satisfying than exciting.

A very good summer read. Recommended.

I received an electronic galley from the publisher via Booksprout.