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A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California

By Keli Gwyn

Description:

Love Is Gold in El Dorado, California

Widow Elenora Watkins heads to California with her nine-year-old daughter, Tildy, eager to become partner in a mercantile. When the mulish owner withdraws his offer because she’s a woman, she opens her own shop. She’s determined to prove herself capable of running a successful business without the help of anyone—including her controlling father, her seemingly distant heavenly Father, and one Miles Rutledge.

Widower Miles Rutledge is not about to get involved with another willful woman like his late wife, especially when she’s his competition. But the beautiful Elenora and her precocious daughter may be too hard to resist. When another man appears out to claim Elenora’s heart, Miles searches for a way to win her back. . .while putting her out of business.

Meanwhile, Maude Rutledge, Miles’s meddling mother, longs to see her son make a good match. And Tildy is just as bent on gaining a loving papa.

The battle of wills begins, but can anyone win when the competition is more than they bargained for?

Book Takeaway:

Life is richer when we relinquish control, learn to trust others, and lean on the Lord.

Awards:

Year Title Description
2013 National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award First Place in Inspirational Category, Sponsored by First Coast Romance Writers Chapter of RWA®
2013 National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award Second Place in Best First Book Category, Sponsored by First Coast Romance Writers Chapter of RWA®
2013 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence Finalist in Inspirational Category, Sponsored by Southern Magic Chapter of RWA®
2013 Published Maggie Award for Excellence Finalist in Inspirational Category, Sponsored by Georgia Romance Writers Chapter of RWA®
2013 Book Buyers Best Finalist in Inspirational Category, Sponsored by Orange County Chapter of RWA®

Why the author wrote this book:

As a native Californian, I find the history of the Golden State fascinating. I live in the heart of California's Gold Country at the base of the majestic Sierra Nevada Mountains. I love this area and wanted to bring it to life in my story.

I chose the year 1870 for A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California because the state had become quite settled by then. Mining was still taking place, but fortune-hunting had ceased to be the primary focus. Merchants and farmers were prospering. Culture had gained a foothold. At that time, my town of Placerville boasted a philharmonic society, a brass band, and a roller skating rink.

El Dorado is a small Gold Rush-era town not far from where I live. Today it's a sleepy suburb along historic Highway 49, but in 1870 it was a thriving community. I read about a successful merchant who lived there and was intrigued. I could find very little about him, but being a writer, I could imagine what such a man might have been like. From that nugget, my hero began to take shape. When I learned that women in California could own businesses in their own names from the state's earliest days, I decided my heroine would be a shopkeeper, too, one in direct competition with the hero.

I had a blast bringing Miles and Elenora to life on the page. They became my dear friends, as did Miles's meddlesome mother, Maude, and Elenora's precocious daughter, Tildy. I love the interactions between these four, but the fun didn't stop there. I peopled the town with many other interesting characters.

I hope you have as much fun reading Miles and Elenora's story as I did writing it.

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