Historical Romance Review 

What Matters Most
by Winnie Griggs
Leisure Books, 2001
ISBN:  0-8439-4829-9

Reed Wilder journeys to Far Enough, Texas to find the illegitimate son of his deceased brother.  His family’s search located his brother as a riverboat captain in New Orleans, Louisiana where he lived with his wife Iris and bore a child by his mistress Lucy Ames.

The much loved daughter of the town sheriff, Lucy Ames left her small town to work as a seamstress in one of the best dress shops in New Orleans.  Then one day, she found herself with a baby and dealing with the death of her father in a train wreck, which left her mother injured.  The family home was lost to creditors, and Lucy Ames moved to a remote farm to raise her son.

Reed, ambushed by local outlaws,  is rescued by Lucy and her son Toby.  They take him back to the farm to nurse his injuries.  Realizing he has located the object of his search, Reed must come to terms with the deceitful opportunist he has come to find and the woman of honor, pride and generous spirit he has discovered. 

Lucy secretly sews dresses for the general store to earn her supplies.  The shopkeeper also owns the farm where she lives, and she must sew three dresses a month to cover her rent alone.  She does have another option – enter a loveless marriage with the shopkeeper. 

Reed brings Lucy back into the world.  Lucy introduces Reed to the power of love.  Their awakening love is sweetly intense.

What Matters Most is an interesting study of small town values and the effects of gossip on the innocent.  In her debut novel, Winnie Griggs has captured a small town’s tendency to gossip, judge and offer a hand of friendship.  Her plot is emotionally complex and holds the reader’s attention with the surprising twists that affirms the heroine’s true character. 


Joyce Dixon
Southern Scribe Reviews

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