About the Book:
Title: The Prospector’s Only Prospect
Author: Dani Collins
Page Length: 352
Publication Date: March 28, 2023
Publisher: Entangled Amara
Synopsis: 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.
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I loved this historical romance! It’s interesting and immersive, and it has unique and layered characters, especially Marigold and Virgil. The story is told from both of their perspectives, which really gives you a deeper look at their points of view. They have the best romance, and the book includes some of my favorite tropes
Set in Denver City in 1859, the story examines issues that were prevalent at the time, like voting rights, the rights of women, and the struggles of the gold mining industry, and shows how these issues affect different characters. Marigold, for example, is vilified because of her divorced status. She and others have fewer rights than many men. The author did a fantastic job of weaving history into the story, bringing the setting and characters to life.
Marigold is a divorcee tired of the stigma and shame that follows her. She is such a great character – strong, outspoken, and someone who tries to make the best out of a bad situation. Marigold is much stronger than she gives herself credit for, especially considering everything she faced in her divorce and in this book. From living in an unfinished cabin to fending off bears to taking care of three impetuous children and a cantankerous man, Marigold has her hands full.
Marigold’s failed marriage, divorce, and the aftermath deeply wounded her, much like Virgil’s marriage wounded him. His past explains so much about the man he is, and my heart broke for him so many times. Both characters have interesting and heartbreaking backstories, and both struggle to trust and love again. Plus, Virgil isn’t very vocal, and his expressions are often unreadable, so it’s difficult to know how he really feels. Luckily, Marigold breaks down his walls. The longer Marigold is with Virgil and his children, the more he opens up. I like how he slowly becomes more demonstrative and vulnerable. He falls in love not just with Marigold but with his children too.
And their romance! It’s so angsty and filled with sexual tension and longing, and I loved every second of it. Marigold and Virgil are such an unlikely pair, and after their not so meet cute, a romance between them seemed unlikely. However, everyone can see how these two feel about each other except themselves. It’s pretty comical how some of the other miners tease and torment Virgil. Their relationship has a ton of obstacles, but Marigold and Virgil are so great together. They have AMAZING chemistry, and I love the grumpy/sunshine vibes!
There is one character who appears later in the story, and as eager as I was to learn more about the person, she was so selfish. I have a feeling she’ll be the focus of the next book, and I’m dying to see a little groveling or redemption for how she treated a certain someone. And I adore the children. They bring a bit of lightness, happiness, and chaos to the story which is delightful. Virgil had an awkward and kind of strained relationship with his children, but again, Marigold’s influence was just what they needed. She is so kind and thoughtful, and she becomes the matriarch of this family and the entire mining community.
Speaking of community, what a fabulous found family Marigold finds! I adored the secondary characters, all of whom welcome Marigold into their fold. They are fun and generous and funny, and the ease they have with each other shows how close they are. They are a village, and it is so different from the world Marigold is from, where she learned a lot about being shunned, isolated, and abandoned. Here, she finds the community she never had but always longed for.
This was a wonderful historical romance, and I’m hoping this is a series so I can revisit these amazing characters and see who will find love next! Special thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for providing me with a copy of the book. All thoughts are my own.
- The romance.
- The found family.
- The historical context.
- The kids.
“How do you think I gained my education? By waiting for someone to decide what I need to know? The only thing you learn that way is that women are thought to have inferior minds to men.”
“You said you don’t abide liars, cheats, and thieves, and I—”
“You’re all of those things,” he cut in flatly. She dragged in a gasp that felt like fire and sat back in her chair, stung to her bones. “You lied when you said we didn’t love each other. You cheated me out of three days of marriage we could have already had. And you’ve stolen my heart.”
- mail-order bride
- found family