Review of WHATEVER IT TAKES by Winnie Griggs (see her website)
Leisure Books, December 2002
To keep Katie, the child she has taken into her heart, Maddy Potter is ready to do anything--even take on the 'propriety police' of Pepper Cloud, Missouri. And the best way to persuade them that she can provide a good environment for Katie is to find a husband--or rather a prospective husband. Maddy has been married and promised on her husband's grave never to do that again. A beau who can conveniently disappear after the adoption is complete is the perfect answer.
Clay Kincaid owes a family debt of honor to Maddy for her rescue of his sister and certainly doesn't mind spending time with the beautiful woman, but two concerns limit his complete enjoyment of the company. First, Maddy shares her home with several older women who are anything but orthodox: is that really the best for Katie. Second, despite Maddy's assurances, he wonders whether this could possibly be part of a complex matchmaking scheme on the part of his mother and sister. Regardless, he's willing to play along--up to a point. One thing for sure, he may play at being the fiance, but he's not going to be the groom.
Author Winnie Griggs delivers a charming historical novel set in the late 1800s. Griggs gives Maddy and her friends Olive, Adeline, and Fanny sparkling personalities and enjoyable dialogue. Clay starts off as a bit of a moralist, but gets his come-uppance along with a chance at love. Griggs's scenes of everyday life in a previous century in America seemed authentic--showing both the good and not-so-good elements of life in this earlier time.
WHATEVER IT TAKES is a funny novel with just enough of a bitter-sweet subtext to deliver an emotional wallop. Very nice.
Purchase WHATEVER IT TAKES from Amazon.com. (Available in paperback.)