Author: Kathleen Rouser
Genre: Historical Romance
Stone Creek, Michigan, April, 1901 Maggie Galloway and Thomas Harper clash after their sons collide in a fistfight. Both widowed, they’re each doing their best as single-parents. Outgoing Maggie has dreams for a home of her own and a business to provide for her son as she searches for God’s path for her life as a widow. Reserved Thomas struggles to establish his new pharmacy and take care of his four rambunctious children, while wondering how a loving God could tak e his beloved wife.
When Thomas becomes deathly ill, Maggie is recruited to nurse him back to health. Taking the children in hand, as well, is more than she bargained for, but she is drawn to help the grieving family. Both nurse and patient find themselves drawn to each other but promptly deny their feelings.
A baking contest sponsored by the Silver Leaf Flour Company brings former beau, Giles Prescott, back into Maggie’s life. When Giles offers Maggie a position at their test kitchen in Chicago, he hints that, along with assuring her a good job, it will allow them to possibly rekindle their relationship.
But then a charlatan comes to town, and tragedy soon follows. Maggie and Thomas discover the miracle potions he hawks aren’t so harmless when an epidemic hits Stone Creek. Thomas and Maggie realize they must work together to save lives.
Maggie finds herself caught up in battles within and without—the battle to help the townsfolk in the midst of illness and chicanery, and the battle to know which man—Thomas or Giles—deserves to win her heart.
Reviewer: Sandra Burson
Kathleen Rouser writes an endearing Christian historical fiction romance from the early 1900's. This was the first book that I have read by this author. I did not realize that it was a squeal. When I read the last page of Secrets and Wishes, I had to go on Amazon and purchase Rumors and Promises. I can not wait to start it. Even though I will be reading them out of sequence, I am sure I will enjoy both. Secrets and Wishes worked fine as a stand-alone book.
Her characters are so well crafted, you will find yourself caring for each of them. She can make a setting or location come to life. I found the information and details of the apothecary from that era interesting, especially some of the herbs used. The names are familiar to me through essential oils, and the uses have not changed. This time period was very hard, with epidemics of measles, scarlet fever, and whooping cough. Towns were lucky to have their own doctor. When the doctor was out to deliver a baby or to a farm area, the pharmacist would be called on for advice, dispensing medicine, or sometimes stitching a wound. You can tell Ms. Rouser enjoys history and has done an excellent job in her research.
I loved the heroine, Maggie Galloway. Being a widow, raising her son by herself, she had to be a strong woman, and she was. At first, I had a hard time with Thomas Harper, he seemed weak and a complainer at first. Thomas too had lost his spouse, but he was raising four children and trying to run the apothecary by himself. Even though Thomas and Maggie did not see eye to eye on many things, they found they had a lot in common after all.
I always love when an author can weave a faith-based message in their story. I found Ms. Rouser's story to be a delightful read and I would recommend it.
I received a copy of this book from the author. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.
Reviewer: Laura J. Davis
You know the saying, "Never judge a book by its cover?" Sadly, that is what I did with Kathleen Rouser's book Secrets & Wishes. The cover didn't draw me in at all, but I am so glad I read it anyway. Rouser is an awesome writer and the story immediately drew me in.
Thomas Harper is a widower and Maggie Galloway is a widow. Both seem incredibly suited for each other, but they get off on the wrong foot and seem to get on each other's nerves. Until Thomas falls ill and Maggie has to nurse him back to health.
As each begins to wonder how their feelings have changed towards each other, a former beau, Giles Prescott, enters into the picture and tries to sweep Maggie off her feet. Who will she choose? You'll have to read the book to find out!
The secondary cast of characters was delightful and I loved the faith element in it as well.
One thing I found interesting about this book is the mention of Mrs. Winslow's Soothing Syrup. Are all my favourite writers in the same writing group? The last three books I've read all made mention of this deadly syrup. With each of them devising some way for their characters to alert those around them to its dangers.
How odd is that?
Anyway, this is a book you definitely want to pick up!