Ruby’s had to be grown up ever since her mom died when Ruby was just a girl and Ruby has not only been in charge of the care of her little sister but has been a Nanny to several other children. When she receives word her father is dying out west, she and her little sister Opal, venture west to Little Missouri (also called Little Misery by its residents.) They arrive just in time for her father’s death. He bequeaths the only asset he had, a saloon complete with saloon girls who make their living as soiled doves.
This first book in the series takes us through Ruby’s struggle to keep her promise to her father to “take care of the girls,” while changing the purpose of the saloon to a hotel and dining establishment. It isn’t easy. Thrown into the mix is her desperate need for cash to prop up the failing business and conflict with Belle one of the girls who seems bent on making her life miserable.
There is a taste of romance as Ruby gets to know the cavalry captain and a second hint at romance as she encounters a local rancher who rubs her the wrong way. I found it rather ridiculous that Ruby’s father would day the very next day after her arrival and that she is absolutely clueless that the girls are saloon girls and “working girls.” Sure, she’s sheltered, but really? If you want full- fledged romance you will have to wait until the next book in the series. The book end abruptly with no resolution regarding the romance. All in all, it’s a nice prairie romance with likable characters though I would have liked the ends to have been a little more wrapped up. I give it three out of five stars.