I found this book extraordinarily charming. Garwood's historical romances showcase her ability to weave an incredible love story around wonderfully human characters, each with their own sense of humor, flaws, and vulnerabilities. This book took me on a journey together with the Claybournes, four lonely, stubborn, and discarded boys (except for Adam, their leader) who find a baby in the trash and band together to raise her. When Harrison MacDonald comes into town his sole motivation is to find out if the woman they've raised, Mary Rose, is the stolen daughter of his employer. Along the way, he discovers that sometimes the family you find is the one that matters most in your heart.
All the brothers, Mary Rose, and Harrison are distinct characters and I couldn't help but enjoy the journey with them all. By the end of the book I had fallen in love with each one of them and found myself rooting for them, against all the odds stacked against them in the book. They love, bicker, and make-up like a family and the story held my interest the whole book through. While there were some historical niggles through-out the book (Harrison referring to Mary Rose as "baby" took me out of the story a time or two and did not seem at all in character or in keeping with where he was from and the time period) they didn't dim my enjoyment one bit. I love that Mary Rose is feisty and independent with strong opinions and a mind of her own. She's no push over or wilting flower. I appreciated that while Harrison and her weren't always on the same page, and often misunderstood each other this wasn't a book of "big misunderstandings". They clearly loved each other, and it was clear why. I enjoy the humor throughout the book as well, even though the book touches on some very serious things. Overall, this book was, personally, the exact book I wanted and expected to read when I picked it up. Garwood is wonderful at making me become personally involved with all her characters and since I first read "The Bride" she has made me feel at home whenever I pick up one of her books. This book met my expectations, opened it's arms, and welcomed me home.