Reviewer: Connie Payne
Title: The Law and Miss Mary - Connected to all previous historical titles by Dorothy Clark
Author: Dorothy Clark
Publisher: Steeple Hill (Love Inspired)
Release Date: August 2009
Genre/Sub-genre: Historical Inspirational Romance
Year/Setting: 1840, St. Louis
Overall Rating: 4.0
Sexual Content Rating: None
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: None
Violent Content Rating: None/Negligible
Dorothy's E-Mail: DorothyJClark
Sheís tall, thin and plain. Mary Randolph doesnít feel that any man would want her. In fact she knows no man wants her for anything other than her fatherís money. Thatís reason enough for a change of scenery, a fresh start where no one knows of her fatherís wealth. Perhaps this time in St. Louis with her brother will be good for her. Itís unlikely, but maybe, maybe Mary will meet a man who will overlook her plainness, her forthright manner and fall in love with her.
Captain Sam Benton has a plan. Heís had one since he was quite young. Marry well and rise in the ranks of society. Heís within sight of reaching his goal. Heís invested soundly and has chosen the mayorís daughter to be his future wife. With wealth, a dream home, and a foot in the door with the cityís father he canít go anywhere but up. Unfortunately Miss Randolph stirs up trouble between Sam and his conscience and the mayor.
Soft-hearted Mary intervenes when a young homeless boy is about to be carted off to jail by the handsome Captain of the police force for stealing a bread roll. Young Ben is the first in a string of several children Mary takes in, much to the chagrin of Captain Benton. Soon an idea is born to save the homeless children. Maryís project is quite ambitious and may be more than she can handle.
Itís not long before Sam is walking a fine line, attempting to implement new laws regarding the children and wanting to help Miss Randolph. Yet if he wants to keep his job, if he wants to move up in the ranks of society he has to tow the line. Towing the line, however, is becoming more difficult with each moment he spends in the lovely Miss Randolphís company.
God has His work cut out for Him. With Mary feeling as if Heís playing favorites bestowing beauty and grace on other women and Sam feeling God didnít answer his prayers as a boy, well, itís hard for both of them to see His answers or how Heís working in their lives.
I had mixed feelings while reading this story. On one hand I found it depressing and sad, the thought that due to circumstances beyond their control there were children who were abandoned on the streets and the majority of the citizens held them in contempt and found them lacking and beneath their help or notice. On the other hand it was inspiring and hopeful as Mary set the example and opened her heart, mind, home, and purse strings to help every child she could, in whatever way she could, no matter the obstacles.
It would have been so easy for the scale to have tipped to the darker, more depressing side of the story. It would have been just as easy for the scale to have tipped to the sweeter, more do-good side of the story. But it wasnít tipped in either direction. Ms. Clark did a beautiful job in balancing the different nuances of The Law and Miss Mary, including the subtle inspirational references that werenít overwhelming and never preached to the reader. Quite inspiredÖMary thinking God is playing favorites. Who hasnít ever thought that but didnít want to voice it?
A pleasant, heart-warming and inspiring read.
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