Unruly schoolchildren, three suitors, and too many things to do
It is Ruth Brookings’ first year teaching school. She wants to instill a love of learning into them, but between the unruly children and persistence of an unwanted suitor, she is overwhelmed.
To make matters worse, when Ruth prays for guidance, she’s answered with a challenge instead: To encourage her friend, Sheriff Micah Carson to find a wife—whether he wants one or not. When she does, he starts to avoid her and the shy teacher wonders if she just lost one of her only friends.
Will Micah start talking to her again? Can God teach her to trudge through the valley and still trust Him when things get tough?
Although this is the fourth book in the series, it can be read as a standalone. Most of the characters were introduced in the first three books of the series, so some character development will be missing in this book, but not so much you can't enjoy the book itself.
Ruth rested her books precariously on her left arm as she put the key in the lock. The lock snapped and she gripped the doorknob. As she turned the knob, a boot thumped on the bottom step behind her. Ruth spun around and her books crashed to the porch as she faced the intruder.
“I’m sorry. Did I startle you?” Micah asked.
Ruth put a hand to her heart as if making sure it hadn’t left her chest. “Yes, you did.” She laughed nervously. “You need to stop practicing your Indian walking.”
Micah grinned sheepishly. “Sorry about that. I thought you saw me. You must’ve been lost in thought under that big hat of yours.”
Ruth huffed. “I’ll have you know this hat was specially made for me by Joshua. He knew I didn’t like bonnets because they shade the sides of my face too much.”
Micah smiled as he bent down and helped Ruth pick up her books and papers. “I know. I just like teasing you about it. How’d the first day of school go?”
“After a minor problem at the beginning, the day went very well.”
“A minor problem?” Micah asked as he picked up the last book and straightened. “This wouldn’t involve my son, would it?”
Ruth cleared her throat. “Um, yes, it would.”
Micah frowned. “What did he do this time?”
“Nothing needing discipline, just a little correction. And it wasn’t just him; John Jenkins, and Clem and Chancy Lancaster were also to blame. I took care of it and hopefully most of their classroom antics will be avoided by splitting them all up during class.”
Micah raised his right eyebrow. “I hope so. Let me know if Jeremiah causes too much trouble.”
Ruth looked up at him with a smile. “I plan to. Just like I plan to tell any of the parents if their child gets to be too much trouble.”
Micah chuckled. “Thank you, Miss Brookings. I’d better get back to the office to make sure Obadiah isn’t getting into trouble.” He handed her the stack of books and papers.
“Your deputy is causing trouble?”
“Nah. He just likes to think he’s the sheriff and do some of the paperwork. Then he messes it up so much I end up spending twice as long fixing it than I would if I’d done it to begin with.”
Ruth laughed and shook her head. “Then you’d better get back fast. I have school assignments to figure out anyway, so I have plenty to work on tonight as well.”
Micah tipped his hat at her. “Talk to you again soon, Miss Brookings.”
“Same to you, Mr. Carson.”