“Lucky Penny” by Catherine Anderson: “Lucky Penny” is another Coulter family historical novel by Catherine Anderson. This book shows exactly how far a woman will go for her child. Brianna and David, the two main characters, are brought together by a fictitious story that Brianna tells to protect her daughter. Over time, she finds out how hard it is to keep the truth hidden.
In 1891, there were very few jobs available for a young mother. Brianna found one taking care of a widow’s son. When this man made advances, she kindly informed him that she was married. A bit later, he wants Brianna to write her husband and ask him to come get her and their child. He is about to remarry and has no use for Brianna’s services anymore. With her back against the wall, Brianna starts sending letters to David Paxton; a man she doesn’t think exists. For six years, Brianna and her daughter, Daphne, continue writing letters to the fictitious David. Over time, Daphne takes the story to heart and wishes that her papa would come to their rescue.
David Paxton is a Marshall in No Name, Colorado. He is surprised to receive a phone call from the postmaster informing him that he’s been receiving letters. David doesn’t recognize the names of the sender or remember meeting Brianna or having a child. Then David starts to remember his wilder days. He realizes that he could have met Brianna while he was drunk and possibly could have gotten her pregnant. Guilt settles in, and he decides he must see for himself. He makes a trip to meet Brianna and Daphne.
When David arrives, Brianna is shocked. Daphne, on the other hand, couldn’t be happier to finally meet her papa. David insists that they come back with him to No Name, but Brianna tries to convince him that Daphne is not really his daughter. He doesn’t believe her because Daphne looks just like his mother and has many of the Paxton traits. Brianna is adamant about taking their story to a local judge. She tries to explain to the judge that David is not Daphne’s father, but everything seems to be working against her that night. She is forced to marry David in a mock ceremony and to move to No Name to start a new life.
On their way to No Name, Brianna tries to tell David the truth about Daphne’s birth – that she is really the daughter of Brianna’s twin sister and the man who raped her. Her sister died right after childbirth and pleaded with Brianna to raise Daphne as her own. David doesn’t believe Brianna and can’t understand how she could tell him such a farfetched story. She finally gives up trying to make him understand the truth. His family welcomes Brianna and Daphne with open arms.
David and Brianna agree to live together pretending to be man and wife. David knows their marriage was not truly legal, and Brianna doesn’t want to break Daphne’s heart by telling her that David isn’t her papa. As they spend more and more time together, Brianna realizes that David is a great father. She can’t help falling in love with him. She doesn’t know that David is falling for her also. It all comes to a head when the local schoolteacher verbally attacks David in front of everyone at a town social. The schoolteacher had been hurt when David returned to town with a wife and child. She had expected David to propose to her. In a jealous snit, she snooped in his office until she found truth about Brianna. She made sure to tell David in front of everyone that Daphne wasn’t his daughter or Brianna’s. Unfortunately, Daphne overhears this and runs away.
Brianna, David and his family set out to find Daphne as soon as they notice she’s missing. When they find her, she’s so upset with both of them that she doesn’t want to see them or go home with them. David explains to Daphne that Brianna may not be her birth mother, but she is her mother. He also expresses the love he has for her and Brianna. Daphne has an idea that they should sign a contract stating that they’ll be her mama and papa forever. Since they’ve already declared their feelings for each other, they are finally ready to become a true family.
“Lucky Penny” will not disappoint fans of historical westerns. I enjoyed this book because it shows the true meaning of family. Brianna is a very strong-willed woman willing to do whatever it takes to support her daughter. It doesn’t matter that Brianna is not her birth child. She is willing to keep her sister’s secret from Daphne to protect her. David appears like a knight on a white horse. He is sincere in offering his support also. I would recommend this book to readers who want to see a separated family find their way to each other.
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