1880's Denver is the settting for Maureen Lang's historical romance novel ALL IN GOOD TIME. Henry Hawkins is such a successful banker that all the eligible ladies and their families would like to catch his attention, but Hawkins has a secret past that keeps him from entering too far into Denver's growing society. Keeping mostly to himself, Henry has made profit his life's goal. When he hears that his uncle, an officer at the bank, has agreed to lend money to young Dessa Caldwell, who has the dream of opening a refuge for women trying to put aside lives as prostitutes, Henry is sure that the investment is a loss. Then he meets the determined Dessa and becomes more and more drawn into her dream for Pierson House.
Dessa has a secret herself, and never thinks that romance is in her future, but of course, readers see it. Clearly Dessa is quite naive as shown when "theatre" owner Turk Foster offers to help Dessa's raise money for Pierson House. Could it be that, he, too, is personally interested in the young woman, or does he have a darker reason for offering his assistance?
1880's Denver appears to be quite a dichotomy with its seedy side of town and then the emerging
upper society. That there may be connections between the two is denied by all. This may be the most realistic part of the book.
This was a fast, enjoyable read for me, but nothing really seized my interest and demanded that I read this book. As in most books, I found a few things to like. Here they are -- First, I really like Dessa's name. I would borrow that name if I had a little girl to name or even a female pet. Second, I liked that both Henry and Dessa had secrets from their youth that they wanted hidden because they thought those past actions made them unacceptable. They both learn otherwise. Third, Lang did a good job in creating some interesting secondary characters --Uncle Tobias, the young street urchin Nadette, and the drunk who lives in Dessa's stable.
Little realistic details are what bring historical fiction to life for me. In ALL IN GOOD TIME, Lang
refers to Dessa's wonderful baked goods, all baked in her Monarch range, her one extravagant purchase. Most people would just visualize an old fashioned stove and move on with the story, but
that captivated me. I knew that the Monarch Range Company was a Beaver Dam, WI company which went out of business in the 1980's. I knew that they had been around for a long, long time, but I wondered if Monarch ranges existed in 1880. An internet check showed, that no, the Monarch range dates to the 1890's but not before. I guess that is a minor miss, but I don't like details that aren't accurate.
Final analysis. I would give the book about a 3.5, a nice read, but not compelling.