Loving Charity
by Catherine Archibald
(Leisure, $4.99, PG-13) ISBN 0-8439-4704-7
****
Jason Wade is looking for the killer who raped and murdered his wife. He has tracked Wayne Grisak from Boston to the small town of Helmsville, Wisconsin. Jason needs to watch for Grisak, so he tries to find a job in town. Elija Applegate, a Quaker, takes pity on Jason and hires him to help at the farm. Jason does not tell Elija why he is in town so that he can stay in the background. He also knows that as a Quaker, Elija would not approve of Jasonís plan to kill Grisak.

Elijaís daughter Charity and Jason are quickly attracted to each other. She tries to encourage his attention, but he knows that despite the attraction, he canít take advantage of her. Jason comes from a completely different background that she and his plans to kill Grisak are against everything she believes.

The Applegates are involved in the Underground Railroad. Jason and Charity discover that Grisak has captured a runaway slave named Lizzy that Charity had befriended. When Jason leaves to chase the slave catcher, Charity follows him and convinces him that she has to help Lizzy escape. Jason is not that concerned about Lizzy, but Charity refuses to tell him some information he needs until he agrees to let her go with him. She proves particularly daring, but somewhat foolish in her attempts to help Jason. She does not want him to kill Grisak because she feels it will not help Jason get over the torment he feels for his wifeís death.

The author movingly describes the Applegate family and the beliefs they hold. She shows them as a loving, giving family who are honest about their feelings toward each other and everyone else. When the subject of killing to defend oneself is discussed, she givens a balanced view of the situation and does not declare either side right or wrong, but uses it as a way for Charity to examine her thoughts and Jasonís ideals.

Jason and Charity are very sweet together, with a passion that builds and builds. She is not shy once she knows she loves him. He puts her off as best he can until he does what he considers the right thing for them. The confrontations with Grisak are ugly. He is a nasty villain, but both Charity and Jason handle him, each in their own way.

I enjoyed this tale of two people who are truly very nice and honorable. I did have some trouble toward the end when the description of their time in Boston with Jasonís family and friends seemed rushed, but besides that, I recommend Loving Charity as a worthwhile story.

--B. Kathy Leitle


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