Karen Witemeyer's A Worthy Pursuit pits a bounty hunter against a woman who refuses to give up her charges. Charlotte, formerly a teacher, is the legal guardian of a young prodigy, but she knows that the little girl's wealthy grandfather will stop at nothing to get her back. When the old man sics bounty hunter Stone Hammond after her, it takes some work to convince Stone that she is in the right. Stone doesn't like being played--and he's pretty sure it isn't the lovely teacher who is playing him. But how can they protect the girl, especially when her grandfather is inclined to keep sending bounty hunters after her--and not all of them are as scrupulous as Stone?
Being a pianist myself, I loved the musical theme to the story. I really connected with Charlotte's use of the piano as a catalyst for emotional release, having many times found release in the same way. I also enjoyed being able to hear the music in my head as she plays, since most of the mentioned pieces are famous works such as Beethoven's The Tempest and the first movement of the Moonlight Sonata.
I was really happy that even though Charlotte has trouble trusting people, she and Stone don't fall into the he-breaks-her-trust-just-when-she-begins-to-trust-him cliché. It's a trap many heroes fall into, but not in this novel! Which is not to say things go smoothly for the two of them, but they avoid the overused conflict that so often accompanies trust issues, making for a less predictable story.
The three children are precious of course, each special in their own way--I was highly amused by Lilly's rather bloodthirsty nature. I really appreciated that being intelligent individuals, Stone and Charlotte are prone to using their heads and making intelligent plans, not just impulsively jumping straight into the hot water! I hate it when characters make obviously foolish choices, and these two never do. Their plans do not always work out, but they always use their brains.
Karen Witemeyer is an expert at blending humor with depth for a well-rounded, satisfying read, and this one is no exception. 5 out of 5 stars!
Thank you Bethany House for providing a free book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to make it positive, and all opinions are my own.
Be sure to read the novella sequel, "The Husband Maneuver," from the With This Ring? anthology.