Miranda Wimplegate's family runs a discreet and prestigious auction house in Boston, but when they accidentally auction off the wrong painting they must brave a trip to Missouri to recover it in this second book of the Ozark Mountain Romance Series. Miranda decides to accompany her grandfather on the journey, as his ability to think and reason has been slipping recently, and she's also anxious to avoid Cousin Cornelius and his recent talk of marriage.
The Wimplegates have traced the mistakenly sold painting to its destination in Hart County, and when they find out the local auction house is for sale, they purchase it sight unseen and ask that nothing is sold until their arrival. Nothing could have prepared Miranda and Elmer to arrive and find that Hart County's action house doesn't deal in antiques and art, but rather noisy, smelly, dirty livestock.
The Ballentine family has managed the livestock auction for years, and Wyatt has been attempting to save up enough money to buy it, although his skirt-chasing brother Isaac has found ways to sabotage his dreams. Now Wyatt is frustrated to have a fragile elderly man and his quietly stubborn and highly cultured granddaughter trying to step in to something they know nothing about. Especially since it's clear they are concealing the real reason they are in Missouri, and that they are subtly searching for something specific.
With Elmer's mental troubles causing more problems by the day, mysterious men creeping around the neighborhood, and the distinct lack of the painting they are trying to find, Miranda slowly begins to accept help from the rugged and hardworking Wyatt. But Isaac has told her things about Wyatt that make her uncertain that he is who he presents himself to be. Which brother is trustworthy in this strange backwood country she's found herself in? And where in the world is the missing painting?
This book reminded me so much of the work of the favorite author of my childhood, Stephen Bly. The mix-ups in the plot, the relationship between the main characters, the delightful scene-stealing minor characters, and the humor all brought happy associations to my mind. This was one of the most enjoyable books I've read this year and it thoroughly drew me in and captured my senses. Although it's the second book in a series it works as a stand alone, as it is set 8 years after the first one and only gives a few mentions to the main characters from "A Most Inconvenient Marriage." I'm very much looking forward to the third book in this series!
I received my copy of the book from LitFuse Publicity in exchange for this honest review. All opinions are my own. If you would like to read what other people are saying about "At Love's Bidding," click here.