Tomorrow I’ll post what inspired this book. My favorite scene is when Jeremy reads the letter Rebecca left for him, but that would be too much of a spoiler, so I’m going to go with part of the scene where Jeremy Graham decides to marry Jane.
Quick background into the scene: Jane just learned her brother and sister-in-law (Will and Susie) has sold her to Micah, and she’s furious with him…
“You know Jeremy will never marry me to Micah when I say no,” Jane protested.
“Oh, don’t be silly,” her brother replied. “I wouldn’t take you to Preacher Graham. He knows us. I’d take you to one who doesn’t.”
She gasped. “You can’t force me to marry Micah!”
“That depends on the preacher.”
“At least he’s a man,” Susie added with a shrug. “I don’t see any other man coming by offering you his hand in marriage.”
“Then you haven’t been looking in the right direction.”
The three stopped to turn their attention to the man who stood in the open doorway.
Jeremy stepped into the house. “The door was open so I thought you wanted me to come right in, but considering the discussion, I believe it was an oversight.”
Jane blinked at his bitter tone.
Her brother’s eyes widened and he let out a tentative laugh. “Preacher! I think you misunderstand the situation. I’m trying to help Jane.”
“From what I heard, she doesn’t want your help,” Jeremy said. “In fact, it sounded like she’s opposed to the marriage you proposed.” He turned to her. “You don’t want to marry Micah, do you?”
“Of course not,” she replied.
Jeremy turned back to her brother. “That seems pretty clear to me. Did you have trouble understanding her?”
Her brother sighed. “It’s not that easy, Preacher. There are things to consider.”
“What kind of things?” Jeremy asked.
At first, he seemed baffled by the question but then answered, “For one, her age. She’s not getting any younger. She’ll be twenty-three come January. I don’t want to see her end up an old maid. She ought to have a husband to provide for her and children to tend to.” With an excited nod, he continued, “Susie here has never been happier in her entire life. Her life was meaningless until she married me. Isn’t that right, honey?”
Susie jerked and glanced from Jeremy to Will. “I need to check on supper. Come along, children.” Without any delay, she nudged Hank and Irene so that they were hurrying on out of the parlor.
Will looked like he wanted to protest but then caught sight of Jeremy’s grim expression and closed his mouth.
“Anything else?” Jeremy pressed.
Clearing his throat, he straightened his vest and nodded. “Alright. Yes, there is. I’m her brother. That means I’m the one who has to see to her welfare. That being the case, I can make decisions on her behalf, even important ones.”
“I won’t marry her to Micah.”
“You’re not the only preacher around.”
“I think you’ll be hard pressed to find a preacher who’s willing to force a woman into a marriage she doesn’t want.”
“Force is such a harsh word.”
“Then what would you call it?”
After a moment of staring at the ceiling, her brother said, “Convince. Yes, I’d convince the preacher it’s best for her.”
Jeremy narrowed his eyes at her brother. “Convince? Exactly what do you mean by that?”
Jane watched as her brother gave a slight shrug as he made a big show of checking the button on his shirt sleeve. She didn’t like this. It seemed to her that her brother was planning something horrible. She stormed up to him. “I don’t know what you’re thinking, but I can’t believe you would even strike such a bargain with Micah. I’m your sister, and this is how you treat me?”
Will glanced at Jeremy before he took her by the elbow and pulled her to the corner of the room. In a whisper, he said, “Tell him to go home. We shouldn’t be having this discussion in front of him.”
“There is no discussion, Will, because I’m not marrying Micah.” Pointing her finger at him, she hissed, “You better get that through your thick skull before I come after you with a rolling pin.”
Jeremy strode over to them. “I’ve had enough. Will, you want to see her married so she can be fulfilled, correct?”
Her brother glanced at her uncertainly before he turned his attention back to Jeremy. “Ah…yes. I don’t think a woman is complete without a man.”
“I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear that,” Jane shot back.
“If you were to use that kind of reasoning,” Jeremy began, “you’d conclude that a man isn’t complete without a woman either. In marriage, the two are united as one, after all.” He looked at Jane. “Do you want to be married?”
“Of course, I do,” she admitted.
“Ah ha!” Her brother pointed his finger at her and smiled in triumph. “There you go. See, Preacher? She does want to get married.”
“Not to Micah!” she snapped.
“Micah. Some other man.” He shrugged. “What’s the difference?”
Now it was Jeremy who took her by the elbow and led her to another corner of the room. “Would you consider marrying me?”