Robin Lee Hatcher draws her readers into her novel A Matter of Character with a romantic twist between the two main characters. Daphne McKinley is a strong, independent woman of twenty-seven living a quiet life in the small town of Bethlehem Springs, Idaho, just as World War I had come to a close. Joshua Crawford is a young man who comes to town to work on the newspaper staff in hopes of finding D. B. Morgan, the man who sullied the name of his beloved grandfather after the manager of the newspaper passed away. The characters’ emotions run every which way as they try to understand love in a situation where secrets are kept and half-truths are told.
Hatcher uses both dialogue and description to compliment the various journal entries and letters scattered throughout the novel. She switches from Daphne’s point of view to Joshua’s with ease throughout the story. Joshua and Daphne have a strange relationship, like two young teens falling in love for the first time. They are each attracted to the other but are too afraid to tell the truth about how they feel. Over and over Hatcher invades the mind of Daphne, who tries to describe Joshua’s eyes with words, but always comes up short, yet she still longs to gaze into them.
Daphne is faced with many issues regarding her profession. As a woman in 1918, it is not acceptable to write novels, so she hides under a pen name, and is weary of what people will think of her when her secret is revealed. Ultimately, Daphne decides to tell her brother, Morgan, and love interest, Joshua. Each has different reactions to the matter.
Daphne is strong and has been used to doing things on her own since she was young. She would not mind having a husband one day, but is comfortable on her own until she is able to find someone who truly loves her. Sometimes she lets her emotions get the best of her, causing her writing to become hurtful toward someone, therefore not honoring God with the gift He has given her. The character of common interest for both Daphne and Joshua is Richard Terrell, otherwise known as Rawhide Rick in D. B. Morgan’s novels. Terrell was the main villain in Morgan’s books and is the grandfather of Joshua Crawford. This man’s past is what brings Daphne and Joshua together in the first place.
Even though this book is the third in the series, I was able to jump right into the story without knowing any previous information from the first two novels. The story of Daphne and Joshua is carefully and thoughtfully crafted to make both parties’ feelings seem relatable. It allows the love and passion to exude from the pages into the reader’s heart and mind. The characters are constantly calling out to God, expecting that He will provide hope and an answer in his or her time of distress. It is obvious Hatcher wants her characters to be realistic and someone to whom the reader can relate. Any woman could easily appreciate this book and its characters. – Diana Friend, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
Although her family is wealthy, Daphne McKinley has moved to the small town of Bethlehem Springs, where she writes Wild West adventure dime novels under the pseudonym D. B. Morgan. Newspaper editor Joshua Crawford has put his life on hold until he can expose the lies that this Morgan fellow has written about the beloved, saintly grandfather who raised him. Once Daphne meets Joshua, it takes a while for her to decide to acknowledge her secret identity. After all, no proper lady would dare pen dime novels in 1918. But when Daphne discovers how serious Joshua is about clearing his grandfather's name, and how important it is to him, she tells the truth about her alter ego and accompanies Joshua on a fact-finding mission.