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The Prospector's Only Prospect

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The Prospector’s Only Prospect

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Set against a gold mining community in the wilderness, this romance is equal parts sweet and erotic. Marigold, a disgraced woman running from her past, answers an ad for a wife. Virgil, a prospector and single father needs a mother for his children, despite still dealing with the betrayal of his wife.

**What I liked**
Ummmm… I’m obsessed. This is exactly what I’ve wanted in historical romance. It has the tension that the purity culture of the past provides, while allowing for more exploration than regency romance has. The premise feels less ridiculous, which isn’t necessarily better but I do appreciate. I’ve also always been a sucker for mail order brides and the tension that brings.

Marigold is also 27, so an older FMC, and not a virgin, which both are refreshing. I’m also such a sucker for the trope of the gruff man who suddenly has kids he cares for and has to learn to be more tender. One of my absolute favorite tropes and this one does it well.

**What I disliked**
There weren’t any things I particularly disliked. This book is logical and the conflicts feel normal and understandable. I wasn’t frustrated with the decisions at any point. It’s short but I actually appreciate that. It doesn’t feel underdeveloped but is also a short fun read.


You’ll like this if you like:
- grumpy men learning to be more tender
- Women who know their minds and speak up
- Side characters that feel real
- Feminist themes

I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed this. It’s a well constructed story with good pacing.

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A good book. Marigold and Virgil are good main characters. I liked the details and dialogue. I thought it was very fast paced and interesting. A must read!

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The Prospector’s Only Prospect. By Dani Collins. 2023. Entangled: Amara (ARC eBook).

I couldn’t put this book down. The romance between Marigold and Virgil is wholly satisfying. The story is well-written and the backdrop of a mining camp in the Kansas Territory provides added interest as Marigold comes to know Virgil and his three children. I’ve liked the contemporary romance I’ve read by Collins and am definitely interested in reading more historical romances by her. And The Prospector’s Only Prospect would be a solid springboard into a series.

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I loved this book, it's not a genre I read a lot of but the few I have read have been good.

Marigold, Virgil and the children, along with the men of the town were all great to get to know. I loved the relationship that grew between Marigold and Virgil, both very different people they ended up fitting together well despite their rocky start and Marigold taking her sister's place thinking she was doing what was best for her sister.

I didn't like the sister when I did meet her, she was nothing like Marigold who was honest, warm, strong and lovely. I did feel the breakup near the end wasn't needed, I'd have liked it more if they had just been open and honest about their feelings and the situation with Marigold's sister, after all they had been through together. I'm very glad it had a HEA for Marigold and Virgil and of course the children.

There were laughs, tears and happy feels throughout this novel.

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The Prospector’s Only Prospect is a delightful historical romance that puts a new spin on a mail order bride trope. Divorcee Marigold Davis took her sister’s place and lands in Denver City 1859 to marry her intended. Mining company owner Virgil Gardner needs a wife to take care of his three children and was surprised with the switch and decided to give Marigold a try as a housekeeper, and not his wife, and see if things work out. Marigold turned out better than expected as she bonds with the children, charms the miners and even found an attraction to Virgil. Surprisingly, Virgil finds out that Marigold could go toe to toe with him and that he kind of liked that, and possibly in over his head with this woman.

Dani Collins wrote a humorous, sensual and historical depiction of life in the Kansas Territory prior to the outbreak of the Civil War. Those individuals trying their hand at striking it rich mining for gold is not an easy occupation, and the conditions were minimal. The story brought two broken individuals trying to survive and thrive under these circumstances. Emotions were kept in check for most part, but when you are trying to build a relationship and children are involved, your hearts start to thaw and you develop feelings and unexpectedly love.Trust is such a hard thing to build with another person and the slow growth of it between Virgil and Marigold was bumpy and so fulfilling when it is finally realized. I adored the children and how just wanted to be loved by their father and caretaker Marigold. Virgil and Marigold’s banter was funny at times and of course the twist at the end made it a real dilemma for Virgil.

I was drawn into the story and the description of the place and conditions just added to the story. Any historical fan reader will have a good time reading The Prospector’s Only Prospect.

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This delightful and tender romance between opposites was an engaging read from start to finish. I couldn’t put this book down.

The Prospector’s Only Prospect has the most common troupe in the romance rule book - forced proximity, a marriage of convenience, grumpy meets sunshine. Yet it was written with such a new and captivating feel, with witty banter, intimacy, and sizzling tension between the main characters that builds in climatic angst to a satisfying end.
This book is going into my re-read lists.

Virgil and Marigold are perfect together. Marigold might be naive, but not annoyingly so, and she learns to survive the harsh terrain. While Virgil can give new meaning to the word grump, he is a loving father and truly cares about every person he is responsible for.

Apart from the romance that was a huge part of why this book was a page-turner, aspects that added more depth to the story were also how Virgil learns to be an affectionate father, Marigold’s growth and how everyone welcomes her with open arms and loads of fun, shy flirtatious gestures. It was so adorable, like how Marigold is awful at giving haircuts, yet, everyone in the community goes to her, and Virgil can see his employees walking around with really lopsided haircuts and thinks that they have been a victim of Marigold’s scissors.

Dani Collins has brilliantly written their character development while giving readers a glimpse of their challenging lives back in the day and the warmth of the community that Virgil and Marigold were part of. Hope this is a series cause I am not ready to part with the characters yet.

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I loved Marigold and Virgil! This was a stunning western romance and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Many thanks to Entangled Publishing and to Netgalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.

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This was my first book by Dani Collins, and it was delightful! I've always loved historical romance set in the old west, and it's a mail-order bride trope. I haven't read one in years, and I've always enjoyed them.

I really loved Marigold and Virgil together, and the children were a wonderful addition. This book has so many cute and funny moments. It also has plenty of steam.

This book was so much fun, and I will certainly be picking up more by this author.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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If you’re a fan of stubborn or miscommunication, this is for you. I loved Marigold and her tenacity. I even liked Virgil, in his grumpy way, they make a great couple. I feel like historical romance is becoming one of my favorite genres. (Also- I’m putting it out there Id like to see Pearl with Owen. Let’s manifest that.)

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Very sweet romance. Marigold comes to Denver to marry her sister's mail order husband, but finds love and a ready made family. Interesting side plots about suffrage, divorce and becoming a state. Explicit sex.
I received this ARC at no charge from Netgalley and the author, but all opinions are my own.

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I have not previously been a super fan of western historical romance but we learn and we grow and we figure out that we actually do love mail order brides given how much I adored The Prospector’s Only Prospect and Kit McBride Gets a Wife recently.

Virgil has sent for a mail order bride from Kansas. This poor man runs a mining camp outside of growing Denver and Auroria, but he also has 3 kids to parent solo. The kids have some TRAUMA but it’s okay because he’s found them a mother… and then she shows up and OPE it’s her sister! Marigold decides to take the place of her sister after she gets engaged on the train to Denver. She’s planning to become the housekeeper and nanny for the kiddos, especially as there’s nothing left for her in Kansas. As time goes on, she and Virgil connect on more than just their care for their kids and employees.

Something that I loved about this was that it went through daily life, Marigold really just made best friends of all of the workers in the camp, they kept giving her courting gifts, and the kids grew more comfortable with their father and Marigold alike. Westerns have 1 of 2 endings…either there’s a massive problem that is solved with gunslinging or there’s a very small, manageable problem involving somebody showing up unexpectedly who is easily dealt with. Both of these are acceptable and welcome, and this fell into the latter. The historical context was also fascinating and something that really appreciate in a historical romance in general!

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A perfect mix of historical western and a romance with some spice. It was a mix of grumpy-sunshine and enemies to lovers. The female lead wasn’t necessarily a bubbly personality but boy was the male lead a grumpy man and they didn’t really like one another from the start. I loved their banter and chemistry. Marigold knew just how to get under Virgil’s skin, but they had some deeper conversations as well. I loved the community in the mining camp. All the men joked like family and treated Marigold as one of their own from the beginning. There were just enough intimate scenes for this type of romance, and they were written well. Virgil was so stubborn and created some tension between him and Marigold, but I liked how they worked through their problems. I would read more by this author.

Thank you @entangledpublishing and @netgalley for the gifted copy.

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The Prospector's Only Prospect by Dani Collins is everything I did not know I needed! I adore this novel! Collins beautiful crafts a simple and sensual romance that is enriched with delicious and well rounded characters. Collins writing is witty and conversational, it beautifully invokes a new frontier and explores the uncertainty of womanhood. This novel is well paced, romantic, heartwarming and sensual. The plot and characters work hand in hand beautifully laying out a new terrain and situations for our heroine and lovingly building a foundation of family and romance.

This novel is truly character and emotionally driven. Marigold is a fish out of water in this new town, in the role of caregiver, as well as learning who she is after a divorce and what she wants out of life. Marigold is smart, hard working, kind and knows how to stand up for herself. Virgil is in need of a wife to take care of his three children, he has a soft heart and wants the best for his family but he is uncertain of how to express his feelings. Both Marigold and Virgil were previously married and these marriages have shaded who they view the union and the other sex. The chemistry between these two instantly sparks, their banter is delightful, and these two are truly the perfect balance of the other. Collins has a lovely grasp on children and how to use them in this novel. The children are great characters that add a lovely level of caring and growth for both Marigold and Virgil. I love that they both learn from each other through the children, they learn to respect the other because of the way they interact with the children, and they learn to love again because of them. Collins builds the tension between these two through moments of contention, heated touches, and sensual thoughts and attraction. Their physical relationship is sweet and sexy, as they both begin to trust each other with their hearts.

This is the first novel I have read by Dani Collins and it will definitely not be my last! I loved this novel, I loved these characters, and I hope that Collins writes more in this world. I would highly recommend this to any historical romance lover! I am not always draw to an American set historical romance, but this one was just beautiful and had a comforting effect on me!

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Really enjoyed this action packed and emotionally thrilling adventure filled with exciting and engaging charters, witty dialog and heart racing twists with emotional turns. Great reading from beginning to end and so hard to put down.

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I get third-act conflicts/drama/breakups even if I think on the most part they’re unnecessary and often forced. This one, however, ruined the entire book so much that I DNF’d and don’t care about reading their HEA/HFN. Please keep a good thing going and stop with the melodrama.

Thank you for an advance reader copy via NetGalley. All thoughts are my own.

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I am, by nature, a cautious reader…I’m reluctant to try new authors, new foods, new settings, I like the tried and true. I’m cautious about beloved authors who migrate to new genres (please come back, Sarah Morgan and Molly O’Keefe), while I’d never begrudge a writer trying on new wings. So it was with a shaky heart I noted one of my favourite HP writers wrote a historical romance; “at least it’s still a romance,” I thought self-soothingly. And yet, I was delighted to realize I didn’t miss Collins HP because I was sucked in by The Prospector’s Only Prospect (not sure about the title, though), stayed up too late reading, spent the day half-into my responsibilities half-with-an-eye on the clock “When can I read my book again?”

To get us started and evidence how un-HP-like Collins has ventured, I offer you the blurbish bits:

After eight days in a cramped stagecoach, divorcée Marigold Davis already regrets her decision to come to Denver City to marry. She certainly didn’t realize she’d signed up for mosquitoes, mud, and scores of rough men eyeing her like a hot meal on a cold day. But with her life in Kansas all but incinerated, Marigold needs a husband. Even if she’s not the bride that gold prospector Virgil Gardner is expecting…

Virgil Gardner has a reputation as a grumpy hard-ass, and he’s fine with it. He’s also no fool—this is not the woman he agreed to marry. It takes a tough-as-nails woman to survive the harshness of a Rocky Mountain gold claim, and this whiskey-eyed, gentle beauty is certainly not the type. Now it’s just a matter of how quickly she’ll quit so he can find a wife who will stick. Someone who can care for the only thing he values even more than gold–his children.

But Marigold isn’t about to give in. Cramped in a one-room shack. Berry picking turned into a bear escape. Or cooking for an entire crew of bottomless pits. She’s got more grit than most. And just when Virgil starts to realize his replacement bride might be the treasure he’s been looking for, an unannounced guest arrives…to change everything.

Thinking about how Collins captures and captivates me with her HPs, I wanted to understand what it is she does, having the same I-wanna-read-nonstop experience with The Prospector’s Only Prospect. Collins surprises me: where I think I’m going to get conventional, I am delightfully surprised, where I think it’ll be tried-and-true, I’m challenged with her ability to take the genre on twists and turns and still give me the full romance yarn I love to read. In The Prospector’s Only Prospect, Collins captures the harshness, roughness, and deprivations of the gold-prospecting life. I loved the rough little historical details she gives us about 1870s Denver City. I learned about the debate between territory or state and she doesn’t shirk on how difficult life was, the sheer bareness of it, the lack of stuff. For example, heroine Marigold has a precious comb which she hangs on a peg, the cabin has a dirt floor, and to cook a meal…bake bread, make the family’s clothes, time-consuming and arduous.

The Prospector’s Only Prospect is rich in atmosphere and setting, secondary characters, and charming plot moppets, but the romance between Marigold and Virgil makes the novel. It’s complex, beautifully developped, and moving. I loved how Collins made Virgil and Marigold tough on the outside and soft and vulnerable on the inside. Marigold’s background and inner life are revealed before we get to know Virgil’s, which is no less heart-breaking. Marigold arrives in Denver City, leaving her sister and uncle behind, after hours of being sick on the train, and plain-old sad as she thinks: “She’d had nowhere to stay there, though. No place that was safe. No place that wanted her. It was the story of her life to hear the words. You can’t stay here.” Marigold and sister Pearl were orphaned, brought up by an uncle. Marigold thought she found someone to love and family to make with her husband Ben, but he was a cheating blackguard and humiliated her in divorce court.

Collins doesn’t mince words about what happens to a divorced woman: shamed and condemned. When Marigold sees that her sister may have a chance at happiness and without place or means of her own, she takes Pearl’s place as Virgil’s mail-order bride. I was happy Marigold was forthcoming and I didn’t have to endure a secret identity plot. This is what I mean about Collins surprising me: what I think will be conventional is not.

Marigold and Virgil set off for the cabin; they are snappish and annoyed: a sheer delight: ” ‘Keep up,’ he ordered. ‘My feet hurt.’ Her hands were in fists as she stalked across. When she got close enough, he saw her eyes were shiny with frustration. ‘These shoes are too small and your legs are too long.’ ‘My legs are exactly as long as they need to be to get me where I want to go.’ ” And then, Marigold’s first sight of the cabin: “Marigold made a noise like someone had knifed her. Okay, it was a shack. It was the best he had been able to throw together given the children had turned up with the spring melt.” Many nuggets of delight, but nothing matches Marigold giving Virgil a much-needed hair-cut: ” ‘It’s fine,’ she insisted but looked as if she needed to pee. ‘Maybe if these were sharper?’ She snipped the air twice. ‘You’re not paying for it,’ she reminded him. ‘Jesus Christ.’ He rose and went to the window, shifted to glimpse his reflection in the glass. ‘I look like a half-peeled potato!’ She bit her lips, showing no contrition at all. ‘I’ll get better now that I know what not do.’ “

Through the hardship and nature’s harshness, Marigold and Virgil are funny and tender. Their sharp banter only more beautifully develops their suitability. Their vulnerabilities: Marigold’s divorce leaving her with the constant doubt she doesn’t belong and Virgil’s origins as the illegitimate son of an indentured servant-mother with the constant thought he isn’t good enough make the bringing together of two smart, worthy, sexy, loving people a wonderful romance. Virgil and Marigold are not sentimental and their exchanges are the back-and-forth of straight-man Virgil and comic Marigold. Yet, their words, to our entertainment, belie how they care for and about each other. They bolster each other up and they validate each other where they’ve never been validated before.

I’ll still read any HP Collins writes (and my HP reading has trickled down to one or two authors), but darn it, I’m emerging from my cautious cocoon to say, with Miss Austen, Collins has penned a moving, tender, funny, beautiful historical romance that has “no charm equal to tenderness of heart,” Emma.

Dani Collins’s The Prospector’s Only Prospect is published by Entangled Publishing. I received an e-ARC from Entangled, via Netgalley. This doesn’t not impede the free and honest expression of my opinion.

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Who doesn't love a cowboy story no matter what year they fall under. This was a good one and I loved all parts of it. i will read more.

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This book was a hoot at times. I loved the well-balanced humor and struggle of prospecting life throughout the story. I was sucked in from the beginning and couldn't turn the pages fast enough. The characters are wonderful and the story engaging. Loved everything about it.

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This book was an okay read. I do like opposites attract and this was a good example. I certainly wouldn't want to be the only woman in a mining camp. Marigold was vivacious and a breath of fresh air. Virgil (awful name IMO) was the stereotypical grumpy single father burned by love beftore.

The third act break up was unnecessary and really impacted my enjoyment of the story. It disrupted the flow of the story. It could have been done differently.

If you're looking for a mail order bride mix up this book will appeal to you, especially if you like a bit of heat.

I received an arc of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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The Prospector’s Only Prospect. Oh my sweet candy.This was absolutely the historical western romance book that have read this far this year. I am still coming down from the high of Marigold and Virgil. This story took my heart away.
I just about love every character in this book except for Ben. The story did a wonderful job of moving the background story along with the characters motivations. Can I say that the kids are just darn cute. Harley just warms my heart so much. The romance was perfect! Virgil is a cowboy that I want in my back pocket all the time. The story captured my attention with current issues during that time period. I like that Marigolds character is a strong independent woman who spoke up every time that she felt that woman were being shunned to the side. I love how her character came on scene with the family. I actually could picture myself there, by how the writer captured the family’s emotions and their raw feelings during that time. My favorite character’s are Harley and Emmett.
My reason is Harley is a baby and who could resist his charm. Emmett was their for Virgil through thick and thin. He was Virgil’s enforcer and strong supporter. The romance was steamy. Who needs a Cast iron stove when you have Virgil and Marigold starting fires on a pile of would. I give this book two snaps and a, twist.
Until next time my fellow readers… read on! I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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