Speak Politely. Even when you're the only respectable women around, protesting San Francisco's decadent surrendar to gold fever.
Dress Modestly. Wear your sunbonnet at all times. Ensure nobody your men's boots muddied by the city streets.
Remain Devoted To Family. Protect your siblings from the temptations that surround them, even against their wishes.
Stand Above Reproach. Most difficult when when a captivating man turns out to be a saloon owner.
Rise Above Temptation. No accepting gifts. No bestowing favors. No impeachable behavior...well, maybe just one...little...kiss?
When these rules become increasingly difficult to uphold, can Rachel Van Buren remain a beacon of virtue in a city of vice?
My Ranking: 5 out of 10
Ages 16 & up
The Measure Of A Ladyis the story of a young women named Rachel Van Buren and her struggle to remain a proper lady after moving to dirty San Francisco in the early 19th century following her parent's death. Along with her younger sister and brother, Rachel attempts to keep her bearings about her as she lives among terrible sin and, to her, incomprehensible impropriety. When she meets saloon owner, Johnnie Parker, she watches as her own wall of propriety crumbles before her, and when her younger siblings begin to drift from their respectable upbringing and take on the life of the normal San Francisco dwellers, Rachel feels herself falling further and further below the standards she has placed for herself and wonders if she will ever regain the dignity she held before.
This book was extremely entertaining and I couldn't put it down. as I wanted to read to the ending and watch repentance fall upon the hearts of the hero and heroine...sadly that never happened. This is a book I would only read once in my lifetime...and for many good reasons.
Prostitutes were very present in this book, and Rachel's younger sister even becomes one. Though nothing is described immensely, the sin of the harlot's are very present throughout the book and inappropriate behavior is implied in the book, and to some extent explained. Though I do not want to give anything away in the book, I must encourage extreme caution when giving this to a young reader. I must say, though, that I was pleased to see that the behavior of the women was very much frowned upon and in the end there were many repentant ladies. I can not fault the author, as such people were, and still are, very real and we can learn lessons from their mishaps. But even still, the subject matter may not be appropriate for all ages.
EDIT: When I first read this book I had just begun to read books that had questionable content in it and often didn't even know what it was talking about when it said stuff like "He let his hands explore as he held her tight against him and passionatly kissed her". To me that was like reading "He kissed her." Of course, as the months have rolled by and I've read more books and matured more(this happens a lot at 15) and recently I gave it to a friend to read. And she reviewed it. And I realized that that I there was a lot more to be said about this book. #1 - the romance was really really really intense and inappropriate for before marriage. And even if they had been married, I wouldn't have wanted to read that. Rachel promised herself not to marry a unbeliever, and participated in many unwise outings that put her in situations where she was easily able to let down her guard and be sucked into doing something she knew she shouldn't. Lissa also never really turned back from her ways and continued in sin, getting what she wanted. Rachel took not judging way too far, and ended up allowing her sister to continue in sin.
Well, it's been 6 months since I read that book and I can't believe how much my ideals have changed. But since I am commited to informing my readers everything that may be questionable in a book, I thought I might add that. :-)
END OF EDIT
Another thing I must caution is that the romance in this book was VERY intense, and almost made me uncomfortable when reading it. Though the synopsis says "well, maybe just one...little...kiss?", it was MUCH more than that. Though they stayed what we would call physically pure, they got as close as they could to that line. Tight embraces and tender, deep kisses were present quite often throughout the book. Though the book was not put down, pages were skimmed over instead of being read so I didn't have to read such intense romance. It may not be a wise choice when choosing a book to read for young readers. :-)
Don't get me wrong: I really enjoyed the history in it, but I cannot justify the actions that took place within the pages. I wanted to strangle Johnnie for having such a low respect for Rachel. And though I liked the recognition in Rachel's mind that one should forgive their offenders, I could not in anyway justify Lissa'a actions. And the fact that she ended up getting what she wanted...I couldn't approve of it.
While others may enjoy this book, there were very few things I found worth reading.
But, if you are interested in reading about the gold rush in the early 19th century and enjoy romance novels, than you will appreciate this book. Get it for less than $10 here!