Lillian in the Doorway by Michelle Dutton is Book One in the Orange Ranch Brides series, a charming sweet romance spiced with danger set amid the orange ranches and oil derricks of 1924 southern California. As Shakespeare wrote, “Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” proves all too true for intrepid Lillian Spratt, on the run from Chicago gangsters, hiding in the sanctuary of Gilda Axtabal’s Boardinghouse in Fullerton, California. Lillian’s roommates at the boardinghouse think she should marry first and provide them with a proper parlor in which to meet gentlemen. They finagle a meeting between Lillian and the widowed German pharmacist Jens Schreiber, an honorable man with secrets of his own, devoted to his six-year old son Leo and doing his best to avoid the matchmaking efforts of his housekeeper and her friend the mayor’s wife determined to see him married to a suitable woman. To keep the matchmakers at bay, Jens proposes a fake engagement and Lillian agrees. Jens finds Lillian very much to his liking, but Lillian is only biding her time until she can safely return to Chicago. Things go awry when Lillian’s past catches up with her and she and Jens find themselves in a tangled web of romance and danger. A delightful read.