Low Down (or Louise Downe) is one of the most admirable heroines I've ever encountered. She's never been given any reason to believe that life doesn't intend to keep kicking her teeth down her throat, yet she continually tries (and usually succeeds) to do the right thing. Her internal moral code is a match for Max McCord's determination to do the honorable thing in less-than-honorable circumstances.
Max took longer for me to admire, but then again, Max was very human in his disappointment and resentment in being obligated to marry Low Down instead of the beautiful and ladylike Philadelphia. Fortunately, Max isn't completely overwhelmed by self-pity, and he quickly begins to see that there are many admirable qualities to his new wife, even if he does have difficulty admitting that to himself.
There were several memorable scenes in this book, but Low Down's attempt to distract her new husband from his doldrums by showing him "something pretty" and then revealing the silver spoon given to her by a grateful miner was a scene that has lingered in my mind. Such a simple scene, yet the author revealed volumes about the backgrounds of both Low Down and Max, who takes the spoon for granted. Additionally, that scene deftly foreshadows the contrast between Low Down, a woman thrilled to be given a single spoon, with the spoiled and manipulative Philadelphia, a woman born with the proverbial silver spoon in her mouth.
I was less interested in Philadelphia's schemes regarding Max as I was in her relationship with Wally, Max's brother, who stepped in to marry her in Max's stead. Philadelphia's deceptions and macinations were, oddly enough, the thing that set in motion the most positive changes in Wally. He found his role in life and became a confident, self-assured man. I was surprised that he even considered remaining married to Philadelphia, much less offered to try to make their marriage work. Clearly, he saw something redeemable in her that I didn't see. I wish the author had given us a glimpse of the various members of the McCord family a little further into the future, but one can't have everything.