This is one of the heaviest historical romances Ive ever read; there is so much hate and rage expressed that I became overwhelmed with the negative vibes. After thinking on this, Ive bounced from a score of 4 to 5 stars several times. This is an incredibly well-written book about things I dont usually see in romances prejudice, racism and unbridled hate.
The book opens with the murder of Johanna and Jacys parents; then the outlaws cruelly rape Jacy and steal her away. Three days later, the neighbors find Jacy in shock and speechless.
Because of Jacys obvious condition (shes pregnant and unable to speak), Johanna is having a hard time getting and keeping a job any job. Finally a lawyer says he has a job for her in New Mexico. Johanna is to be the housekeeper of a powerful land owner, Mack Macklin.
These are two innocents thrown to the wolves; Mack and his two illegitimate sons, Burr and Luis, hate and rage at each other. However, there is a strong bond between the two sons. Luis is the lover and Burr is the fighter in the family.
Luis is immediately captivated by Jacy and she with him. He does not look down on her for a pregnancy she could not prevent; he promises that they will be a family and the baby will be theirs.
Love doesn't come so quickly and easily with Johanna and Burr; he has many of his fathers worst habits. Burr can be just as cutting and insulting as his father and he takes his rage out on Johanna. Now, Johanna is looking for a way out; she is desperately unhappy with Mack and Burr. Johanna is a woman with a strong backbone but even she finds the two men impossible to live amongst.
All of the characters are fully fleshed-out. The story is action-packed and moves at a rapid pace. This is one of Dorothy Garlocks earlier works and it packs a wallop.
Johanna Doan was a golden haired, slender woman whose tragic beauty hid her bold, determined spirit. She had lived through her parents' murder and her sister's rape and pregnancy; now she could survive the intrigues at the Macklin ranch. For here, housekeeping with her sister, Johanna is expected to marry the son of the cruel landowner himself. And young Burr Macklin is everything Johanna fears and desires: a courageous man who arouses her passions, but one who needs to learn that a woman's heart can never be taken by force...only won with love.