First let me say that I love to read, and I love new things. When I
got a box of paperbacks from a fellow Freecycler, there were TONS of
books I'd never read so I was excited to get to them. I first picked
authors that I didn't know, and went for time periods that I like.
Next, let me say that I can be a sucker for a good romance, no matter
what genre. I don't like any and all of them by any means, and have
never been a fan of Harlequins or most bodice-rippers except for the
early examples of the genre by authors such as Kathleen Woodiwiss,
Rosemary Rogers, Joyce Verrette, and Jennifer Wilde. These authors
did their research on the time periods their books were set in and
managed to write decent novels based in fact.
Last, let me say that I'm a Civil War buff; not an expert by any
means, but I have studied the war years extensively and my particular
interest was the life of women during the war. So many women had to
don the pants and be the 'man of the house' and run large farms/
plantations/ranches on their own that anyone interested in the war
years would be at least a little familiar with how those women's lives
were. Even though they were now head of household, they were still
held to the rules of their society--they mostly wore dresses, were
chaste and virgins when married, and wore bonnets to church every
Sunday even if they wore breeches and helped breed the stock and build
the fences. Though in charge of the family holdings, many of them did
not--and were not able to, depending where they were--own them in
their own names and knew it.
So, you would think that an author writing a book set in 1863 would
know all that, right? Wrrrooonnnggg.
No, Faye Adams apparently decided that since women had to act like men
during those years, they were outside of society's rules of the time.
She set the book in Texas (not sure what part since no contemporary
town is mentioned) and seems to think that Texans in general didn't
follow the rules of 1860s society. Having studied the entire country
during the war years, I'm here to tell you that while Texans were
among the most outspoken, adventurous, courageous, and tough folk of
the time, many of their ancestors had emigrated from the North and,
like people across the entire country from Oregon to Maine, were still
following the Puritan guidelines in their day-to-day lives whether
they lived in the "big railroad city" of Houston or the "outpost" of
Our main character is a women in her mid-twenties, I think, who is
unmarried, had a child out of wedlock without ever telling anyone who
the father was, owns a ranch and saloon in town, and never wears
dresses as she helps with the roundups and day-to-day work of her
cattle ranch or goes to church every so often when she remembers to.
Her father has recently died and in her grief, she has not looked over
the paperwork of the ranch and hence knows absolutely zip about its
running, finances, and most importantly, ownership--she seems to
assume that because he's gone she's the legal and sole owner without
checking anything out. This was ten pages into the book and already I
had at least three red flags popping up in the corner of my mind as I
read. And, of course, I was not the least bit surprised that you
eventually find out that the ranch is about to go under and that she
could have saved it had she looked at the paperwork sooner.
But it gets better. Our fine young heroine has not only hidden the
identity of the father of the child from everyone (with no
repercussions), she's also hidden it from him and despite being an ex-
lover, she's hired him on as a cowboy with no concern for his
feelings. So when a handsome ex-Confederate officer comes to claim
half the ranch to repay a debt her father took out and they clearly
get involved, this cowboy goes bugshit with jealousy and she can't
figure out what's wrong with him. DUH! And best of all, she sleeps
with the new guy to scratch her itch and pretty much everyone knows
it, and that's OK too.
It's difficult to feel any type of anything other than disgust for a
character that is this outright stupid, you know?
This was barely 50 pages into the book and by that time I had given up
on the characters/story, but I have to admit that her writing was good
enough to keep me going until the end. I won't bore you any more with
the specifics of the increasingly-moronic plot, but will note that the
author clearly did not understand the rules of society of the time and
had her characters act like people of the late 20th century. On top
of that, they did outright stupid things as plot devices and never
seemed to realize just how moronic they were, unlike real people who
often catch onto it when they act stupid. If I happen to run across a
contemporary novel from this author I will probably give it a try as
she is a fine writer, but if I wasn't so against destroying books I'd
burn this one. As it is, this one goes to Paperbackswap.com with a
warning and if you ever run across it in a used bookstore: Run away!
She wanted to shoot him. He wanted to kiss her. Rachel Walker worked as hard as any man to keep her ranch operating. Sinclair Braddock appeared with a contract that made him her partner. Rachel planned to fight for her land but the physical attraction between them made their battle explode with a heat that owed nothing to anger.
A woman as bold, beautiful,and wild as theTexas frontier. A man determined to claim them both.
I loved this book and didn't put it down until I finished it.