Linda Lael Miller has written a solid American Western with a wonderful hero. Strangely, much of the novel is told through her hero's eyes. And, what an interesting man he is. I can't remember a Western in which the hero is, on the one hand, a tough and seasoned Ranger, but on the other, a tender hearted teacher who constantly takes the downtrodden under his wings - whether they be poor children, women, or even animals. Miller made an interesting and unique character in Sam O'Ballivan. Her heroine is not as fleshed-out as Sam, but still likeable. One of the best aspects of the book, however, is the well-told and intriguing story in which the reader comes upon some form of crisis in almost every other chapter. It's quite a page-turner.
Interesting characters and great backdrop of the old West. Book has a good plot, but not as much romance as the author usually gives us.
The Man From Stone Creek is a historical western romance set in 1903 in the Arizona Territory. The main romance is filled with suspense as the hero seeks to round up cattle rustlers and train robbers. The novel achieves an emotional depth as the heroine's romance heals a past tragedy. Linda Lael Miller's romance, however, is not just a hero-heroine romance --- it is the romance of a whole town where justice is found and the downtrodden find love.
Lawman Sam O'Ballivan has come to town to replace the schoolteacher. The minute he arrives, the local schoolboy fight and the boys learn justice O'Ballivan style. The boy who teased another is himself held by his feet with his head dangling down the well. The disciplined boy's complaints to his mother brings him to the attention of postmistress Maddie Chancelor. The sparks fly. When they collide, circumstances force Maddie into the sight of the most dangerous family in town. With Sam by her side, will she conquer the past or will his secret mission place her in the thick of even more trouble?
Sam may be working undercover to capture the castle rustlers and thieves terrorizing the local area, but his efforts to blend just seem to lead him into more trouble. Just as he realizes Maddie has his heart, his intended bride comes in on the stagecoach. Can it get any worse? Of course! The question is can all this danger change hearts so that romance succeeds?
Linda Lael Miller's magnificent romance is more than just Sam and Maddie. The reader sees problems that plagued the American West: the terrorists of the day, sickness, brothels which were often the only way for a woman to survive, children left orphaned or in need, and those left behind in the huge expansion of the West. The author does not shrink from the unpleasant realities of the historical setting, but she creates a romance where hearts are healed. Orphans and lost souls (children, adults and animals) find goodness, and justice is served. When her characters dare to opens their hearts and expose their vulnerabilities, love is found, and the lost or neglected who surround them get found.
1903 Arizona Territory. Ranger Sam O'Ballivan poses as a schoolteacher in order to carry out his assignment which is to join forces with a Mexican gun from across the Rio Grande to track down a band of theives. Fast moving events take unexpected turns as Sam tries to hold on to his gentle nature and still do his job. Very good read.
This is the first book I've read by Miller, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. There's a good mix of romance, mystery, intrigue, and history. The western theme combined with romance makes for an enjoyable book.