Archive for the ‘Historical Western Romance’ Category



She was his brother’s wife…

Arriving on the Fort Worth train, Miss Amelia Carson, mail-order bride, had never met Dallas Leigh, the Texan she promised to marry. The tall cowboy at the station wasn’t Dallas. He was Houston, Dallas’s brother, sent to escort her on the rugged three-week trek to the ranch where Dallas waited. Brought up in war-ravaged Georgia, Amelia thought Dallas’s letters made Texas sound like heaven, a place for her dreams to grow with the right man beside her.

And his only love…

By all appearances, Houston Leigh would hardly be considered the “right man.” The war he survived had scarred him inside and out, and he was little competition for his handsome brother. But from the moment Houston met Amelia, he knew she possessed the courage this wild land needed. She had eyes that could see past his wounded face to his soul. And he would fight any man—except his brother—for her heart. Now he and Amelia were riding down dangerous trails, sleeping under the stars, and God help them, they were falling in love.


Occasionally, a book comes along that has such an emotional impact, I find myself thinking about it long after I’ve finished reading it. This beautiful and poignant love story, is definitely one such book.

I absolutely loved Houston and Amelia! How could I not fall for such a vulnerable, tender, tortured hero or adore such a beautiful, sweet, compassionate heroine? They’re just meant to be together!

I loved watching their relationship slowly change as they drew closer to each other. It was easy to believe that they would fall in love when Amelia’s beauty, warmth, and courage captivate Houston:

That sparkle that lit up her eyes was enough to blind a man. And her smile. Her laughter. Dear God, but a man could start to believe in heaven and angels and an eternity of peace.

and Amelia comes to recognize the tender man hidden beneath Houston’s surly exterior.

“You don’t see the man you’ve become, you only see the boy you were.”

Ms Heath brings all the discomforts and dangers of the journey to vivid life. I felt that I was sharing all the hardships with Houston and Amelia.

Both have suffered the horrors of war but have chosen to deal with them in different ways. Houston has retreated into himself, any dreams he had for his future destroyed on the battlefield all those years ago. It’s hard to believe he was only fifteen years old when he suffered the terrible injuries that changed his life forever but this really brought it home to me:

…Houston had never had the opportunity to shave his whole face; he’d never flirted with girls, wooed women, or danced through the night. He’d never loved.

Amelia has tried to put all the terrible memories behind her by being cheerful and optimistic. I love how she always tries to find something to be grateful for in any situation. She’s courageous in taking a chance on marrying a man she has never met to fulfill her dreams of marriage and a family. She makes Houston realize that raising horses is his dream, a dream he has never before acknowledged.

My heart broke for him when Houston has to hand over the woman he loves to his brother. He knows he’s honour bound to accept Dallas’s prior claim on Amelia. He truly wants what’s best for her and knows that Dallas can give her everything he can’t. Although I knew there would be a happy ending for Houston and Amelia, Ms Heath still managed to keep me on tenterhooks at the very end.

The only other main characters are Houston’s brothers, Dallas and Austin. Dallas seems such a cold fish, completely obsessed with building a ranching empire and having a son to share it with. I imagined his wife coming second to his ambitions. Austin is the youngest brother and provides some amusing moments when he keeps using inappropriate language around Amelia and is constantly admonished by his older brothers.

I’m looking forward to reading Texas Glory (Dallas) and Texas Splendor (Austin).

TEXAS DESTINY is an unforgettable love story with a hero and heroine who will melt your heart.

RATING: ★★★★★

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Torn between the white and Comanche worlds of her parents, Indigo Wolf has grown up estranged from the townspeople of Wolf’s Landing, Orgeon. No one understands her elusive spirit-until Jake Rand comes to town to act as foreman of her family’s ranch. But Jake’s real motives are as secret as his true identity, and as personal as his growing attraction to Indigo.


I thoroughly enjoyed this book although it didn’t quite have the same emotional impact as the previous two books in the series, Comanche Moon and Comanche Heart. Once again, Catherine Anderson transported me back to 1885, to the mining town of Wolf’s Landing and into the world of Hunter and Loretta Wolf and their daughter, Indigo, the heroine of this book.

This book explores the growing relationship between Indigo and Jake with all its emotional turmoil and Catherine Anderson is so adept at drawing you into the lives of her characters and making you really care about them.

A terrible experience when Indigo was younger has left her with a deep distrust and fear of white men in general. Things she’s heard about how a white man treats an Indian wife do nothing to reassure her.

Given the circumstances, I can fully understand Indigo’s initial horror at having to marry Jake. After all, he’s a virtual stranger and a white man, two good reasons for distrusting him! Fearful for her safety, after further incidents at the mine, Jake forbids her to go to the mine or to go anywhere on her own. In Indigo’s eyes, Jake’s actions only serve to reinforce her opinions of him; she has become a virtual prisoner:

All the things she had always counted on had been snatched away, Lobo, the support of her parents, the home where she’d grown up, the mine, and her mountains. Even her name was different. Not Indigo Wolf anymore, but Indigo Rand. She felt like a cup that had been drained and left empty.

I think this shows a stubborn streak in Indigo and also a certain amount of immaturity because she’s not willing to see that her safety is Jake’s only concern.

Jake treats her with nothing but kindness, gentleness and patience and so I was frustrated with Indigo’s continuing antagonistic attitude towards him. It’s only when Indigo finally opens her heart to Jake that I realised just how deeply her past experiences had coloured her outlook on life and why she found it so difficult to trust Jake.

I liked Jake from the start because of his concern for those people affected by his father’s actions and his intention to go to Wolf’s Landing personally to investigate. He’s a man with a conscience.

His relationship with Indigo is complex. He is attracted to her from the beginning but won’t act on it because he feels guilty about lusting after his host’s daughter. Not to mention that he considers himself much too old for her. She is very different from the ladies in Portland and he is fascinated by her and when he offers to marry Indigo to protect her reputation, he’s not just being honourable:

If he were brutally honest, he had to admit that the thought of marrying her wasn’t totally repugnant. She appealed to him in a way he couldn’t define. He could almost taste how sweet her dusky-rose lips would be, how silken her skin. A man could suffer far worse fates.

Jake’s very patient with Indigo, always considering her feelings, even when it comes to consummating the marriage. I wasn’t surprised when he eventually loses patience with her and vents all his frustrations but this proves to be the catalyst for them to admit their love for each other. The consummation scene comes towards the end of the book but it is so beautiful and poignant that the paucity of love scenes didn’t affect my overall enjoyment of the book.

There are some funny moments in the book which had me giggling to myself particularly when Father O’Grady is talking to Jake about Indigo’s confession and when Indigo asks the local prostitute, Franny, for advice about her wedding night!

Although the action only forms a background to the love story, there is a nail-biting climax which will have you on the edge of your seat.

VERDICT: Catherine Anderson has again crafted a beautiful and tender love story

RATING : ★★★★★

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Years ago, Amy Masters escaped the Texas plains for a quiet life as a teacher in Oregon. Then, out of the shadows comes Swift Antelope, the Comanche warrior to whom she once pledged her heart. But Amy’s brutal past has made it impossible for her to trust any man-even the bold warrior who has haunted her dreams, the only man she ever loved, the Comanche heart she can’t live without…


This is a powerful and beautiful love story with a tremendous emotional impact. It’s a book that stayed with me long after I had finished reading it.

I really felt for Swift when he constantly tried to regain Amy’s trust with such determination and patience only to suffer her scorn and constant rejection. The scene where he is humiliated in front of a classroom of children is truly heart-rending. I couldn’t understand, at first, why he would put himself through all this. Later it is apparent that building a new life in Wolf’s Landing with Amy is his last chance to escape his past which he knows will ultimately mean his death at the hands of someone who is faster on the draw –

“Do you think I rode two thousand miles on a whim? I was running, dammit, running for my life!”

I love the way he tells Amy how much he loves her and wants her:

“That’s an L, as in love, and I love you more than I’ll ever be able to tell you with words. I want to tell you in other ways. In the way I kiss you. In the way I touch you. In the way I hold you. Won’t you let me say it my way, just once?”

So romantic!!

When he discovers the terrible secret Amy has been keeping buried for so many years, he is willing to leave rather than cause her any more pain, knowing the possible consequences for him. This is where I really fell in love with Swift’s character because he is willing to make such a great sacrifice for her.

I felt for Amy because of all she had suffered but I was so annoyed with the way she constantly spurned Swift. I wanted her to see beyond his outer appearance and recognise he was still the Swift she knew and loved and trust him enough to take a chance. Once I learned the shameful secret she’d been hiding from everyone, her reactions to Swift and what he represented made sense.

When Swift tells her he’s leaving, I could feel the turmoil Amy is going through – this is what she wants but, without him, her life will be empty. It’s such an emotional scene when Swift sees her running after him and she finally admits she loves him and wants him to stay. The love scene where Swift first makes love to Amy is so beautiful and sensual, a testament to Catherine Anderson’s wonderful writing.

There are some really very funny scenes in the book which help to relieve the tension. I particularly enjoyed the one where Amy is trying to evade Swift and climbs out of her kitchen window, only to get stuck half way. The dialogue between the two had me laughing out loud.

Catherine Anderson really impressed me with the emotional depth of her writing and I could fill a notebook with all the memorable quotes. I cannot recommend this book enough and it is definitely a keeper for me.



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Caitlin O’Shannessy’s late father left her with many things: a Colorado ranch, enduring memories of pain and sadness, an unshakable mistrust of men … and an adversary.

Ace Keegan has returned to No Name, too late to enact a rightful vengeance on his most hated enemy. The man who put a hole in Ace’s life is dead, leaving a daughter behind to run the family enterprise. Though proud and strong as well as beautiful, Caitlin is caught off guard when Ace’s calculated anger inadvertently destroys her good name. But Ace Keegan is a man of honor, determined to make amends by marrying the enchanting lady he wronged — and to nurture patience and love the light she guards in her damage heart until it blazes with the power of a thousand suns.


Colorado Territory

I loved this book! It’s a beautifully written and deeply moving story of two emotionally scarred people finding lasting happiness through the healing power of love. Classic Catherine Anderson!

Ace really made this book for me. He’s the perfect hero; under that tough exterior is a tender, sweet, caring man. He treats Caitlin with such patience and sensitivity when he attempts to woo her and gain her trust. I loved all the things he was willing to do like putting up with Caitlin’s cat, Lucky, and its antics, simply because she loves the cat so much. He even buys some lighter coloured clothes so that the cat hairs won’t show up so much! How could you resist a man like that? So I was starting to get frustrated by Caitlin’s continued refusal to trust Ace until the full extent of her father’s betrayal was revealed. It was easy then to understand why her deep-seated fear and distrust of men would not go away overnight.

There were so many moving and evocative moments in this book but I found this one so powerful.

He fished through the satchel for the rest of the doll, locating its parts, piece by piece. As he laid them all out on the floor, his skin turned icy.
Ace stared down at the pieces. No child could have done damage like this. The doll’s cloth body had been completely dismembered, and with such violent force that chunks of its torso had been ripped away.
A scalding sensation washed over his eyes. He returned the dismembered doll to the satchel. Without Catlin’s confiding in him, he might never know the story behind the doll’s destruction, but he could certainly guess. Her father. Ace curled his hands into tight fists.
Such savagery…
It was frightening and chillingly significant. Ace could only wonder what kind of childhood the girl must have had.

The scenes between Ace and his half-brothers, particularly Joseph, showed the strong family bond that existed. Their dialogue also provided some welcome funny moments. But one of the best scenes involved Caitlin. She is nervous at meeting Ace’s brothers for the first time but completely wins them over with her knowledge about cattle!!

RATING: ★★★★½

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