ONE PINK ROSE by Julie Garwood

June 19, 2016
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The Clayborne Brides, Book 1

If this title sounds familiar, then you are probably a long time Julie Garwood fan. This is the first book of a trilogy that was originally published in 1997. I never read it, and now the publisher is making it available as an e-book with really lovely new cover art. Compare to the paperback cover on the right and you can see how almost ten years can really make a difference.

I didn’t know that Garwood had written some Western romance and this is an really fun example of the genre. This is a series of novellas and this one, printed, is only 120 pages so a really quick read.

Travis Clayborne is the youngest brother and always listens to his Mama Rose (I have to admit, the name threw me right out of the story, it’s one of the most iconic Broadway/movie characters from Gypsy!) Once I got past that, I was fine with Travis going off to help escort Miss Emily Finnegan to Golden Crest, Montana. Emily is a mail order bride from Boston who doesn’t have a clue what she’s getting herself into.

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Apparently Emily’s previous escorts – yes, there were more than one – have had really bad luck, even fatal luck, in escorting her, so Travis is a little nervous about the trek he’s making. It doesn’t help that when he meets her, she almost decks him. But he knows not to disobey his mama, so off they go. The short trip gets extended by a few days when the gully is too high to cross, giving Travis and Emily the time to get to know one another and fall in love.

By the time they are about to reach her destination, she realizes she can’t marry the man she’s promised to, but feels it best to let him know in person. Travis is not too happy about delivering Emly to her husband-to-be, but neither are communicating and all hell breaks loose once they arrive.

There is a lot of humor in this sweet romance, and I’m looking forward to finishing the trilogy. Stay tuned.

6/16 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

ONE PINK ROSE by Julie Garwood. Pocket Star (May 9, 2016). ASIN: B010MH18KG. Print Length: 120 pages


THE LAST RENEGADE by Jo Goodman

May 29, 2016
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Bitter Springs Series, Book 1

This is the first book of a trilogy, and I read the second and third books a while ago and really liked them. Like most romances, order isn’t all that important but I was happy to finally get the background of this trilogy.

These are historicals, set in the Old West around 1889, and I have learned that the difference between Western Romance and just plain old westerns is the happy ending. Romances must have a happy ending, and westerns often end with somebody riding out of town.

 

Bitter Springs is a small town in Wyoming, a train stop on the western route. When a man named Nat Church gets murdered on the train, Kellen Coltrane is there. Nat hides his guns in Coltrane’s bags, and gives him some letters, asking him to stop in Bitter Springs and see “Penny Royal.”

Turns out Pennyroyal is the name of the hotel and the owner, the Widder Berry, is expecting him. Her sister was raped and murdered and the man sentenced to jail for it has escaped. His family runs the small town with bloodshed and fear, and the Widder wants to put an end to all the bloodshed.

Meanwhile, one by one the jurors and the marshal are killed so this is more mystery than romance. But Coltrane and Berry gradually fall in love and the mystery is solved, all ending with a happy ending.

5/16 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE LAST RENEGADE by Jo Goodman. Berkley; Original edition (September 4, 2012). ISBN 978-0425250969. 384p.

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IN WANT OF A WIFE by Jo Goodman

February 23, 2016
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Bitter Springs Series, Book 3

So yet again I have started a series from the middle. But even with the new genre, Western Romance, it doesn’t seem to matter. The series is set in the Old West, this book in 1891, and I’m really not sure how they differ from more traditional westerns. More research ahead.

This has what I imagine to be a typical Western Romance trope, the mail order bride. The bride in question is Jane Middlebourne.

Jane has lost her parents and was reluctantly taken in by some cousins. She is more servant than family member, so when the opportunity arises to escape her situation, she leaps on it.

But when she arrives in Bitter Springs, Wyoming, she find that her husband-to-be was expecting someone else – her cousin, who had somehow swapped out their pictures before mailing the letter for Jane. They decide to wait 24 hours to see if they still want to get married, and they do – but they don’t consummate the marriage for quite a while due to a series of misunderstandings and miscommunication.

Morgan Longstreet is the husband and is a rancher, fairly new to the community. He bought an existing ranch, hired some local ranch hands, but has been plagued by cattle rustlers. Longstreet is very closemouthed – to the town, and to his wife.

Eventually they find a way to communicate, and his past starts catching up with him. A bit of a mystery and some exciting action help propel this story right along. I stayed up late into the night to finish it. Now I’m looking for the first book in the series, Last Renegade.

 

2/16 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

IN WANT OF A WIFE by Jo Goodman. Berkley (May 6, 2014). ISBN 978-0425264164. 384p.

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TRUE TO THE LAW by Jo Goodman

February 22, 2016
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Bitter Springs Series, Book 2

This was my first foray into the Western Romance subgenre. These are historicals, set in the Old West around 1889, and I’m really not sure how they differ from more traditional westerns. Guess I’ll have to read a few of those to find out.

Cobb Bridger was a detective with the famed Pinkerton private detective agency who has gone out on his own. He is hired by the wealthy Mackey family in Chicago to find a former employee who has stolen something. Mackey won’t say what was stolen, but rather only hires Cobb to find the woman.

He tracks her down to Bitter Springs, Wyoming, a small town that is at the crossroads of the burgeoning train system. Tru Morrow is the new school teacher, recently hired by way of Chicago. Bridger forms a relationship with her, ostensibly to determine if she is the woman he is seeking, but he finds her most attractive and honest, and cannot imagine that she has stolen anything.

The more he gets to know her, and she him, the more their relationship deepens. When the Mackeys arrive in town, Bridger’s protective instincts are out in full force.

There are several interesting characters, all of whom are well developed, and I really enjoyed this story. There is the setting of the Old West, which is interesting for sure, and a mystery as well as the romance. Lots to keep the pages turning.

2/16 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

TRUE TO THE LAW by Jo Goodman. Berkley (May 7, 2013). ISBN 978-0425264164. 384p.

Kindle