My mother taught me to love books. Some of my fondest memories are of her reading stories to me. And there were always the trips to the library every other Saturday where I discovered six new books to take home and read. We walked there and back after lunch and we’d spend the rest of the day, each in our own chairs in the living room, reading.
I remembered how much of a bookaholic I am twice this month. My mother sent me a check for my birthday. I then proceeded to spend the entire amount—plus a little more—on books bought from Amazon.
A couple of weeks later, I had occasion to go into Bookman’s, a large used bookstore. It had been a while since I’d been inside a bookstore, but I was hoping to find a used copy of the book my bookclub was reading this month since the Kindle version was too expensive for my taste. I got that old feeling, one I used to get on a regular basis. The feeling that I wanted to fill a shopping bag full of new books to read, books of all kinds, including those in genres I usually don’t read. I wandered up and down the aisles for quite a while, but sanity prevailed and I walked out empty-handed. (They didn’t have the book I’d come in to find.)
So on to the books I did read this month.
After his deployment, injured and discharged Major Squire Ackerman returns to Three Rivers Ranch, anxious to prove himself capable of running the cattle operation so his parents can retire. Things would be easier if the ranch wasn’t missing 1.6 million dollars, which forces Squire to hire Kelly, the girl who rejected his high school prom invitation, as his accountant.
She’s back in town with her four-year-old son, living in her parent’s basement until she can get her life back together. With fresh ink on her divorce papers and open gashes on her heart, she’s not ready for much beyond her new job on the ranch.
Squire wants to forgive Kelly for ignoring him a decade ago. He’d like to provide the stable life she needs, but with old wounds opening and a ranch on the brink of financial collapse, it will take patience and faith to make their second chance possible.
This was a typical romance story using one of the most popular romance tropes, a second chance at love between a couple who has a prior history. To be honest, I had to go pull the description from Amazon because I totally forgot the plot of this story. (Not unusual recently. I’m concerned that old age is catching up with me faster than I’d like.)
It was okay.
What I do vaguely remember is being disappointed by the ending, although I don’t remember the details of why. Since I bought the book as part of a collection, I’ll probably go on to read the second book in this series.
Barnabas Sackett sails to America, trades with the Indians, is captured and almost killed by a ship’s captain, and falls in love with the new world.
I bought this series because Louis L’Amour is one of the icons of western fiction. I’ve read—or started to read—books by many of his imitators which, to be honest, were largely a disappointment. I decided it was time to spring for the original.
While I enjoyed the first book in this series, it was more a sea story than a western. I’ll read the next book with the hopes it will be the story I’m hoping to find.
This is probably a book I wouldn’t have noticed if the author wasn’t appearing at the Tucson Festival of Books. I perused the TFOB schedule as soon as it was available so I could flag sessions I wanted to attend. With my new project of writing a historical romance, I was particularly drawn to the romance sessions. I was thrilled to find one on writing family sagas, which includes Alyssa Cole on the panel, since that’s a genre that has always fascinated me.
An Extraordinary Union is the first in The Loyal League series. Ellen Burns is a former slave who goes back to the South to spy on the Confederates during the Civil War. She assumes the role of a slave to do this. Malcolm McCall is a Pinkerton Detective masquerading as a Confederate soldier for the same purpose. Through the Loyal League, they come together and ferret out an important piece of intelligence.
They also fall in love. Interracial relationships in the South at this time could get you killed. They resist the mutual attraction, but the danger adds spice to the attraction.
I loved most of this book. The plotting was excellent and the characters were great. Unlike most of the books featuring People of Color that I’ve read lately, the fact that Ellen (or Elle) is black and Malcolm is white is integral to the story and not slathered on with a putty knife on top of what might have been a good story except for the falseness of the characters. For the first time in a long time, I couldn’t wait to get back to reading and finished this book in under a week, which is fast for me.
So why not five stars? It had a couple of scenes that were too erotic for my taste. While well-written, I think they drew me out of the story by focusing on the physical sensations rather than the emotional. But that’s a matter of taste and I know the majority of romance readers would be disappointed without this content.
Recommended, with the caveat that if you like clean romance, this is not the book for you.