I said I would do a review of this book since I’ve mentioned it a number of times and it’s one of those little known books.
I first read it when it came out and it blew me away at first reading. I’ve reread it a number of times since then but not for a few years now and of all the books I’ve yet to read, this book called me again. I ignored the call for a few months, but when I began unloading the books for the library, the urge to reread it got stronger until I finally gave in.
Jake Hackner is an outlaw. Pure and simple he’s a bad guy. He’s in town loading up on supplies when Miranda Hayes accidentally shouts him. He manages to get away and heads out of town. He finally holes up at a farm to recover a bit. Little does he know the farm he ended up belongs to Miranda. She is a young widow whose husband died in the Civil War. After raiders kill her father and take most of their belongings she decides to head out west to look for her younger brother.
She finds Jake and nurses him back to health. And during this time she sees something good beneath the outlaw exterior. She asks him to take her out west since he is headed the same way, but he refuses.
Later he has a change of heart and decides to look for her to help her. He finds her after having been left behind and thus begins a truly amazing love story between an outlaw wanting to go straight and an incredibly strong woman. They are desperately in love with each other but time and time again Jake’s outlaw past comes back to try and destroy them.
This is one of those epic type books. It’s a long book coming in at 501 pages with as Wendy said, teeny tiny print. It spans over 20 years. Bad things happen to good people and it isn’t always easy to read. Each time I read it, I have to take breaks due to its richness and length. It’s like a truly rich feast that is best eaten slowly in order to savour it.
Jake is one heck of a hero. He’s not all good. He definitely has shades of gray to him. But what saves him is his almost worship of ‘Randy’. He knows he’s no good for her; staying with her can bring her great heartache.
But Randy sees past his outlaw ways into his hidden heart and realizes he is a victim of his early circumstances. She sees the lost little boy inside and that inside he really has a good person wanting to come out. She refuses to let him give up no matter what fate throws at them.
This really is a heart in your throat, breathtaking book. I have a list of about 10 books that seem to stand out above all others. Outlaw Hearts has always been one of them and now I can safely say it still is.
Grade: 5 out of 5
I heard this song playing one time while reading it and the words seemed to describe the book perfectly.