Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Recent Reads

Outlaw Hearts by Rosanne Bittner

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.

'til later


Wendy said...

For me Outlaw Hearts is a throwback to the days when romances had more of a "saga" quality to them. I always recommend it to romance readers who want that big, sweeping quality to their books.

I generally love the way Bittner writes about the West and hope that one day she'll return with a straight-up western romance. Last I heard, her latest project is a WWII-saga-romance thing for Harlequin's Everlasting line....

CindyS said...

It spans 20 years? Does that mean we meet the H/H as kids? Cause that would be better than a huge seperation! I'll put this on the TBB list although I think I put it there when you last posted about it.


CindyS said...

Geez, I meant to say that I have always loved that song and the video is terrific!


Kristie (J) said...

Cindy: Jake is 30 and Miranda 20 when they first meet. It goes on from there and at the end Jake is in his mid-50's I think and Miranda in her mid-40's. And although they are separated for chunks of time, those parts aren't long in the book and they are together for most of the book. And I love that song and it went so well with the book because that's what Miranda did - she stood by Jake no matter what was thrown at them and she refused to give up on him.

Wendy: It is more of a throwback isn't it? She's written a few like that but Outlaw Hearts is my favourite one. I wish she would go back and write straight Westerns too *sigh*.

Rowena said...

OH wow that sounds really good and it spans 20 years??? Man, that's a lot of ground to cover but I want to read this book...great review sweets!

Mailyn said...

I can't watch videos anymore for some odd reason. My computer hates me.