Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Read A Western; Lawmen Need Love Too

Yesterday's post was why we love Westerns. Today we go into detail with books! I asked Wendy and Sybil for a list of 5 Westerns they loved. I figured with my five, Sybil's five and Wendy's five, that gives fifteen books that we loved to choose from.

I've been reading the comments on Wendy's Day 1 blog on why she loves Westerns and a couple of points stood out for me. Evangeline pointed out that many of the Westerns she's read
"I'm fond of Westerns, but I'm picky because they are either too sweet and cloying, or the plots and characters seem like the author took basic tropes common to British historicals and put them out West to make them more palatable."

And that is true. I've read some sweet ones. And I've enjoyed them. But there are also Westerns with a grittier style and lots of meat to them. When I was thinking of five books to recommend, I said to my pardners that I could come up with 5 x's 5 very easily. In looking down at the books below that I've narrowed it down to, most of these are of the grittier yet poignant variety. Hopefully she will see something that appeals to her in this batch.

Joe's Wife by Cheryl St. John


Tye Hatcher returned to Aspen Grove to find that life in the sleepy Western town hadn't changed much. The townspeople stubbornly refused to see the man he had become. That is, everybody but Meg Telford. Meg definitely took notice of the reticent rancher and gave him a chance in life when no one else would. Still, Meg clung to the memories of her late husband, afraid of the feelings Tye aroused in her heart. And though Tye vowed to prove his worth to the town, could he ever prove to Meg that he was worthy of her love?

This isn't the first time I've mentioned this book. It was one of the books in the Guess That Book contest I had in 2008. I can't think of a better book to start my list with. I've read all of Cheryl St. Johns books - starting way back in 1994 with Rain Shadow and I've loved every one. But there is something about Joe's Wife that just 'gets' me every time I read it. I'm not often brought to tears when reading, but this one comes so close to it for me


The Badman's Bride by Susan Kay Law

He'll leave town when he's good and ready...and when the pretty and proper young schoolmarm consents to be his bride.


At first glance, the lovely Easterner Anthea Bright seems woefully unsuited for her position as the new schoolmarm in Haven, Kansas. But behind that fine finishing school polish is a fiery spirit and a determination to succeed. Gabriel Jackson, however, is a different kind of challenge. The intensely passionate, devastatingly sexy man is Haven's most disreputable citizen -- and he's put Anthea's level head and her heart in a furious spin. How can the prim, pretty newcomer hope to stand firm to her principles when she feels breathless whenever Gabriel's near? And though a small voice inside tells her the "bad man's" not nearly as bad as his reputation would suggest, does she dare surrender to this dangerous stranger who is bound and determined to make Anthea his bride?

Susan Kay Law has written some wonderful Westerns. It was hard to choose one, but I picked this one because it was one of her last ones published by Avon and hopefully one of the easiest to find. And a bonus for those who have Kindles - it's available at Amazon as a Kindle book!


Heart of the Hawk by Justine Dare


Notorious gunslinger Joshua Hawk was to hang in Gambler's Notch when the sun rose. He had but one regret. He had never found his grandfather's book with his family's history--and prophecy that the Hawk line would never die. Yet Josh didn't die at daybreak because the young widow of the man he shot suddenly lied to set him free. He wanted to know why. . .


Kate Dixon looked into the cold eyes of the Hawk and felt him steal her breath away. He had freed her from her brutal husband only to swoop down and take possession of her heart. It seemed as if some force had brought them together to complete a fate ordained long ago. But as swiftly as his passion aroused her, his reputation attracted dangerous men. To save her, the Hawk would have to leave her and move on. . . unless, to save him, Kate stood her ground and fought for the love of her life. . .

I LOVE Justine Dare/Davis' earlier books. Her Futuristics are rereads. She also did a very interesting series about a book that is handed down when there is one last Hawk left and this one is the Western one. This choice was an easy one!!


Fair is the Rose by Meagan McKinney

Christal Van Alen was wanted from Maine to Missouri. Swathed in widow's weeds, she was running to Wyoming Territory ... when the outlaw Macaulay Cain captured their stagecoach and the aristocratic new Yorker was prisoner again. She couldn't trust the infamous outlaw; she couldn't share her real name or her secret past. Yet he was her only hope against the dangerous gang of gunmen that held her. And even as she clung to him for protection, she fought against the passions that threatened to betray her--until one explosive night when all secrets must be revealed--and she was a fugitive again....

He was a man who could take--or leave--a woman at will. Then Macaulay Cain encountered the mysterious, ravishing "Widow Smith." tier honor, her shattered innocence, became his obsession. She was a woman whose secrets he vowed to unlock even as she fled his embrace. Why did she run? If it took him years, he would find her, possess her, unlock her darkest secrets--even if it cost him his life....

This is actually a sequel to the more well known Lion's and Lace. This is the story of the younger sister who was held in an insane asylum but escaped and headed west. If you like your books gritty, this is one to be read!


Notorious by Patricia Potter

Their rivalry was as fierce as the attraction between them. They were kindred spirits who had walked on the dark side of life: Marsh, the strong lover she both feared and hungered for; Cat, the angel who could destroy him... or give him back his soul.


The owner of the most popular saloon in San Francisco, Catalina Hilliard used her exotic beauty to draw men into the Silver Slipper. Long ago she had vowed never to give away her heart, but she hadn't counted on the striking good looks of Marsh Canton ....


Catalina knew Marsh Canton was trouble the moment she first saw him. Something in his gray eyes warned that he was a dangerous man. He was not the first to attempt to open a rival saloon next door to the Silver Slipper, but she saw a steely strength in him that had been missing from the men she'd driven out of business. Even more perilous to Cat's plans was the spark of desire that flared between them ...a desire that was about to spin her carefully orchestrated life out of control.

Patricia Potter is one of my favourite Western authors and I could have picked from a number of her books. But this one is the one I most recently reread and was very happy to discover it stood the test of time very well. It's the sequel to another book I loved and reviewed in 2006. For those who love a strong and determined heroine, this one is a Western to try! Her website is Very out of date though - methinks it needs an update!


Plus one more!
I know I said five, but Wendy had a request from Victoria Jannsen for Fall From Grace. While I have that one in the TBR pile - I haven't read it yet. The best I can do is.....

The Way Home by Megan Chance

Eliza Beaudry was determined to get out in the big, wide world - even if it meant trading a few kisses for her freedom. When she met traveling gambler Cole Wallace, she thought her fantasies had come true. But Cole's daydreams didn't include Eliza Beaudry. He was a man used to taking what he wanted, so he took what Eliza offered - and neither of them thought about what might happen later.

Penniless and pregnant, Eliza found a savior in Cole's shy brother, Aaron, who fell for her instantly. He surely wasn't the man of her dreams, but could her dreams change?

This is another book that if I were a crier, I would have been sobbing in my hankie!! It has a very unusual premise that you don't see in nearly enough romance books. Eliza, the heroine is desperate to get away from her controlling parents and has this plan..... When she ends up pregnant, it is the younger brother of the father who steps up to the plate. Aaron will truly break your heart!! This one is just wonderful!!


So there you have it - 5 + 1 Westerns that made me sigh and almost cry and ones I think any romance reader, even if they don't read Westerns, might just to help change their opinion of this fascinating genre.

Now I can hardly wait to see what books Sybil and Wendy have come up with!!


Wendy said...

OMG - can you believe out of your list I've only read Joe's Wife!!!!! And even more shocking? The only book I have in the TBR is the Megan Chance! You'd think I'd have the Susan Kay Law, but alas, that's one I'm missing.

And I know Sybil really likes Patricia Potter's westerns as well.

I'm actually doing 3 days worth of recommendations. It was hard to narrow it down, and I was able to find some "themes" to work with for a couple of my posts. The fun starts tomorrow. I'm on the west coast. It isn't "tomorrow" yet - LOL

Kristie (J) said...

Well, little lady - it looks like you have some you can add to your small TBR pile too then *g*.
If you click on the Amazon links and check out some of the reviews for these books - not that Amazon reviews are always reliable - but still they all have pretty good reviews ;-)

Leslie said...

Oh, Patricia Potter and Megan McKinney I've read. Love Potter's westerns. The Scotman Wore Spurs is one of my all time favorites of Potter's. Loved Gabe the heroine. :)

Victoria Janssen said...

Ooh, I haven't read THE WAY HOME yet, but I think I would like it. Thanks for the rec!

I like Cheryl St. John's work, too.

Kristie (J) said...

Victoria: If you haven't read it, you simply MUST!! I've read it more than once and it's such a good book - and Aaron - he is such an incredible hero. It has the same kind of poignancy that Cheryl's books do.

Leslie: Didn't she write some great Westerns?? I think Lawless is my all time fave of hers - but Notorious is also great - as is The Scotsman Wore Spurs *g*.

Lisa Marie Wilkinson said...

At the top of my list would be THE OUTSIDER by Penelope Williamson. (Terrific movie adaptation, too, with Tim Daly and Naomi Watts).

Kristie (J) said...

Lisa - it is a great book - and a great movie - and it is in 'the plans'
*being mysterious here*

azteclady said...

*wailing* I don't need more books for the TBR mountain range, I really, really don't! /*wailing*

*scribbling down titles and authors*

*whispering* Thank you, Kristie

Kate Diamond said...

I used to read Nan Ryan, and my favorite by her was... well, I don't know if it was a Western. It might be a "Southern." It was about a British countess who's supposed to marry some blonde dude but falls for a Creole hottie in NOLA.

Does anyone remember the title?

linda said...

Great post! I've been in love with Westerns forever, and haven't you picked some dandies? I see a busy autumn of reading ahead.

Jennie Marsland

Tracy said...

Good list! Between you and Wendy so far I've written down several I need to look into. Thanks! :)

Cheryl St.John said...

Oh, I love Megan Chance! I haven't read the Susan Kay Law, so I going to hunt for that one right now.

Thank you for loving Joe's Wife! Smooches!

Emily said...

I adore Susan Kay Law. I think my favorite of her's is A Wanted Man. I really wish she would write just one more western. Just one! Is it too much to ask?

Mary G said...

You have amazing taste girl!!

Karen W. said...

I'm a huge western fan (westerns got me into the romance genre to begin with), and I also loved all the books you've listed. I'll definitely be looking for the one I haven't read (the McKinney).

Thanks for giving westerns more love. :)

Kristie (J) said...

Karen - aren't they wonderful??? And yes - I recommend the McKinney one too *g*

Mary: Well thank you mam! But it's the authors who wrote the wonderful books *g*

Emily: Stayed tuned for tomorrow *wink*

Cheryl: I haven't read the many Megan Chance books - not sure why not - but the ones I've read are wonderful - as is the Susan Kay Law book. And you are most welcome. Thank YOU for writing such a heart warming book

Oh Tracy: *laughing* I hope you have lots of paper 'cause we have many more to go!!

Linda *fist pump* A fellow lover of the Western!! Our goal is that a lot of readers will want to try at least a couple (and hopefully love them and keep reading them so WE can have more)!!

Kate: Sorry :( I haven't read that many Nan Ryan books so I'm not much help. Hopefully some others might be know.

AL: Two words of advice (ones I don't keep myself of course *gulp*) read faster *BG*

orannia said...

*small voice* Kristie, I don't think I've read any of the books on your list, but Patricia Potter is definitely ringing a bell - I think I've read a short story by her (in one of my Christmas anthologies)...one of my favourites IIRC.

Barbara said...

Okay, seriously, I want 'Heart of the Hawk' that so sounds like one I would love!! I have to go on the hunt for it...

Kristie (J) said...

And the cover isn't so bad either *wink* in an old school way.

sybil said...

you know I don't think I have read that Dare... I have it

The St.John is FAB and one of my all time faves. The Doctor's Wife, Sweet Annie, His Secondhand Wife, The Preacher's Daughter... she is just amazing and does wonderful characters

le sigh Susan Kay Law, you picked a good book but I don't think my fave but would have to think about it... for some reason I am really stuck on One Lonely Night and Journey Home.. might need to pull them out for tomorrow

I want Potter back in the west. I can say this about a few people ::pout::

JennJ said...

Some really great books here! Some I have and some that I need to look for now after reading this post! Thanks Kristie