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.
A BAD MAN'S DESIRE
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
HE WAS HER DOWNFALL
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. . .
OR HER DESTINY...
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
THE BEAUTY BEHIND THE BLACK VEIL
Christal Van Alen was wanted from
THE COLD-EYED OUTLAW WOULD UNVEIL HER...
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.
A SENSUOUS CAT
The owner of the most popular saloon in
, 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 .... San Francisco
A DARK AND DEADLY GUNMAN
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.