Dear Ms. Cote,
After enjoying your novel “Her Captain’s Heart,” I was psyched when your publicist sent me an advanced copy of “Her Inheritance Forever.” And even more excited when I realized that it would tell part of the story of Texas independence that isn’t usually seen in romance novels – what happened after the Alamo.
The story jumps straight into the action with Alandra Sandoval being rescued by her guardian Quinn and one of his ranch hands, Scully Falconer. Someone has paid renegade Comanches to kidnap her not knowing that Quinn would never rest until she was recovered. Alandra lived with Quinn and his wife for years after her elder brother died but now that she’s old enough to run her own vast rancho, it seems that there’s someone who wants to wrest it from her.
Alandra Sandoval is the child of parents who were forced by her grandfather to flee from Mexico City. Their son’s marriage to a mestizo was a disgrace the proud creole family would not endure. But before the married couple left, Alandra’s father was forced to sign a will giving the rancho back to his family should he die without a male heir. And after Alandra’s return, she’s suddenly confronted by greedy relatives waving the will in her face.
When it looks like Alandra’s cousin is willing to force a marriage to ensure that, despite these troubled times when it’s unsure whether Mexican or Tejano law will prevail in Texas, the family will get the land, Alandra, Scully and the reinforcements sent from Quinn devise a plan. Alandra and Scully will marry in name only thus gaining Alandra a man, who would be more respected in a court of law, to hold her property.
Scully is appalled but finally talked into it. He’s always admired Alandra but she’s a lady and he’s just a hired hand. However, times being what they are, Alandra can use all the backup she can get especially when banditos grab her after Scully and Quinn head off to discover what’s happened now that the Alamo has fallen.
Will they find her in time? Will the Angloamericanos win the battle for Texas independence? And how will Scully and Alandra work out what was only supposed to be a marriage of convenience?
In your author’s note, you state that you took some artistic license in two small events in Texas history. Frankly, and with apologies to all Texans, I don’t know enough about the subject to have even noticed but it’s nice that you included the information to soothe those who do.
And yeah rah for using the events that occurred between the fall of the Alamo and the Battle of San Jacinto as the backdrop for a lot of the action. Even in the unfortunately rare number of books set in this era, the Alamo is generally the main event of the story. I always knew that wasn’t all there was about Texan independence and am glad to finally see it.
The book seems to be an homage to an older style of writing. Vast scope, lots of events, hero and heroine separated for a time only to finally realize their love against the backdrop of important historic events. But the plot is still focused enough in time frame to keep my attention. I can tell that Quinn and his wife were the subjects of your first book in this series but they serve the interests of this book and I didn’t feel afloat with references to the first book. Thank you.
Alandra is a product of her culture, time and upbringing. She is a grand lady but also takes her responsibilities as a landowner and employer seriously. When she speaks of “her people,” it doesn’t sound like an empty statement. She will take care of those dependent upon her and knows how to run a rancho. She knows there is a gulf between her social status and Scully’s but she never looks down on him. She might not be happy when he’s set to be an additional watchdog for her well-being by Quinn, but she never takes her frustration out on him with flouncing. Oh, what a relief.
Scully is an honest, hardworking man. His reputation precedes him in the area and he’s respected by everyone. His reluctance to marry Alandra isn’t because he sees her as a spoilt heiress but rather because he thinks of himself as a simple man. It’s while he’s helping to fight against the dictatorship of a man like Santa Ana, that he comes to feel he’s more of a match for his wife. She’s been surrounded by people trying to hurt her and Scully sees that he can help her and defend her. That he can be a good husband for her.
You don’t shy away from the less pretty aspects of history or of the events your characters have been through. Slavery was a part of Texas then despite what a lot of people thought of it. Alandra feels the residual effects of being kidnapped and held in terror. Scully has nightmares of what he saw at Goliad and of his own past. None of these are neatly swept under the rug as being resolved too easily.
I do have a few nitpicks. Alandra’s Mexican relatives are not much more than stock villains. This made the middle section of the book sag somewhat. Also, how many times was Alandra going to be kidnapped and rescued “just in the nick of time?”
The characters’ faith is not something they wave in everyone’s face. It’s deeply personal for them and the events she sees along with the hurt suffered by those she cares for become a test for Alandra. I never felt I was being preached at, merely that I was witnessing a person come to terms with their own beliefs in the face of evil in the world.
Thanks again for exploring something different in American history. Not only the historical events but also showing a bit of the Tejano culture and the mix that has gone into make up of the state. B
This book can be purchased in trade paperback at Amazon. I found it in ereader (barnes and noble) and kindle formats.