Dear Ms West,
This is the third installment of West’s Men of Pride County series and differs from the first two in that most of it takes place at an Army post in New Mexico. Noble Banning has lead some of the men Pride County for three years as a cavalry officer until the night they are betrayed and captured by Union forces during a raid. Faced with watching his men die in the hellish POW camp in Maryland or swearing an oath of allegiance to the Union and serving at a frontier outpost for the duration of the war, Banning persuades his men to follow him. They aren’t
happy and make life tough for any Union man that they can but they follow him. Noble has given his word that he’ll serve honorably along with his men but that doesn’t stop him from trying to discover the identity of the man who betrayed him and the rest of the men.
The one man who knows the information Noble seeks is the commanding officer at the Fort and the father of the woman who turns Noble and his thoughts of what he wants in a wife, upside down. Juliet Crowley has followed the drum her whole life and has no time for the Southerners who’ve been coerced into wearing Union blue. She’s smart, outspoken and totally unwilling to fall to Noble’s Southern gentility and courtly ways. At least at first she is. But both realize that much stands between them and nothing can be settled until they can trust their hearts and honor.
I have to admit to being a bit disappointed that so little of this book takes place in Kentucky. I wanted to see more of how Noble readjusted to life after the war and of his court case for Starla Fairfax Dodge that was left hanging from the last book. I also wanted to see Juliet and her reaction to Pride County. I was also disappointed in the identity of the assassin who tried to kill Colonel Crowley in New Mexico and in the fact that I figured out very early who the traitor was and knew his reasoning.
Still, overall this was a good addition to the series. I could really feel Noble’s torn loyalties to his men and to his word to the hated Yankees. I felt that the men acted as I would probably act myself and that the tensions simmering in the hot New Mexico environment were realistic. The reasons keeping Noble and Juliet apart
were real and so to the fact that they had to be dealt with for a HEA. Though not as good as I was hoping, this one is still a B for me.