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REVIEW:  Seduced by Molly O’Keefe

REVIEW: Seduced by Molly O’Keefe

This book was edited by Robin aka Janet who does freelance editing on the side. The reviewer did not discuss this book with Robin or the author prior to reading the book or authoring the review. The book was provided by the author at the request of the reviewer. After the review was published, Robin reminded me that she had edited which she may have mentioned at one time but I since forgot.

Seduced Molly O'Keefe

Dear Ms. O’Keefe:

For a while, Robin (aka Janet) took over reviewing your books and given that I need to read books for review, your lovely contemporary stories were pushed to the back of the TBR pile. When I heard you were self publishing a historical, I muscled my way forward and requested a review copy.

I think your voice is wonderfully suited for a western. There’s grit and sorrow there mixed up with sweet emotion. But the story seemed short to me, as if I didn’t quite get enough time to learn the characters. After the book was over, I saw it clocked in just under 50,000 words.

Melody Hurst was once a southern belle, living the good life on her father’s plantation and scheming to marry the wealthy son of a neighboring land owner. Then the war happened and Melody lost her mother, father, brother, and fiancé. She made the spectacularly poor decision to marry her fiancé’s brother, a deserter from the Confederate Army.

Jimmy, a guard at the horrible Andersonville prison, had escaped with a Union soldier. That soldier left him and Jimmy was caught, carved up around the eye with a big “D” for deserter and left with a smoldering resentment. When Jimmy catches up with Stephen, the union soldier, a little outside of Denver there’s not much Melody can do. She’s suffered Jimmy’s brand of love for far too long and all she wants to do is to ensure she and her sister make it to the next day and then the next.

Things for Jimmy go awry and Melody and her sister, Anne, are left on the little homestead where Stephen’s brother finds them. Cole had been a farmer, a soldier, and now he was a bounty hunter but when he discovers that Melody and her sister have seeds, he finds desire stirring that he’d thought were long since buried.

The story takes a little while to unfold, as the Melody and Jimmy situation had to resolve before the romantic conflict between Cole and Melody could be really be addressed as this wasn’t a case of forbidden attraction. It was almost a story of three parts. Part 1 was how would Melody and Annie survive on their own. Part 2 was Cole convincing Melody that being with a man, working with him to create a farm was worth another chance. Part 3 was conflict between Melody and Annie deciding what their future would hold. While it’s a compact story and has a satisfying ending, each part seemed to take be given too little attention.

Cole, in particular, moved from the thought of cider being too bittersweet due to the loss of his family farm to contemplate to wanting to plant everything Melody and Annie had brought with them. The story even managed to pack a small burgeoning romance between Annie and Cole’s brother, Steven.

The prose is lovely, as always, and I enjoyed the fresh setting and the authentic characters. I just wanted more.

B-

Best regards,

Jane

 

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REVIEW:  La Desperada by Patricia Burroughs

REVIEW: La Desperada by Patricia Burroughs

La Desperada

With her husband dead by suicide and his crazed brother accusing her of murder, Philadelphia-bred Elizabeth Dougherty breaks into the jail and holds a cold-blooded killer at gunpoint.

“I’ll release you if you agree to my terms. Take me with you.” But when Boone Coulter grudgingly agrees, he has no idea that her enemy is the sheriff–a nightmare from his own past who now wants them both dead.

That wild leap of desperation launches their their passionate tale of love and sacrifice becomes the stuff of legend…

The legend of La Desperada.

Dear Ms. Burroughs,

To be bluntly honest, I almost abandoned this book at what I thought was the half-way point. Then I reread the Daily Deals post here and remembered that the book is shorter than the ebook page count would lead one to believe. Realizing how much closer I was to the finish line, I got myself through it. What I’ve written so far will no doubt give a good idea of my feelings for it.

Actually the book started off well. It’s soon obvious that the book and characters will have a very dark tone. This is no Western romcom or cutesy story. Death and despair drip from the pages. But that’s okay. Sometimes I want a darker book and the darkness isn’t what bothers me about it.

The impetus behind the action goes back to a horrific night years before the main story begins. Foul deeds were done, people died, lives were irrevocably changed but only three people now know the truth behind what occurred. The mystery of what really happened is coyly hinted at yet not revealed, even to the reader much less to poor Elizabeth, until almost the end of the book. I can deal with some hints and waiting for the whole truth and nothing but the truth but not for this long. By the time Coulter reveals all, I was past really giving a damn and more pissed about how long it took than anything else.

Elizabeth and Coulter are very different people. She’s refined, ladylike and unused to roughing it. Coulter has had to live by his wits and on the run for ten years. They’re obviously going to clash and frankly I enjoyed their initial encounters including how Elizabeth breaks him out of jail. Soon after that though, their bickering began to get old. She’s weak on the trail, as might be expected, and he has little patience for it, as also might be expected, but I for one got tired of seeing her weaknesses endlessly detailed and watching Coulter snarl, frown and show impatience with her. After a few times, I got it.

The two arrive at the mountain hideaway of a mysterious man known to Coulter. By the time they leave, a bit more is know about this powerful man but not much. He played some vital role in Coulter’s life but the whole of it is never revealed and a later mention of Miquel Obregon does little to cast any more light on him or what ties him to Coulter. This left me frustrated. The villain is as eeeevil as they come but there really isn’t too much more to him than cardboard evility. He’s going to pop up, make trouble and be evil through the book but readers shouldn’t look for more.

Right about the time that Elizabeth and Coulter begin dallying in “I hate you, I hate you, I’m strangely attracted to you, let’s fuck” I got bored and this is almost where I quit. It’s sex, followed by snipping and arguments, followed by more sex and suddenly they’re in love and Elizabeth is acting like a martyr. If I hadn’t calculated that 1. I only had 100 pages left and 2. peeked ahead and thought the ending might justify me sticking it out, I would have moved on to another book but I didn’t.

Heading down the stretch, the last part is actually not bad. Tension ratchets up, the noose closes around our two on the run and only some fancy footwork gets them away to safety. The means by which this occurs are thankfully not of the deus ex machina variety.

The plot is well done, the atmosphere is chilling, the escape at the end is clever but unfortunately some rather standard romance tropes, an unexplained section of the plot and a two dimensional villain don’t serve the story well. I wish my grade could be higher but a C it is.

~Jayne

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