Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Kaki Warner - Heartbreak Creek

Edwina Ladoux hoped becoming a mail-order bride would be her way out of the war-torn South, but as soon as she arrives in Heartbreak Creek, Colorado, and meets her hulking, taciturn groom, she realizes she’s made a terrible mistake. Declan Brodie already had one flighty wife who ran off with a gambler before being killed by Indians. He’s hoping for a practical farm woman who can corral his four rambunctious children. Instead, he gets a skinny Southern princess who doesn’t even know how to cook.
Luckily, Edwina and Declan agreed on a three-month courtship period, allowing them time to get the proxy marriage annulled. Yet as the weeks pass, thoughts of annulment turn into hopes for a real marriage—until the unspeakable happens, and suddenly Declan is torn between duty and desire, and Edwina has to fight for the family she’s grown to love…

Comment: After seeing the opinion of some people about this book I thought it would be an interesting story to try. I usually enjoy westerns although I haven't read all that many so far, but it's never too late right? Anyway, this story seemed intriguing and I was very curious how the author would play the mail order bride and children's elements into the novel.

This is the story of Edwina Ladoux, she's a southern belle but her house has to be sold because she can't afford to take care of it anymore. Things are harsh in the south so Edwina decides to be a mail order bride and she along with her mulatto half-sister go to the west in order for her to be married and thus having a life for themselves.
Her future husband only wanted someone decent to help him with the house and the children.He didn't count on someone so alive and special and easy to fall for, more so when himself changes with her presence. But an Indian looking for revenge might ruin their starting relationship for good...

I think this book has several good elements. It wasn't as perfect as it could be for me due to a couple of things which didn't looked as well done as they could, but overall, I think it was a good experience with a first book by the author.
I liked the feel of the story, how Edwina and her sister Pru were trying to go to a new life after what they ever known wasn't what they loved anymore. It takes a certain kind of courage - and despair - to leave everything and go start new somewhere else. I think this part was well done and I could see how they were eager for a new start but there were some lingering memories still alive in their minds, but that only gave the reason to try...Their childhood wasn't the easiest one and several clues here and there helped to explain their behavior and feelings. I think this is the strongest part of the writing, how the author conveys huge things with such small details, scenes or sentences.

The plot was both funny and endearing. I was very curious to see Edwina find happiness and joy again and throughout her new experiences with the west, the people she met on the way, her new husband, his family, all this helped her to be someone new and that also changed things around them.
The Indian's revenge is always a sore subject that provokes countless actions and part of me was a bit bored by how much detail was given into it when it would have been easier to focus more on the romance. I liked things ended well but some things on the way, like this I just said and a surprise the reader didn't see coming - which for me was just a convenient plot trick and could have been avoided without the story loosing focus and power - were things that distracted and weren't as successfully done in my opinion.

There's also a sort of secondary romance, not solved in this book, about Edwina' sister, which really left me curious and if there's a reason to keep reading, this is it.

The main romance was funny. Edwina and Declan didn't seem to match at first but with time, the author created a reasonable and later on even expected and believable love story and it was wonderful to see them fall in love, to talk about what they felt like about things and this was great. Declan proved to be a great character and willing to say he was wrong. There's a curve ball for him but as I said, all ends well.
It was also funny to see Edwina deal with the children and how that also helped Declan see how she was worthy and how they could be a real family. I liked this too.

All in all, a good story, good elements and for the most part, a very enjoyable time reading. Sometimes, if the book works for you, that is the biggest goal you could want, just time well spent.
The following book doesn't seem as appealing for me but eventually I'll try. I guess I hope to be surprised and there's always Edwina's sister secondary plot to look for.
Grade: 8/10

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