Comment: Another book that has been in the pile for some time. So far, I've enjoyed the books I've read by this author, some more than others, so I was quite expectant about this one. This is a western historical and another take on the "strong heroine" characterization that we often see in the author's books.
Jenny Jones is a woman with nothing to lose. She was condemned to death but is asked for a favor and a promise by a desperate mother. The only thing Jenny has to be proud of is her honor and word, so when she does promise to honor the request of Marguerita, she escapes with her life and a 6 year old, who she is supposed to take to her father, from Mexico to California.
What she doesn't know is that the girl's uncle Ty is also looking for her and somehow they two meet at different times and immediately seem to not get along. But that changes when they both admit to feel attracted to the other. But with greedy cousins from the Mexican side of the family come for the little girl Jenny promised to protect and care for, can Jenny and Ty help each other?
The best thing about this author's style and stories is how the heroines, for the most part of course, always seem to maintain a certain vulnerability and are humble, even when they have men's jobs or weren't raised to be what we expect from proper or society ladies.
Jenny Jones is the focus of this book and she is very likable, she is the type of person we might not bet much on at first but after knowing her for a while, we start to like her more and understand her attitudes and personality.
Jenny had a bad childhood, this is not something explored much but the simplicity in which we become aware of it is enough to paint a picture. Obviously, this is what makes it so much sweeter when we finally get to the epilogue and see how Jenny is completely deserving of her HEA.
The plot has its moments, this is basically a romance on the journey type of story, I liked Jenny gave her word and she tried her best to honor her promises. Some scenes and moments are very funny because we not only smile when Jenny gets herself in situations she is not used to but we also smile sweetly when something really good happens and Jenny is not conceited and is surprised as much as we are. The author paced the different scenes well, I think. We learn things along Jenny and there aren't dull moments. Probably the last section of the story feels a bit different, simply because the focus changes and we are centered only on Jenny's doubts and not her interactions with Ty and that sort of made things seem slower. I can understand the purpose of pacing things slower at that point, the HEA seems so much passionate then, but... it could have been done slightly different.
The romance is very sweet at times but it's the sexual tension between the protagonists while they spend time together to take the child to her father that makes their relationship seem stronger. After several scenes with them battling against their attraction but every time it seemed stronger, it was expected and believable when we are told they love one another. The path from attraction to love seems to have taken time to develop and be realistic. I do like romances when things like this happens.
The secondary characters were interesting enough. The child, Graciela, has her moments but she was often a bit annoying for her age. There are cute moments when she and Jenny finally seem to bond.
Robert, Ty's brother and Graciela's father, never seem a strong character. What a waste of pages, the story could have been as strong if he were to be a solid character but was disappointing instead.
The HEA was very sweet and adorable. I mean, it's not over the top nor does it present people in a way totally different from the story, but I admit I really liked that side of Jenny. She is one of the best heroines out there.
I hope future books by the author - if I ever get to them - will be as great as this one.