Wednesday, May 20, 2020

TBR Challenge: Maggie Osborne - Foxfire Bride

Fox is a woman as feisty as they come. Once the most sought-after scout west of the Rockies, she led folks through wild, unexplored terrain–until a gunshot wound ended her guiding career. She’s living a calmer life when a handsome stranger appears with an urgent request to take him to Denver immediately. The gold coins he offers catch Fox’s eye–and so do his sharp good looks. Fox can’t resist the chance to guide again, and can’t ignore the fire that burns in her body whenever she sees this oh-so tempting man.
Matthew Tanner has received a startling telegraph: His father is being held for ransom in Denver. With time running out, Matthew must find the best scout money can buy. When the best turns out to be a woman with gritty good looks and a wild mane of red hair, Matthew is both shocked and intrigued. Can Matthew and Fox’s mutual desire and growing love survive the perils of their journey, or will their secrets destroy each other?

Comment: This month the theme for the TBR Challenge post is "old school" which I always tend to link with books written in past decades, usually historicals, and focusing on romance stories that aren't as seen nowadays because they are often told in specific ways and featuring specific tropes too. I also tend to think these old school romances had to develop a certain way and these days even writers of historical novels are much more eager to change the rules or the tropes or just bet on quirky/out there plots.

In this book we meet Fox, an unconventional heroine but who deep down regrets her life has not followed a more traditional path.
The story begins when she and older friend/father figure Peaches are hired to be part of a team to guide a rich man to Denver, though secondary routes that might be dangerous, in order for him to carry a huge amount of gold part of a ransom mission.
Fox feels attracted to Tanner, the "boss", but although she feels like having an adventure, she also has a hidden goal in mind for she wants to reach Denver too, so she could find and kill the man she has always known to be responsible for how her life went.
With many adventures and some drama and even a road trip romance, will Fox be able to deal with her regrets and accept the apparent second chance in happiness she is given?

 This was a story filled with adventure. It's very fast paced, there is always something happening, something to deal with and, on one hand this is good because there's no time to waste on unnecessary things. The author has to rely on the characters' actions so that readers can grasp their personalities and positive aspects instead of being told every single thing.
I like this style because it can allow the reader to get the information between the lines but, on the other hand, it can make things sound a little simplistic and I assume this might be one reason why the style is considered "old school". It seems as if nowadays there's more eagerness to see fresh, innovative things and styles.

This aside, the story was a good one. The main characters have a mission, a goal and they face some adversity while the protagonists decide on a love affair until they end their journey.
As for the plot, nothing really to say, this is a simple story whose best feature is in the character's development and in the question on whether the characters will do what they say they will when the mission is over. There were some doubts regarding this but I confess I wasn't that worried or eager to find out the - let's call it - twist since I feel that was rather predictable.

What makes reading this genre a more interesting experience for me is to see how the romance develops. I must say that while it was different because the heroine also wanted it to happen, I wasn't as impressed by it and actually felt it brought my enjoyment of the story lower. I'm a little old fashioned, I suppose, and I much prefer romances where both partners go into it with some mystery, with some discovery to make. It wasn't as fun to watch if they discussed it like a business transaction! 
I would have preferred to slowly become aware of the other, of thinking, debating if the other might feel the same... I guess I would have liked a more well done tactic of "they couldn't help it but fall in love" and this love story didn't feel like that to me.

As a whole, there was nothing wrong with this story but I missed that something "extra" that all the books I liked the most need to have for me to put them in that level.
I think the fact there is some dragging in the middle with the journey taking over the whole book and the final resolutions being so easily and quickly summarized make things feel like they were rushed in the end.

While reading this I kept wondering that there is a reason why these books tend to be considered old school so they aren't as well received nowadays but at the same time, there is a reason too why old school can be a synonym of "established" and that is because the plots work.
I liked this book in general even though it wasn't as spectacular as I would have wanted.
Grade: 6/10

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