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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

High Country Bride by Linda Lael Miller




Title: High Country Bride
Author: Linda Lael Miller
Genre: Western Romance
Crowns: 4/5

According to wikipedia the western literary genre are "devoted to telling stories set primarily in the later half of the 19th century in the American Old West." So for western week here on Royal Reviews I chose to review a western romance.
Synopsis (from amazon.com):

One ranch. Three sons. Only one will inherit...and on one condition.
Tired of waiting for his sons to settle down, Arizona-territory rancher Angus McKettrick announces a competition: the first son to marry and produce a grandchild will inherit Triple M ranch. Now, three distinctly different, equally determined cowboys are searching high and low for brides.
If Emmeline Harding knows one thing, it's that she can't hold her liquor. And though she's not sure how she came to wake up next to a stack of gold coins in a brothel, she fears the worst. Fleeing town as a mail-order bride, she wonders: how will she ever confess her past to her handsome new husband?
Freedom-loving Rafe McKettrick is a man of strong beliefs and stronger passions and he'll do anything to win the Triple M -- even marry a stranger. To his surprise, Emmeline's charms beguile him even as the secrets he senses she's hiding ignite jealousy and suspicion. But when a visitor from the past enters the high country, the newlyweds have no choice but to give up on a marriage in name only and seek a union that satisfies them body and soul.


Review:
The themes that pervade High Country Bride center around territorial disputes (Angus McKettrick's three sons fighting to inherit the ranch) and codes of honor (various characters having seemingly hidden agendas while in fact they are trying to preserve their honor).
The book opens in a brothel of all places. Emmeline lives with her aunt, the madam who runs the brothel, and for the most part she has led a very sheltered life. One night Emmeline decides that she is sick of the life she is leading. She puts on one of her aunt's dresses and invents a persona for herself while she mingles with "guests". The next morning she wakes up in a disturbing state of undress with a pile of money on the beside table. Disgraced, Emmeline signs on to become a mail order bride.
Rafe doesn't particularly care who takes the place at his side in the role of wife. He sees the whole business as a means to an end. Of course, with the romance novel aspect, he is surprised by his attraction to this stranger.
In Linda Lael Miller's brand of western the Arizona frontier comes complete with violence as in traditional westerns. However, the violence is of a softer variety (if that is even possible) because it always serves a purpose of protecting the family and other important characters.
I think that this book is an excellent read for people who crave a slice of the wild west while still sinking into an exhilarating love story.


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3 comments:

librarypat said...

Miller's books are always a satisfying read. Have enjoyed her historicals as well as her contemporary Westerns. She is sliding paranormal elements into the now also. Whatever the time period, they are still Westerns and always worth the time.

Dwayne said...

This sounds quite good. I am slightly obsessed with Historical romances and this will be a good one to add to my TBR! Thanks for the review :)

Lady Q said...

I have yet to read a Western romance. This sounds yummy!