The particulars: Historical Romance, Samhain, available as e-book and in print.
The Source: Purchased, but cannot remember were.
The Grade: B
A sheriff with a stone-cold reputation. An innocent madam hell-bent on disturbing his peace. Who will be the first to give in?
Rebecca Hamilton passed through life as bland as biscuits—until the day she buried her father and fled out West with a fortune in stolen jewelry. She arrives in Gardiner, Texas to find her aunt has bequeathed to her the only whorehouse in town.
With no other prospects except a proposal from a tall, dark stranger wearing a badge, Rebecca decides to embrace her vibrant aunt’s legacy and never again live under the thumb of an overbearing man.
After years of cultivating a reputation as a ruthless lawman, Adam Caldwell can’t believe he’s offered to marry the quiet, rather plain new madam. Even more perplexing is the fact she turns him down, choosing instead to become a sass-talkin’, sashay-walkin’ vision in feathers and lace.
With an innocent madam wanting him to teach her to be as wicked as she looks and rowdy townsfolk split over the scandal, the sheriff figures his cup of troubles is about full. But a man from Rebecca’s past catches up with her, and Adam has to decide just how much he’s willing to sacrifice for the woman who refuses to give up on becoming Miss Becky.
I read and enjoyed the Kowalski books by Shannon Stacey, so when I discovered that she had written historicals, I decided to buy one of them. It took awhile before I read it, but in the end I am glad I did. This was an fun read. It was fascinating to follow Adam’s and Becky’s relationship. From the start, when she is a bland mouse, through her determination to rule her own life, to their HEA.
I loved the characters. Becky might look like a mouse, but she have a lot of courage. Both when it comes to travelling alone all the way to Texas, and the way she refused to give in. I admired the way she refused to let anyone decide how she should dress and behave. It made sense. She had blended in all her life, and now she didn’t have to. And then there is the fact that she is living in a whorehouse. Even if she isn’t a whore.
And Adam. He was a fascinating mix of stubbornness, jealousy and honor. He was ruthless when it comes to keep order in town. And keeping order was a part of the plot. Since Becky’s arrival split the town in two. Some liked her, some didn’t.
All this took place in the town of Gardiner ( the name made me giggle, since it mean curtains in Swedish). The setting felt realistic, from the biblethumping characters ( some of them) to the Mercantile and the horsetrough. I could sometimes smell the horses, and the dust in the air.
So what I didn’t like. Sometimes, it felt… shallow. I don’t expect to read a philosophic essay when I open an e-book, but I do expect to feel some sort of connection to the characters.
Yes, I enjoyed the book, the banter, the setting. But I didn’t feel a tug at my heart. Still, it was a fun read, and what I needed right now.