Friday, April 9, 2010

PIECES OF SKY by Kaki Warner

Publisher: Berkeley
Date published: January 2010
ISBN: 978-0425-23214-9
Western Romance
Reviewed by Gina
Obtained by Library

On the run from her less than savory brother-in-law, Jessica Thornton hopes to find her brother, George, and find him quickly. It is her hope that George will not only protect her from the dastardly John Crawford, but protect their familial home in England as well. Traveling with her are an assorted group including a railroad executive, a prudish mother and her daughter, Melinda, who finds one of her dime novels coming to life when their stage coach overturns and real life hero Brady Wilkins saves them.

Dark haired, blue eyed Brady didn't set out to be a hero. Mostly he just wanted to get home to his beloved RosaRoja. No, it’s not the woman of his heart, it’s the ranch he and his brothers are struggling to keep running. The last thing he planned on was meeting and finding himself falling for Jessica.

But his feelings for Jessica have no place in the life long battle with Sancho. The son of the ranch’s former owner is determined to wrest RosaRoja back from the Wilkins brothers. And he doesn’t want just the ranch, he wants to kill the brothers, one by one.

With Sancho on the one side pursuing the Wilkins Brothers and Crawford on the other determined to wrest the family home from Jessica, their blossoming romance seems doomed. Can love survive divergent factions bent on destruction?

Kaki Warner brings to PIECES OF SKY a marvelous combination of her own experience with horses and growing up in the southwest and those things that make romance my favorite genre into one fabulous story. I fell in love with Brady myself about the time Jessica gets a gander at him while he is washing up. There’s something so very compelling about him. He loves his brothers so much he would die for them. Yet at the same time there is a vulnerability that eats at him, making him feel like he is less than deserving because of the circumstances surrounding the death of his youngest brother. His epiphanies are well timed and believable as are the transformations that happen within Jessica. She lives up to her own affirmation of being a woman to be reckoned with.

The secondary characters offer everything from amusement such as Melanie’s antics to disgust (I grinned rather broadly when one particular oaf died at the beginning of the book), to the compassionate caretaking of Elena and Consuelo. Doc made me smile, Jack’s unrequited love brought a tear to my eye. The only part of the story that left me bemused was what I felt to be the gratuitous death of the family dog. As an animal lover I applauded his surviving two attacks—he should have been left to live out his life in comfort and not killed off with a few words.

Still, Ms. Warner captures the pulse of the time and transports her readers to that other time and place. I eagerly await the rest of this series.


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