Saturday, February 28, 2015

DESPERATE HEARTS by Roseanne Bittner

Publisher:    Sourcebooks
Published:   September 2, 2014
ISBN: 978-1492602781
Genre:   Historical Western Romance
Format:  Ebook
Obtained via:  Publisher via Netgalley
Reviewed by name and email address:  Gina


Accused of murdering her mother, Emma Radcliffe is on the run for her life.  She’s changed her name to Elizabeth Wainwright and after careful research choose a town in far off Montana as the least likely place her pursuers will find her.  Before she makes her way to Alder, Montana the stage she is riding on is attached and the robbers make quick work of killing off the driver and all of the passengers but Elizabeth.  But a worse fate awakes the young woman in the form of attempted rape by those same robbers. At the last minute Emma is saved…but could the man who appears on the scene be even worse than the stage robbers?

Mitch Brady has a reputation as a vigilant.  In truth he’s the law in Alder, Montana.  The moment he lays eyes on Elizabeth he wants her.  Not as a quick tumble between the sheets but as his wife.  It doesn’t take long for Mitch to realize Elizabeth has a secret, a secret so powerful it keeps her from trusting him.  Bit by bit however, Mitch works his way into Elizabeth’s heart. Can she come to truly trust him before her secret finds her in faraway Montana?

Historical western romance is the main reason I became a devoted romance fan.  Historical westerns had it all—handsome cowboys, fast traveling horses, wide open spaces and a sense of adventure.  Sadly in recent years western romance, particularly the historicals, have fallen into disfavour—or at least aren’t as available as they once were.  When I saw Roseanne Bittner’s DESPERATE HEARTS I had to pick it up. 

DESPERATE HEARTS harkens back to what is to me the early days of historical western romance—rough and tumble cowboys, a woman on the run and an untamed land.  Bittner captures the aura of the times where men often had to live by the gun in their hands.  There are illusions to rape in the story—something that is a no-no in modern day romance.  The act itself isn’t committed to paper, but there are incidents reported in the story. 

I really like Mitch Brady.  Handsome, brave and knew his own mind.  While Bittner pays homage to the vigilantes that helped to win the west, the never ending mention that Mitch was a vigilante got a bit overdone.  It wasn’t so bad the first 20 times, but the constant reminders began to wear thin.   

In many ways DESPERATE HEARTS is a sweet romance—there are romantic scenes rather than physical love scenes which allows the reader to fill in the blanks to suit him or herself.

We don’t see many romances like DESPERATE HEARTS these days and I think that’s a shame because I miss the romances I fell in love with. I have a couple of Ms. Bittner’s other western romances on my bookshelf and hope she continues to tell those wonderful stories.

This is an objective review and an endorsement of this book.

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