Life is too short to read a bad book.
Sunday, October 28, 2007,12:19 PM
A Lady of the West
Just Finished:

Why I Read It: Because I got it free from the Friends of the Library. And because it’s Linda Howard.

From the back cover: Victoria Waverly was a noble daughter of the war-ruined South, sold in marriage in a ruthless Western rancher. Only honor and pride could help her endure her painful role as wife in name alone. Yet honor could not quench Victoria's forbidden desire for the hired gunman Jake Roper. His narrow gaze was hard as ice, but the tender emotions he could not hide promised to unveil to Victoria the glorious mysterious of love. Jake cursed his burning need to the graceful lady, for he wanted nothing to stand in the way of his drive to reclaim his ranch -- Sarratt's Kingdom -- the empire that was his legacy and obsession. But ancient wrongs and blazing passions would bind together the proud, aristocratic beauty and the lean, powerful cowboy. In a bloody Western land war they would fight for Jake's rich birthright, and seize at last the love that was their hope, their dream, their destiny!

My Thoughts: This book grabbed me from the very beginning. It started so dark, with the rampage of McClain against the Sarratt family. I instantly got drawn into the story. I’ll just say it. McClain is a bastard.

Victoria was the bride of McClain, bought and paid for because her family was made poor during the war. She traveled to Sarratt’s Kingdom with her cousin Emma, and sister Cecelia. Jake and Victoria had chemistry from their first meeting and I enjoyed watching their game of cat-and-mouse. I enjoyed the buildup that Ms. Howard put into these two characters and their story.

This story also had great side characters. I cared about Emma and Cecilia as much as I did the main characters. I enjoyed their relationship with each other and with Victoria. They really were a family and made for a great part of this story. I also enjoyed the relationship between Emma and Ben. Their first meeting was a bit steamy and I knew something was going to happen there. There was also the sweet friendship between Luis and Celia. They made me smile.

On page 220, Jake pissed me off and I almost didn’t finish reading it. But I loved the characters enough that I wanted to finish their story, so I continued on. Then about page 228, I went “Oh wow” in spite of myself.

Since I’m a reader and not a reviewer, I have a habit of including spoilers when I write about what I’ve read so I’ve marked the next two paragraphs as spoilers. Read them at your own discretion.

***SPOILER*** I’ve seen A Lady of the West categorized as an abusive book ~ I don’t know that I agree with that. Jake did hit Victoria once ~ not purposefully, but he did do it when he thought Victoria was lying to him about being pregnant. He believed the baby was McClain’s, even though McClain could never consummate the marriage with Victoria. So he was taken over by rage, thinking Victoria was trying to pass off his enemy’s baby as his own. I’m not sure “understand” is the right word, but I guess I understand how it would happen. It doesn’t make it right, but it doesn’t make me altogether hate Jake for it either. Then, there’s the fact that Victoria slapped him too. ***END SPOILER***

***SPOILER*** What ended up happening to Cecelia was heartbreaking. I guess I knew was going to happen when she dropped the apple into Rubio’s stall (and the fact that I read about it over at Book Binge), but it didn’t make me cry any less. When Luis carried Cecelia’s lifeless body back to the house, I lost it. I cried for everyone involved. Cecelia was just discovering what it was to be a woman when her life ended so tragically. She was simple and sweet and really was loved by all the other characters who lived at Sarratt’s Kingdom. ***END SPOILER***

This book was Excellent and is staying on my keeper shelf. I laughed, I cried, I got angry ~ It just made me feel so many things and I know the characters will stay with me for a long, long time. I cared about them all ~ or at least the ones I was supposed to. I definitely recommend this one.

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  • At 2:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous

    Hiya! Thanks for stopping by my blog! You should really check out Meagan's Chance I loved it. As far as Annabelle's Courtship...I loved it too! Both are wonderful reads!

  • At 2:34 PM, Blogger Dev

    Hi Crystal! Thanks for stopping by :-) I'm thinking about getting Meagan's Chance ~ your review of it looked really good.

  • At 7:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous

    Oh you should!!! I tell you what I cried more through this book than any other I have read. It was a refreshing read, I loved it! I will most certainly read it again!

  • At 7:36 PM, Blogger Zeek

    Yep that scene makes him very unpopular. But it didn't bother me as much as it did for some people. In real life HECK YEAH I'd be pissed. If she hadn't made him grovel or hadn't redeemed him I would have thrown the book against the wall.

    But I think I loved Ben and Emma more in this one.

  • At 8:06 PM, Blogger Dev

    Crystal ~ I'll more than likely get it. I'm in the last 50 pages of Annabelle's Courtship now and then want to tackle a few more off of my tbr pile first.

    Zeek ~ I love Ben and Emma! I loved the fact that they were both so headstrong about what they wanted. Cecelia and Luis broke my heart. And I agree, in real life, I wouldn't have stood for it. But books are entertainment ~ and I think a book that makes me touch on just about every emotion I have is definitely one to keep.

  • At 8:13 PM, Blogger Kristie (J)

    It's been ages and ages since I read this one and I don't really remember it too well. But I do remember that I was surprised when I heard about the abuse part of it so I must not have thought it was out of line either.

  • At 8:29 PM, Blogger Dev

    Kristie ~ I really liked this one. I'm almost getting to "After the Night", probably sometime this week, as a matter of fact.

  • At 9:43 PM, Blogger ReneeW

    I haven't read this one for a long time but I remember that Jakes behavior didn't upset me at all. I've read worse in other books. But Cecelia's death really upset me. I hate when there is a death of a major character. Great book though. Great review too.

  • At 10:07 PM, Blogger Dev

    Renee ~ Cecelia's death broke my heart. It was just so sad. It is a great book ~ I may have to reread it again at some point.

  • At 10:48 PM, Blogger Rosie

    I remember this book very well because it was one of the first time's the hero didn't suddenly change into a sweet squeaky clean good guy over night. He had a plan and he stuck to it. He wasn't much concerned with who he hurt or how he got there. Realistic and also realistic on how he finally gets a clue and wakes up.

    Wow, I haven't thought about it for a long time and am surprised how much I remember of it.

  • At 10:53 PM, Blogger Dev

    Rosie ~ I think that's a sign of a good book, if you can remember so much about it years after you've read it. Jake isn't a typical hero, but I don't think he's a bad guy either. Like you said, he had a plan and stuck to it. And I'm so glad that Victoria never backed down from him. She's an awesome heroine.

  • At 1:50 AM, Blogger CindyS

    You know I read Howard's historicals years ago but I have no recollection of this story. The one I remember is one with a bullwhip.

    For some reason I didn't like Howard and steered clear of her for years. It wasn't until Dream Man was published that I discovered just how awesome she could be.


  • At 8:17 AM, Blogger Dev

    Cindy ~ Well, if you are ever in the mood for one of LH's westerns, this is a great one. I'll be reading After the Night soon and am really looking forward to it. I seem to be the last person on earth to be reading it.

  • At 9:33 AM, Blogger Rowena

    Hmm, I'm a big LH fan but I haven't read this one, I'm thinking that maybe I need to fix that soon because this review (I read the spoilers, hehe) was great sweets!

  • At 9:39 AM, Blogger Dev

    Wena ~ I really did love this one. I didn't think I would, but man did it suck me in.

  • At 6:26 PM, Blogger sula

    I've never read any LH. Mainly because I don't really do rom-suspense and that seems to be her forte. Is this a historical? Mebbe I need to see if my library has it...

  • At 8:35 PM, Blogger Dev

    Sula ~ It's a western historical, but it also has some suspense.

  • At 12:24 AM, Blogger Rowena

    Then it's going right to the top of my TBR pile, after all the books I HAVE to read...I'm so going to get this one! Thanks for the review sweets!

  • At 8:26 AM, Blogger Dev

    Wena ~ You're welcome. I hope you love it as much as I did.