Diane R. Jewkes surprises and delights with a non-traditional Western story.
Best Moment: Believe it or not, it’s one of the saddest moments of the book for me, but that fact that Ms. Jewkes was able to create and sustain that kind of believable emotion in her story and characters (and empathy from me) in such a short space is worthy of note and applause.
Worst Moment: Every time Kara loses her temper…it’s to momentary and quick to be understandable or relatable. One minute she’s fine, the next second she’s cursing whatever (mostly our hero), and a second after that she is logically accepting that her anger was misplaced and she is no longer angry or convinced she is right. It’s a bit too much.
Synopsis: Kara Jonston returns home to find that her father has sold partnernship in their Ranch to a British Lord–a Scottish Lord named Hawke Pryce, Lord Stoneham to be exact. Kara is not at all happy with this outsider coming to try and change or take over her ranch. Hawke is not your typical Scottish Lord and is looking to investigate ranching methods to bring back to Scotland while also hunting down the man who hurt his sister. From the moment the two meet, the chemistry is instantly apparent to everyone around them…even when it comes in the form of bickering. But while Hawke draws closer to finding the man he’s after, Kara doesn’t want to ever leave her ranch or give it to another. Add to the mix a sinister presence on the ranch and a couple of quirky characters in their lives…and you’ve got The Heart You Own.
The Good: This story was surprisingly a great read. Westerns tend to be a bit overdone and, let’s face it, sometimes cheesy. A few authors have managed to avoid the pitfalls of the white savage whose heart must be tamed so he can be the warrior of legend for his people who becomes a peacemaker…and Jewkes is one of them. Her characters were fun and interesting. The plot was believable and intriguing. The best part? It was full of great moments between the couple that drew me on because of their emotional pull. Though the characters don’t have much time together, they’re put in situations that would demand a quick development of both intimacy and attraction.
The Bad: Some of the characterization, I’m guessing because of the length of the novel, was a bit of a miss. Our first introduction to Hawke and his player friend, Alec, is a bit off-putting because we see it through the eyes of a lusty and slightly repellant chick-lit-y voice. There was lip-licking. The horror. As mentioned, Kara’s weird bouts of temper made me want to ground her rather than sympathize which adds to my suspicion about the need for more time for characterization (aka a lengthier story). Still…that’s not too terrible.
The Ugly: Nothing is too horrifying about this book or this book’s cover but…
We’ve all been there. We’re wandering through a bookstore, or maybe aimlessly searching suggestions, looking at random lists on Amazon.com for something to read. Happily, we traipse through booktopias convinced that we’re going to find something wonderful to read and then… We are greeted with the cover.
Before I begin, I feel I must point out one very simple fact:
Most authors get absolutely no input in their covers, or, if they do, it’s mostly a kind of courtesy. Publishers rule. Authors weep and hope for reprints.
Challenge accepted. Unleashing Mockery…
Now I really enjoyed this book, but this cover makes me wonder how many orphans I’m supporting…or is it hair care products…or is it unrealistic expectations for lip plumpness? The good thing about this cover is that it doesn’t immediately offend me with its assumed “romantic” appeal, but there is a slightly weird quality about it. I keep coming back to Madam LaRanch and her clearly sassy horse. Part of me is wondering if “The Heart You Own” is a reference to her weird dominatrix hair. Whippppshaaaaw! Your heart is miiiiiiiine! Also, is anyone else being driven slowly insane by whether or not she’s wearing two earrings? The one is so big…so where is the other one? Did her hair eat it?!
Forgive the cover artists, for they know not what they do.
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