Loves Sweet Revenge by Rosanne Bittner #Review

Loves Sweet Revenge by Rosanne Bittner #ReviewLoves Sweet Revenge by Rosanne Bittner

Series: #3 Outlaw Hearts
Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on September 6, 2016
Pages: 512
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
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four-half-stars      four-flames

The past just would not leave them to their peace.  Larger than life, a hard, ruthless former outlaw who has gone straight must continually fight bitterly tough battles to keep his family safe and keep his darker side at bay.  The author has created a magnificent legend of the west in her hero, Jake Harker.  Jake is just a man, but his words and deeds make the reader a believer.  I laughed, I cried, I bit my nails, and I sighed as I entered the Outlaw world once again.

This historical family saga continues late into the lives of Jake and Randy, their grown children and precocious grandchildren with this third installment of the Outlaw series that really should be read in order to get the full experience.

Jake and his family have settled in Colorado on their own 50,000 acre spread.  Lloyd is his partner and they are grooming the younger generation to take over.  Life is good for the Harkers and their hands.  Randy loves seeing Jake have the life he has earned through hard efforts to reform and be the man she loves.  But Jake can’t understand what others see in him or why his beautiful wife, children and grandchildren can love him.

Jake may be pushing sixty, but he is still not a man to be trifled with whether it is a band of rustlers, a puffed up state prosecutor out to nail him to the wall, or conniving bitter men bent on exacting a deadly revenge against Jake and Lloyd.

Unfortunately, the west is changing and Jake and Lloyd must change with it if they wish to remain free and on the right side of the law.  Trouble comes to the Harkers and brings back the fearful days of Oklahoma when death shadowed them and the law might not be enough to protect the family.  In a moment, Jake is faced with an awful situation and his old steely-eyed self leaps into action.  Randy and the family fear what will happen now as Jake faces the threat of prison or hanging.  Old friends come to support them and do what they can, but will it be enough?

Alright, this was a fantastic read from cover to cover.  It was an ode to the Harkers- a love fest that I was happy to indulge in for the most part.  The book is slow through several parts, but it is varied with intense internal conflict and the excitement and danger of exterior conflict.  It builds to not one, but a few big climax moments with the reader left holding her breath and flipping pages quickly.

Jake and Randy are at the heart of this story, but the scope has widened to include Lloyd and Katie and Evie and Brian, Jeff and Peter, along with the older grandchildren.  Their story is all one.  The line from Jake to Lloyd to Little Jake to show how each generation carries on the Harkers was clearly made.

The past having bearing on the present and how each character handles it is a strong thematic element.  Jake is racked with guilt and feelings that he doesn’t deserve anything good.  Randy fights the fear that Jake will leave and not come back to her.  Evie and Brian have faced down the terrors from her rape.  Lloyd must learn to forgive himself for long ago deserting the family.  The author paints her characters with flaws as well as strengths.

The western history aspect of the story was strong and supported the romance and action plot.  The author portrayed the latter years of the 1800s in Colorado, ranch life, and changes in the law and society well.  There were hard hitting situations and elements.  Outlaws, whores, city folk, law officers, ranchers, and more wove through the story offering color and scope.

All in all, I was enthralled and wanted nothing more than to remain in the world of the Harkers.  I’m so glad there is to be one more book for sure.  Those who love sagas and Western romance really need to treat themselves to this series and this author’s books.

My thanks to Sourcebooks Casablanca for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Challenges Met:

Romance Roundabout #276 HR
Books N Tunes #35  LeAnn Rimes’ Good Hearted Woman

About Rosanne Bittner

Rosanne Bittner is an award-winning novelist who is highly acclaimed for her thrilling love stories and historical authenticity. Her epic romances span the West—from Canada to Mexico, Missouri to California—and are often based on personal visits to each setting. She lives in Michigan with her husband and two sons.

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.
  • Oh Sophia! Darn it! I skipped this one due to time and it being so long. Darn again! lol I really do love this family so I’m excited to hear this book was as good as the earlier ones 🙂

    • Oh noes!!!! I feel almost like I’m rubbing your nose in it by going on and on in the review. Yes, this is a family saga that is top on my list of saga reads. I dread the fourth one knowing it will be the last.

  • Alright now you added three books to my tbr pile. tsk. tsk. I love the family saga, the time period, the attention to change …yep 3 books to my tbr pile.

    • Not apologizing. LOL! These are too fantastic and I want all my reader pals to love them, too. 😉

  • Debbie Haupt

    Okay Wow, I’m not usually attracted to historical romances but I do love a good epic family dramas and I love the fact that some of the main protagonists are senior citizens, Yay Us. And this looks fantastic so its going on my pile 🙂

    • Isn’t there always that one exception to the rule, Debbie? 😉 I know what you mean about loving to come across books with the mature characters living and loving in the golden ages. Hope you love them.

  • I’ve never read Rosanne Bittner, but Renee from Addicted to Romance is such a huge fan. So glad you loved this one.

    • Oh yeah, Renee and I have a mutual RB fan club going. 😉 Yep, loved this one to death like I seem to do with all of hers that I read.

  • This series has been on my tbr pile and I really need to get around to reading it because they reviews always look amazing.

    • Oh ugh, those piles. I have one of those, too, Angela. These are good stuff and I hope you get the chance soon.

  • This sounds like a great series! I haven’t heard of it before. I do like a good western! Thanks!

    • You are so welcome, Candy. I love the westerns, too, and am always on the scout for a new one to try. I was so glad when Sourcebooks started doing re-releases of her books a few years back and introduced me to them.

  • First off….such a great pick for a song to match the book!!!! I am thrilled you loved this one too. So fabulous but whew….I swear each book gets even more intense and emotional and I am just never prepared for it like I should be.

    • Ha! Yes, I was thinking of Randy and how Jake always feels like she is putting up with his past to have him so this song came to mind.

      Lord yes, these always hit me hard right square in the heart and I never get through them without some tears. Not sure how I’ll do with the fourth and final one. Good-byes to favorites are so hard.

  • wow so many htings in this one and it sounds really emotional you made me curious! Plus the story looks really interesting! thanks for sharing!

    • These are some amazing and emotional books in this series. 🙂 You’re welcome!

  • I got one of her books from netgalley, but haven’t read it yet. I haven’t been in a historical romance mood yet this year, but when I do get in that mood I’ll be sure to finally read it.
    I like how you describe her books, they all sound so good! I have once read a book that span a lot of years and it’s such a unique way to tell the story and with how this series follows multiple generations sound very interesting. And multiple climaxes at the end, that sounds good! I am glad to hear this was such a good and emotional read and yay that there will be at least one more book.

    • Yes, I get that mood plays a strong roll in picking up her books plus they are longer. 🙂

      I try to not get really gushy b/c I know that isn’t helpful to other readers even though I do love this series a lot. The saga aspect is a big draw for me as I am curious about what comes after the ‘I love yous’ and how people’s lives turn out.

      Definitely yay for another book. I wasn’t ready to say good-bye. 🙂

  • This sounds like a fantastic series! I love that it’s followed this family through the years. Awesome review!

    • Yes, the multiple generations and years with them as the family grows is one of the best parts. Thanks, Lekeisha!

  • I am so glad that you loved this one, Sophia! And one more book? Why did I think that this was a trilogy? Anyway that is great news. I can’t wait to read all about this family. Great review!

    • I really did, Carole. 🙂 It was going to be a trilogy, but she felt there was one more story in this family that she had to tell so she extended it. Woohoo!

  • RO

    Whew! At 512 pages, the author had a lot to share, and I prefer longer novels. I haven’t been reading many westerns lately, but I have seen a few more cowboy movies that have intrigued me. The idea that this book has that same historical authenticity sounds fantastic. Great review! Hugs…

    • I never feel all those pages. These are such great stories. Love cowboy movies, too. Thanks, Ro!