Series: A Timeless Collection #7
Genres: Western Romance
Published by Brilliance Audio
Released on September 25, 2017
Six Award-Winning Authors have contributed new stories to A Timeless Romance Anthology: Old West Collection. Readers will love this collection of six historical western novellas, all with one thing in common: Romance.
In Break a Leg, a charming story by two-time Rita Award winner Carla Kelly, hospital steward Colm Callahan is ready to move away from army life at Fort Laramie. His only regret is leaving behind exotic Ozzie Washington, easily the prettiest woman on the post. As a maid to the lieutenant colonel’s wife, Ozzie is no wilting flower when it comes to hard work. When the post surgeon leaves for an extended week, Colm must handle several medical emergencies on his own. He pleads for Ozzie’s help at the hospital. While they spend long days and nights working together, Colm, a shy man, realizes he can’t hide the truth of his feelings for Ozzie. He needs a little help, though. Enter from stage left, Lysander Locke, Shakespeare tragedian on his way to Deadwood.
The Soldier’s Heart, an enchanting novella by Sarah M. Eden, follows Gregory Reeves has fallen in love with a woman he’s never met. Her brother’s dying wish is that Gregory checks on his family, and after the war, Gregory is only too happy to meet the woman he’s been dreaming about. Helene mistakes him for a hired hand and sets him to work immediately. As time passes, Gregory finds it more and more difficult to reveal his true connection to her family, fearing that a woman who loathes liars will turn her disapproval on him.
Hidden Spring is an enthralling novella by Liz Adair, in which Susannah Brown is just getting her life back together after becoming a widow. She still misses Wesley with a fierce longing, but when she meets his half-brother, Douglas, she learns her heart is not completely dormant. Over the next several weeks, Douglas helps Susannah with repairs on her small ranch in exchange for supper. The exchange becomes more and more meaningful as Susannah realizes that Douglas might be the one to finally heal her heart.
The Silver Mine Bachelor, by Heather B. Moore, is a sweet romance between an unlikely pair. Lydia Stone has a checklist for men who qualify as the eligible bachelors in the mining town of Leadville, Colorado. Her new boss, Mr. Erik Dawson, is about to be struck off the list when she sees him coming out of the town brothel. Lydia doesn’t know that Erik Dawson’s sister has been living the brothel lifestyle for years, and he’s set on redeeming her soul. When Lydia discovers Erik’s secrets, she learns that life is not as black and white as she thinks.
In Annette Lyon’s delightful story, The Sweetest Taste, Della Stafford hates being a farm girl in the tiny town of Shelley, Idaho. She’ll do anything to live in a big city and experience real city life. Her only regret is that she’d have to leave Joseph behind, the young man who makes her heart flutter. But she’s convinced that moving away is for the best; her dreams and Joseph’s dreams are too dissimilar. Then Della takes a job as a maid in Los Angeles and must face the truth that what she thought would make her happy and what really will are totally different things.
In the captivating novella, Faith and the Foreman by Marsha Ward, Faith Bannister is forced to travel west to earn a living as a school mistress in Arizona Territory. Faith soon learns that living the frontier lifestyle of a single woman has many harsh challenges. But when she meets Slim McHenry, she discovers that life doesn’t have to be so lonely. Unfortunately the dangerous Rance Hunter stands between her and Slim, and she must act with courage before everything is lost.
I enjoyed the Regency Collection so when the Old West Collection became available in audio, I had to listen to those novellas.
Like many anthologies can be, this was something of a mixed bag. I tried to say a little something of my impressions about each story.
Break A Leg by Carla Kelly
I can always count on this author for writing a non-typical historical whether its Regency England, the high seas, or the Old West. In this case, her Irish hero is a non-commissioned medical officer and he’s in love with a competent, calm bi-racial family maid for a heroine on a frontier outpost in the waning days of the Wild West. I thought this was a sweet story though a little slower in the beginning while building the back story (which was a necessary tough) since this pair have sad pasts and it has a baring on the present which is more the culmination of their story rather than a beginning. Loved it!
The Soldier’s Heart by Sarah M. Eden
Gregory has a crush on his deceased best friend’s sister based entirely on the woman he meets and learns to love through her letters to her brother. He is all fumbling around her when he meets her, but she is rather taken with him as is the rest of the family on the farm. He leads with a lie of omission that he is fearful of resolving because he’s afraid of how she’ll react to the truth.
It was sweet with the orphan kids and the slow building romance. it was somewhat rushed at the end.
Hidden Spring by Liz Adair
The heroine, Susanna, is a spitfire with a haughty attitude trying to get past losing her husband and learning to live independently. I never quite warmed up to her rudeness in the beginning that seemed to just come out of left field. Douglas is a little rough, but he’s kind and didn’t deserve her attitude which is reserved solely for him. I did like seeing their hesitant courtship and the work around the ranch.
The Silver Mine Bachelor by Heather B. Moore
Prim and Proper Lydia has moved to Leadville on a husband hunt and has taken up the job of mine owner’s secretary. Her boss intrigues her, but his connection to a brothel has her hesitating. The idea of a husband hunt is cute, but I just couldn’t get into Lydia and her stuck up attitude toward other people from the first moment she sits in her church pew and scratches guys off her list for things like dirt under his finger nails or a bad suit coat. Hello, these are miners and this isn’t NYC. I would have been fine if she was nervous or unsure being near prostitutes since she’s sheltered, but she comes across as sanctimonious and that I couldn’t like. The parson’s attitudes in this one didn’t set well with me, either, refusing to go at the request of a man to try to speak to a sickly woman because she’s a prostitute. Loved the hero, Eric Dawson, and his tender care for his sick sister. The mining world of Leadville was well drawn. But overall, it was not for me.
The Sweetest Taste by Annette Lyon
A farm girl dreaming of big city lights gets her opportunity even if it means leaving the young man behind who loves, but learns quickly that the city isn’t all she imagined. Suddenly the comparisons are going the other way and she has to rethink her choice. I thought this was sweet and heartwarming best friends to lovers with lovely nods to the time period for the country and the city.
Faith and the Foreman by Marsha A. Ward
Oh how nice, Faith and Slim’s romance comes with a mystery for them to figure out- why is Slim’s boss getting sick and who’s stealing the man’s cattle. Faith is a sweet gentle soul and Slim gets through one dance at the social before realizing she’s one special lady and he wants to get to know her better. Cute characters and a bit of humor to this heartwarming tale.
I experienced the Old West Collection on audio. Siiri Scott was a first time narrator for me. I was very distracted by her narrative style. She heavily enunciates each syllable and her voicings of men or children and some women sounded a little off. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the haughty, snippiness I sensed in some of the stories would not have come through as such if I had read these. She did have solid female voices like for Ozzy in the first story or Faith in the last. I thought she had a good sense of timing.
All in all, this was another engaging collection of sweet historical romance stories with a good variety of western settings and characters.
My thanks to Brilliance Audio for the opportunity to listen to these in exchange for an honest review.
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