Review: Texas Bride by Leigh Greenwood

Review: Texas Bride by Leigh GreenwoodTexas Bride by Leigh Greenwood

Series: Night Riders #2
Genres: Historical Romance, Western Romance
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on December 5, 2017
Pages: 448
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
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three-half-stars      three-flames

They were a crack team of Confederate raiders, striking behind enemy lines under cover of darkness, operating with one mind, one heart. Until one of their number betrayed them all. In the aftermath of tragedy, they swore they would live to hunt down the traitor. But to each, life would bring first a woman and then a revelation: Far sweeter than revenge is love.

OWEN

He was the good-looking one, the one who'd always counted on his charm to get by. But the war had changed them all, leaving Owen painfully aware that looks could kill as surely as bullets. On the trail of the traitor, he no longer prided himself on his ability to break hearts, especially when the heart belonged to a girl as plain-featured and plain-spoken as Hetta Gwynne. Hetta made it clear she had no interest in winning a man, only in winning back her ranch. But after tasting her surprisingly heated kisses, Owen realized it was his own heart that was in danger of breaking unless he could change her mind.

The Delight

A group of ex-Confederates who rode together vow to get revenge on the man who turned traitor and got good people killed each get their story in the some times gritty, but passionate Night Riders series.  This time its handsome, smooth-talking Owen Wheeler, who sets out to track an evil man who’s now rustling cattle into Mexico, but instead lands himself into trouble of the female variety.

Review

Texas Bride is book two in the Night Riders series.  While it does continue the story arc of revenge as the Night Riders seek to capture and hang Laveau, the main romance line of the story is standalone.

I found Texas Bride a disconcerting reading experience.  I enjoyed it on one level, but there was also part of me that wanted to fling it across the room.  I did some growling and swooning in turns.

First of all, Owen Wheeler is a cutie and a charmer, but lord love a duck, he’s also pretty messed up when it comes to women.  However, that’s fair since his lady love, Hetta, is a man hater.  What are the odds that both of them had a terrible parent who destroyed their ability to see good or trust in the opposite sex and swear off relationships?  Well…

Owen had a promiscuous and cold-hearted yet beautiful mother who only wanted riches and men to fall all over themselves for her.   Hetta had a father who hated her existence and made it clear she was worthless and ugly and the source of his problems.  And these two meet.  The sparks fly and we have a story of push and pull as they see the good in the other eventually, but not in themselves.  I loved seeing them stand up for each other and really work to help the other one heal.  Owen was able to work his magic on helping to heal a whole town, in fact.  Owen sees himself a certain way when it comes to the guys from his former military unit and his cousin.  He feels guilt over something and it eats at him just like his anger toward what Laveau has ton and is doing lights a fire of revenge.

The overall plot was captivating and I was very into it, the characters, the situation, and the southern Texas Reconstruction era setting.  The author put some great historic detail into the background and his characters fit in well with the times.

And, I love the insertion of some comic relief on the part of the secondary characters surrounding Owen and Hetta like her best friend and her supposed sweetheart who seemed to be dragging his feet about his courting.

The rustling part of the plot had some good complications like the fact that a whole town thinks Laveau is their hero saving them from the Army and the Reconstruction crowd who will take all they have left and he promises to save them from the rustlers who are bleeding them dry.  Owen had to tread carefully thwarting Laveau’s efforts and getting proof against him.  It was pretty exciting at first particularly when his lady interest appears to be in possible cahoots with his enemy.

So you’re probably wondering what’s not to like.
This book had a great start and a great finish, but a frustrating center when it comes to the romance pair.  I get the fact that Hetta is an emotional abuse survivor.  I’m not making light of that nor how much time it takes to heal from it if ever.  That said, I got exhausted reading the same ol’ monologue in Hetta’s head for 70% of the book. (Yep, I looked when she finally got her epiphany- 70% on the nose)  It was an exhausting romance to read particularly since Owen’s issues really kicked into high-gear just as soon as Hetta gets sorted out.  Meanwhile, not a lot moves forward with the rustling and the manhunt for Laveau until the last ten percent.

In summary, it was another lovely experience with an author who continues to wow me with his romantic westerns, but I would definitely prefer less time spent inside this heroine’s head while she was rehashing the same stuff- as realistic as that probably is.  I do look forward to seeing the next Night Rider get his adventure in romance and hopefully get closer to ending that evil slime Laveau.

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

Challenges

Romance Roundabout #306 HR
New Release #187 

Recommendations

 Deadly by Sylvia McDaniel Review Paradise Valley by Rosanne Bittner
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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.
  • I didn’t know about this one but I can understand why it was a bit frustrating.

    • Yeah, I got tired of her ignoring all the good things she was told about herself and calling him a liar all the time. But hey, I guess it led to some good banter at times. 😉

  • RO

    For the first time ever, 2017 has been dedicated to lots of westerns on Netflix, and I’m not really fascinated with that era and how they lived. So with a book close to 450 pages, there seems like a lot of history to be learned and baggage to be dumped to get to the romance, and it sounds like one I’d really enjoy. Thanks for such a great review! P.s. Love the lights and cascading snowflakes! Hugs…RO

    • Oh man, a Netflix full of westerns would totally reel me in, but I know that’s not for everybody.
      Glad this pair of bruised and battered emotional abuse survivors could take your fancy, Ro. 🙂

  • “lands himself into trouble of the female variety”
    now that totally piqued my attention

    • Haha! Yes, he definitely has some charm. 🙂

  • it sounds like both characters came into this with a lot of baggage but it ends up being a good story.

    • Yes, you’ve summed it up well, Mary. I can’t figure out why people damage their children this way, but it happens and I’m glad to see these stories get a romance and a happy ending at least in fiction. 🙂

  • Hmmm…I haven’t read this author, and I don’t think this is the place to start. I think I would end up adopting your frustrations from this read.

    I have recommended this author to several bloggers (and maybe even you in the past…LOL) but if you like romantic westerns and have not tried her, I highly highly recommend Ellen O’Connell. Her stories have slow builds and wonderful character ARCs. I would suggest starting with either Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold or Beautiful Bad Man. You can’t go wrong with either one of them.

    Great review! 🙂

    • Oh, I meant to say that I love the lights!

      • Love it when Shari puts up the lights and gets the snowflakes going on the blog. So festive. Thanks, Angie! 🙂

    • Yeah, the first book in this series or his Seven Brides series or a few others were not frustrating to me like this particular story, though this one wasn’t a total loss to be fair. 🙂

      Oh neat! No, I didn’t get your Ellen O’Connell recommendation. I’ll have to check these books out. Thanks, Angie!

  • I’m glad you enjoyed it even though it sounds as though there were times you didn’t like them very much lol

    • Yeah, I admit they frustrated me quite a bit, but, under all my issues with their hemming and hah-ing, I actually liked them and wanted them to heal and find their happily ever after. That’s probably why they got me a little nuts. LOL

  • It is so hard when you don’t like characters. I am glad you enjoyed aspects.

    • It sure is. I was out of patience with both of them, but most of all her. She kept calling him a liar and assuming the worst about him and it got annoying really fast. But… it was a fun story on another level with the man and woman hating the pair of them did.

  • Yeah, I can totally see how that would be annoying. I’ve read books like that and it drags the story down. Glad you still enjoyed it though.

    • Yeah, same self-doubts and self-loathing over and over and accusations that he was just like her dad and he was a liar. Just, grrr. 🙂

  • I am not sure about this one. I do want to try this author at some point but I might have to start with something else.

    • I loved No One But You, a standalone side story for his Seven Brides series and I also liked the Cactus Creek Cowboys series and the first one of this Night Riders series. Just this one got me prickly. LOL

  • LOL Lord love a duck. Yeah that would be a handful having them both have those issues. I don’t mind some but I do want it to start to improve somehow prior to 70%. Goodness. But between you and Renee I really am going to need to start these.

    • Haha! Yes, poor man is blessed with good looks and charm that he fears make him just like his mother, but he uses them anyway to little effect on Hetta. Whew this pair. I just want to wring parents’ necks sometimes for the damage they do to their kids.

      I think you’d enjoy his books. I’ve hopped around from his Cactus Creek Cowboys, his Seven Brothers, and now the Night Riders series. This is the first time I’m reading books in order. LOL