Review: The Last Outlaw by Rosanne Bittner

Review: The Last Outlaw by Rosanne BittnerThe Last Outlaw by Rosanne Bittner

Series: Outlaw Hearts #4
Genres: Historical Romance, Western Romance
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on September 5, 2017
Pages: 480
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
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four-half-stars      four-flames

Times have changed, and the old Wild West is becoming a place of civilized law and order, where men like Jake Harkner no longer seem to fit in. As a nod to the changing times, Jake has sworn to hang up his guns once and for all. In fact, he and his wife Randy are enjoying this new era of peace on their ranch...until Jake's embroiled in a rescue mission that he simply can't refuse―possibly his most dangerous yet. He rides into Mexico to save a young girl from a dreadful fate, leaving his beloved family behind, fearing he will die the same way he's always lived―by the gun.

The Delight

A hard-hitting emotional read, gritty action, and above all, a decades long love affair that stands so many tests.  The Outlaw Hearts series holds a solid place on my best of the best list and this latest, The Last Outlaw, was no exception.

Review

While some of the books would work alright out of order, this one has the feeling of a culmination of all that came before it and references events from the previous book, Love’s Sweet Revenge.  In fact, I’ll need to reference what happened in that one so there will be some mild series spoilers.

The Last Outlaw picks up several months after the dramatic finish of Love’s Sweet Revenge.  Jake’s still on tenderhooks with the local law as civilization is taming the Wild West and shootouts are becoming rarer.  Lloyd is healing from being shot and stepping up as son and partner on the ranch as in family affairs.  Jake and the family are very worried because Randy isn’t recovering from her ordeal.

I thought the author handled her attack well.  Randy is a quietly courageous woman and it was tough to see her struggling so badly with her fears and the dark feelings that come from being abused, but the struggle had to happen after the dark, horrific things that happened to her.  She and Jake take turns being the strong one for each other.  Jake was such a steadfast husband and lover.  This pair may be in their autumn-winter years, but they are deeply in love and strongly passionate.

There was a big opening scene and then I loved how the story focused on the family and catching the reader up with them.  Three generations of Harkners live on the ranch and its never dull for them.  The characters in this series are engaging and I love them individually and together.

There are a few plot threads introduced- trouble with a disgruntled neighboring rancher, a missing girl taken in a human traffiking scheme, and past issues that build into a tempest later.  Jake is really struggling with getting beyond his horrid earlier years and the peace he has now.  Guilt and feelings of not deserving his new life threaten to overwhelm him.  The internal struggles in this one were as compelling as the external ones.  And yes, like other books by this author, this one did require tissues.  These really grab my emotions with the humor, heartwarming, passion, and gritty battles.

The story flowed well and was a good blend of action and character plotting.  It may be the end, but I am crossing my fingers that the author comes back to write more about new generations in the family and give peek-ins with Jake.  I loved this historical western romance and can easily recommend it to others who love gripping family sagas, engaging characters, and passionate romance.

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

Challenges

Romance Roundabout #238 HR
New Release #126
COYER #71
Bad Boys #20
Books N Tunes #28
The Highwayman’s Mamas Don’t Let Your Baby’s Grow Up to Be Cowboys 

 

Recommendations

  Review The Lone Warrior by Lori Austin

Preview

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.
  • Is this series a companion series or a continuous series? Different protagonists every book? Have I already asked you that? I got one of the books in this series for free on Amazon during Sourcebooks Casablanca’s sale, so I will start the series at some point. I’m glad you’ve been enjoying the books!

    Have a great day, Sophia. =)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    • Hey, Alyssa! It’s a continuous series. Outlaw Hearts is the first. The main characters are Jake and Randy, but the series includes their children and grandchildren, too.

  • I’ve heard very good things about this book and this series as a whole. I’m not super into western romances, but I am curious. The cover is pretty, too! Glad you enjoyed it.

    • Glad we’ve got you curious, Quinne. 🙂 They’re a great sweeping family saga. Love the covers, too.

  • bah I am going to have to back track. I picked this one up but if you feel like it needs to be read in order I’ll look for the other

    • Oh, yep, this series is definitely best read in order, Lily. Worth it! 😉

  • Lovely review. I am so thrilled that you loved this one too!! Such a great finale right? Although the last part there, really tore me up. I did have to re read the whole series again because I just wanted more of Jake and Randy.

    • Oh man, I was sobbing there at the end, Renee. Say, did you see that there is an antho coming out this fall called Christmas in a Cowboy’s Arms? Bittner’s story is an Outlaw Hearts novella. 🙂

  • I might have to read this one, it does sound good.

  • Karen

    I’ve only read a few western romances and none were historical.

    This sounds like a good one for me to read.

    For What It’s Worth

    • This is great epic family saga. Definitely start with the first one, Karen, if you go for it. 🙂

  • I really liked the first book in this series and hope to read the rest of them very soon. I am so glad that you enjoyed this one as much as you did. I am really looking forward to it!

    • Each book in this series packs a punch and I loved them, Carole. That first one really set the bar high, but she met it with each one after. 🙂