This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Avon
Released on February 9, 2021
He came west for a story and found a woman rancher who refused to follow the script. The old west comes alive in all it’s colorful, gritty hues from the pen of a talented author and I was eager for this reading adventure to begin.
Wild Rain is the second of the Women Who Dare standalone stories, but it is fourth in the Old West series that are an inter-connected series of books about the women of Carmichael/Lee family. I had no trouble reading it without the earlier Old West stories, but I could see the strong connection to the previous book Tempest, in particular.
Wild Rain opens with woman rancher, Spring Lee, on her way home from caring for a horse. A blizzard has come up and she comes across a horse with an empty saddle and then the injured rider. Turns out the rider is the eastern newspaperman who wants to interview her doctor brother since he’s a colored man practicing medicine. Spring likes to be to herself and be left alone, but something about the courteous and respectful Garrett McGrady makes his company not the irksome burden she assumed when she grudgingly brought him to her cabin and looked after him.
McGrady is full of questions like any news reporter about her brother, about life in Paradise, WY, and about her life on the ranch raising stock horses and more, but he accepts her as she is and doesn’t pry. She learns something about the handsome, gentlemanly easterner who is a former slave, former navy sailor, carpenter, and reporter and for all he is, he is more impressed with her and treats her like a lady no matter what he hears around town about her wild past and most unladylike conduct. Unfortunately, he hears a lot because the slimy son of her former boss portrays her as a whore and nastily brings it up in company. He threatens her, but Spring isn’t afraid to pull out her Colt pistol and fill him with lead if he pushes her. The fancy Easterners he brings to town threaten the ownership of her land, but Spring is more concerned about a certain reporter than anything else.
Garrett came to get a story and falls in love with the ways of the west, the townfolk, and especially a strong woman who isn’t afraid to buck the system to be herself. He gradually learns Spring’s story of being forced out on her own to make her way as best she could. Back east, his father has a woman picked out for him from a slightly higher class in colored society and wants Garrett settled in a respectable law office, but Garrett has other ideas about both. He’d rather pursue his carpentry work and figure out a way to be in Spring’s life. In the mean time, he meets her doctor brother and sister in law Regal, makes friends with many in town, and makes a bitter enemy of the man who insults Spring and threatens her. Will he hang tough and be the man to match Spring or take the easy road back East?
I enjoyed my first Beverly Jenkins book last year, Rebel, so I picked up this second Women Who Dare. Now, perhaps it is the setting- I am partial to westerns- but I thought this story was even stronger and kept me riveted from cover to cover. Spring is my hero. That woman went through so much and she came out as tempered steel though she is generous, loyal, hardworking, and loving in her gruff way. And, Garrett is a rare and lovely beta hero. He’s skilled and poised and has been through his own tough early years, but he’s no domineering alpha sort. He’s not afraid of strong, capable women and respects Spring to death even her wish to stay unmarried and without a family. He will accept her terms to be with her. And, Spring, who had no plans beyond scratching an itch with the handsome man, soon learns what a real man is like and learns that she can have so much more if she can open herself to Garrett.
Beyond the romance, there was an exciting, gritty plot. Spring goes up against an Easterner investor who won’t take no for an answer and an old enemy who bullied and used her when she was too young and desperate to defend herself. It got exciting and had some suspenseful scenes.
The ranch town setting was added to with colorful western characters from all backgrounds. As with the earlier book, I enjoyed the details of African American history that were new to me and how it fit in with other aspects of post-Civil War history of the time. I was intrigued by the class-consciousness that the author referenced of how those who were former slaves were sometimes looked down upon by those who were born free. It was also fascinating to learn a little about life as a black sailor in the navy as well as the ‘sundown’ newspapers of the day. I’ll definitely be following up on several historical details that grabbed me.
But, for all the details, the story driving forward was the most prominent and the details enriched that story. I can’t wait to see what daring woman gets her story next though I wouldn’t be upset if she is the love interest of a certain Native American rancher-engineer… Those who love their historical western romances sensual, exciting, and authentic should give the Old West and/or Women Who Dare series a go.
I rec’d this book through Net Galley to be read in exchange for an honest review.
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About the Book
The second novel in USA Today bestselling author Beverly Jenkins’ compelling new Women Who Dare series follows a female rancher in Wyoming after the Civil War.
A reporter has come to Wyoming to do a story on doctors for his Black newspaper back east. He thinks Colton Lee will be an interesting subject…until he meets Colton’s sister Spring. She runs her own ranch, wears denim pants instead of dresses, and is the most fascinating woman he’s ever met.
But Spring, who has overcome a raucous and scandalous past, isn’t looking for, nor does she want, love. As their attraction grows, will their differences come between them or unite them for an everlasting love?
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