Thursday, April 16, 2009

Reckless Love by Elizabeth Lowell *****

I find that Elizabeth Lowell's prose is a bit of an acquired taste - and that sometimes her treatment of a story can be wonderful, and the next time annoying as hell. This time I found it wonderful, even though it's over the top and there were probably a dozen times or so I wanted to bitch slap the hero (usually it's her heroines I don't like, but not this time).

I got this on audio download from the library, and I must say I really did like this narrator, Laural Merlington. I wouldn't compare her to Anna Fields, or Barbara Rosenblatt, who I think are truly incredible actors who bring the story to life. But she's good - really good - with this story. Her voice is pleasing, her characters' voices are good, distinct and consistent, and she really brought a sense of urgency to the big chase scene (no, not car chase - it's a historical western!) as well as reading the love scenes just right.

The hero is Ty Mackenzie, who has just managed to escape the gauntlet after being caught by Indians. The local "bruxa" is a white woman who lives alone in the area - Janna - and she follows him and heals his wounds while they both hide from the Indians seeking them.

Janna's father died a few years back, leaving her alone in the territory. He was a doctor, so she has healing skills, and she has also developed survival and coping skills that keep the Indians and locals away. Her only real friend is a local gold miner who shares his wealth with her because of her father. She's managed to befriend the local mustangs - and Ty was there looking for a mustang named Lucifer to start his horse ranch, make a lot of money and marry the silken lady of his dreams. AKA highborn, soft, probably rich.

Of course Janna doesn't fit this description by any stretch of the imagination - in fact for several days, he thinks she's a boy. Well, she does dress in men's clothing and binds her breasts for that very effect, as a survival mechanism, but it still pisses her off that he can't figure it out. And it pisses him off that he's attracted to this boy!

The story is about Ty getting the mustang back to his ranch, and Janna's part in it. She really doesn't want the mustang(s) caught and tamed, but she's willing to help him if he will do it her way, especially since she realizes it will mean the mustang will be well-cared for. It seems the locals and the Indians are considering killing Lucifer. And while Janna and Ty are hunting the mustang, they are also avoiding the Indians and the locals. And playing a little hanky panky too (in fine Lowell style).

Of course, Ty assumes she's not a virgin, because of talk he heard in town and also - in fine Lowell style - because of her sensual reaction to his touch, so he figures it's no big deal to seduce her. Once he realizes she is a virgin (and boinks her anyway), he decides he has to protect her or else she'll end up having to be a whore. What a broad minded guy, huh? Yeah, he's a typical Lowell historical hero. His idea of protection is to get her to town and find someone to marry her. Needless to say, she wants nothing to do with this idea.

Ty almost comes around to accepting her as she is - then at the end, he makes a complete ass of himself which requires a brotherly intervention. His brothers shoulda beat him to a pulp, but instead I think they just talk to him and he finally owns up that Janna is the woman of his dreams and he was deluded to think otherwise.

The action/adventure scenes really are edge-of-the-seat exciting, and Janna is a credible, independent heroine. I liked her retorts to Ty when she tells him exactly what he's been saying to her and how it affected her! You go, girl!

It fits the Western book of the Spring 2009 challenge and it's a series for the Serial Readers Challenge. 5 stars!

1 comment:

Kristie (J) said...

I read this one years ago when I wasn't so sensitive to jerk behaviour by the hero and really enjoyed it. I kept hoping there would be more in this series but *sigh* there never was.