Thursday, April 29, 2010

Book Review: No Place for a Lady by Maggie Brendan

About the book:

Crystal Clark arrives in Colorado's Yampa Valley amid the splendor of a high country June in 1892. After the death of her father, Crystal is relieved to be leaving the troubles of her Georgia life behind to visit her aunt Kate's cattle ranch. Despite being raised as a proper Southern belle, Crystal is determined to hold her own in this wild land--even if a certain handsome foreman doubts her abilities. Just when she thinks she's getting a handle on the constant male attention from the cowhands and the catty barbs from some of the local young women, tragedy strikes the ranch. Crystal will have to tap all of her resolve to save the ranch from a greedy neighboring landowner. Can she rise to the challenge? Or will she head back to Georgia defeated?

Book one in the Heart of the West series, No Place for a Lady is full of adventure, romance, and the indomitable human spirit. Readers will fall in love with the Colorado setting and the spunky Southern belle who wants to claim it as her own.

My thoughts:

Overall, I really enjoyed Maggie Brendan's debut novel. It had a fresh quality about it that just pulled me in. I loved the descriptive language of the west, although there were a few times I wondered whether some words were even used during that time. Having nothing to go by for the time period, I just chalked it up to "I need to use my imagination." :o)

The romance in the book was dead on, so much that I got a little flutter in my chest when a kiss or the touch of a hand happened a little unexpectedly. I loved that the author told both sides of the romance story between Crystal and Luke, which is not the norm since most romances only tell the female's side of the story. Poor Luke had himself in a pretty good pickle for awhile there, and I was a little worried that he might handle things all wrong. He came through in just the right way, though, thanks a little bit to Crystal's discovery at the end of the book.

There was one thing that bothered me in the book, and I feel it's only fair to include the good with the bad in this review. This might even be considered a *SPOILER*, so you may want to stop reading here.

What bothered me was all the loss of family and friends that Crystal had to go through. In all likelihood, that probably could and has happened in real life, but I didn't enjoy reading about the deaths of several loved ones. The book starts with death--it's the reason Crystal moved from Georgia to Colorado to live with her aunt--and then about every 100 pages, another death happens. While the first one really propels the rest of the story, the other two that occur almost seemed unnecessary.

In spite of that one issue, this really was a delightful read. Western romances seem to be gaining a little bit of popularity in the Christian fiction genre, and this one is a great addition. I very much want to read Maggie's next book in the series, The Jewel of His Heart.

4 Stars

**This book was provided for me to judge for the 2010 Inspirational Reader's Choice Contest.

**Click here to purchase a copy of No Place for a Lady.

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