All I Need Is You
This book, a sequel to A Heart So Wild, started out fun despite its flaws. Unfortunately, the action started to wear thin after a while, and the ending was dragged out because of miscommunications. I hope you’ll forgive me if I call it a “mixed saddlebag.”
Because of an argument with her parents, Casey Straton runs away from home and becomes a bounty hunter in order to prove herself to them. While on the trail, she meets Damian Rutledge III, an eastern businessman on the trail of his father’s murderer. Like most everyone else, Damian thinks Casey is a boy, and she makes no attempt to change his mind. Eventually, Damian hires Casey to help him find his father’s killer. At first, the contrast between crafty bounty hunter and stuffy tenderfoot adds a lot of humor to the novel. Once Damian finds out that Casey is a woman, though, they fall prey to the usual cliche misunderstandings.
When Casey and Damian find the killer, their adventures aren’t as fun anymore. The novel started to drag, perhaps because the events seemed repetitious. Between Casey’s meddling parents and a superfluous subplot involving Damian’s estranged mother, the conclusion became even more muddled. I felt as though an extra ending had been tacked on.
When I started this novel, I thought, “Great! A heroine who’s at home on the trail. At least she won’t shriek each time she sees a scorpion.” Yet for all her skills, Casey made some incredible lapses in judgment. For example, Casey rode into a town knowing there was going to be a bank robbery soon, but didn’t tell the sheriff because she wanted the reward money. Then suddenly, shots rang out, and innocent people were killed. How did Casey react? She blamed Damian for the deaths because he slowed her progress to the town. This was just one of many scenes in which Casey seemed very childish.
At times, Damian’s actions seemed foolish, too. He came West to track down a criminal, but never thought of learning how to ride a horse or shoot a six-shooter. He wore fancy clothes, though this made him an obvious target for ruffians. And, after he hired Casey, he kept giving her orders about how they would travel. Never mind that she had lived in the West all her life; now that he was her employer, he suddenly knew everything.
These main characters suffered from an incredible lack of communication. After their first love scene, they didn’t talk about what had happened. Naturally, each thought this meant that the other didn’t care. They carried their communication problems with them for the rest of the book, which soured the experience for me.
Now and then, the book had viewpoint problems. There was some head hopping, especially during the first scene. Also, author intrusion detracted from some scenes. In the middle of a scene told from Casey’s viewpoint, the reader was told that one of the outlaws would form a new gang in the future. How did Casey know this now? Was she psychic?
I’ve enjoyed Johanna Lindsey’s books in the past, so this one was a disappointment for me. If you’ve enjoyed her more recent books, you might not mind this one. But I’d recommend reading some of her older books instead.