Kentucky Dream is one of the inexpensive Precious Gem Romances, available only at Wal-Mart. In a sense, the old adage, you get what you pay for, applies here. It has an interesting setting, but it’s a short book – about 250 pages. The last half of the book isn’t bad, but the first half is very rushed, with too much action packed into not enough space.
This book is a frontier romance, set in the 1790s when Ohio and Kentucky were the frontier. The heroine, April Williamson, was born in Kentucky, but left with her mother for Philadelphia after her father was killed by Indians. Now she is twenty and a widow, and she wants to return to her birthplace. Dan McKenzie is an army scout in charge of bringing supplies to frontier forts. When April approaches him and asks him to take her to Kentucky, he refuses. He thinks Kentucky is no place for a genteel woman like her. But April has connections to his commanding officer, and eventually he is forced to take her.
While they are on the trail, there are a series of mishaps; it seems that someone does not want the supplies to reach their destination. The supply train manages to escape any real damage, but during a final attack April and Dan are separated from the others. As they journey toward Kentucky by themselves, they give in to the feelings that they have been fighting all long, and they make love. But Dan still has a secret from his past that he doesn’t want April to find out about, and someone out there still wants him dead. On top of this, Dan is still afraid that the harsh life of a frontier woman will kill April. They need to resolve all these issues before they can be happy together.
This book has an interesting setting, and the research behind it is solid. If you like road romances with a lot of action and adventure, but you’re tired of the more common 1880s frontier setting, then you might enjoy Kentucky Dream. The problems with the book are mainly tied to the length. When a short book has a lot going on in its pages, then something has to give. In this case, character development suffers the most. Dan and April are both interesting and likable characters, but most of the falling-in-love process, which should appear during the first half of the book, gets glossed over. Without spending any real time together, they just suddenly realize they are in love. The how or why of it is never really explained. Once April and Dan do realize they are in love, the book takes a turn for the better. For a short book, it has quite a few love scenes, and they’re well-written.
So while it’s not the best book in the world, it’s not bad either. If you enjoy short romances or you’d like to try an unusual setting, you could do worse. After all, the price is right. Whether it’s worth your time is another matter.