I loved Lorraine Heath’s Texas Glory, heartbreaking though it was at times, so when I discovered one more book to carry on the story told by her Texas trilogy, I couldn’t wait to read it. Unfortunately, while Texas Legacy often felt like a reconnection with old friends, it didn’t quite live up to the standard set by the other three books.
Rawley Cooper, the adopted son of Dallas and Cordelia Leigh, has been away for six years, but is called back home to their ranch by a telegram. Waiting at the station for him is their daughter Faith. She was nineteen when he left, and one reason he took off was because of her crush on him. They shared a kiss before he left, but did nothing more. So it’s a shock for him to find that Faith is now a single mother.
Her parents are wonderfully non-judgmental and supportive (I loved them even more for that) but although she says very little about what happened, it’s clear to Rawley that she’s gone through a lot. He settles back into life among the sprawling Leigh clan, and rekindles his relationship with Faith, who is now older and more mature.
And… that’s about it, storywise. There’s a development thrown in at the end that any reader will see coming from a mile away, but the plot had no real complexity.
Nor were the characters especially memorable. I looked forward to reading Rawley’s story because he’d undergone extensive sexual abuse as a child, and Lorraine Heath writes amazing tortured heroes. Rawley is good with ranch work, he adores Faith, and he thinks he doesn’t deserve his parents’ love or even their name, but unlike the heroes of the other books in the trilogy, he doesn’t stand out. Because the plot needed him to be elsewhere for six years, he did that, and because the plot then required him to come back home and stay there, he did that too.
Faith is the same. She’s a tough, business-like rancher, but she didn’t have dreams of her own to follow, and she doesn’t live up to larger-than-life characters like her parents. I’m also not keen on the trope where people tell the heroine that the hero loves a woman who doesn’t return his feelings, so she wonders about this woman and says how stupid the woman must be (does this ever happen to heroes?). She’s finally enlightened two-thirds of the way into the story, when Rawley spells it out to her that she and Mystery Woman are one and the same.
As for her relationship with Rawley, it’s mostly smooth sailing because they get along well together, and once they tell each other about their respective pasts, they have great sex. Recovery is different for everyone, but this scene felt rushed and somewhat generic. Given the horrific nature of Rawley’s childhood, I would really have liked to discover how he got his experience regarding pleasurable and consensual sex, but no such luck. This part of the story suffered from being crammed into a novella.
And while it didn’t bother me that Rawley and Faith were raised as siblings, it might be a turnoff for some readers, so YMMV.
The book has its enjoyable moments. Rawley and Faith are good people who never express their traumas through abuse of others, and I liked seeing all of the Leigh family again, especially with the second generation taking more of a center stage in Leighton. Mentions of cars, oil, and a theater paint a historical backdrop. Texas Legacy is worth a read for fans of the trilogy, but imagining a HEA for the main characters is likely to be just as satisfying.