The Pride of Jared MacKade
The MacKade brothers of Antietam, Maryland, says the back cover of The Pride of Jared MacKade, are “Looking for trouble – and always finding it. Now they’re on a collision course with love.” Truer words have never been spoken. This second book in the quartet was somewhat better than the first, and I have strong hopes for the remaining installments.
Jared MacKade is the most worldly and sophisticated brother. He’s been married and divorced – his ex-wife and he shared both a “civilized” divorce and a bland marriage. He doesn’t know it, but Savannah Morningstar and her son Bryan are about to become the most important part of his world.
Savannah and Jared could be mirror images, in reverse, of Rafe and Regan, lead characters of The Return of Rafe MacKade. Savannah’s a hell-raiser while Jared is far more refined. And yet, Jared is no dandy – he can mix it up with his brothers as easily as he could sip cognac. He’s equally at home in lawyerly finery in a courtroom as he is in jeans mucking out the stalls in the family barn.
The immediate chemistry Jared and Savannah share is strengthened by their ties to the mystical and ghostly presence of the MacKade land. Savannah’s come up the hard way, and wants to be accepted by the good townspeople. She can’t imagine she’d be good enough for Jared. Jared accepts that he wants to make her his own, but her background bothers him just enough to cause trouble.
The family relationships are wonderful in this book, both those of Jared and his brothers, and the growing relationship between Jared and Savannah’s son Bryan. There’s a moment between these two that rivals in intensity any scene I’ve read before:
“But Bryan didn’t know for sure how things were done between men. He knew what to do when his mother offered him something wonderful, something he’d hardly dared to dream of but had wished for hard, really hard, at night. So, in the end, that was what he did.
“Jared found his arms full of boy.
“The breath Jared had been holding whistled out in almost painful relief. Have a cigar, he thought giddily, you’ve got yourself a son.”
Jared and Savannah’s relationship is wonderfully complex, and Savannah’s character has to come a long way before she can accept what Jared offers. Jared too, while the more consistent character, has to deal with the reality that Savannah is not someone he would have chosen to love. In the end, each must accept what the other truly is.
How this all comes about and how they finally come together makes riveting reading. Author Roberts manages to bring the secondary characters to life and continues the progression of a sub-plot begun in the first book, The Return of Rafe MacKade.
This book nearly earned Desert Isle Keeper status from me; indeed, the series as a whole might earn it after I’ve read the remaining two books, but Savannah’s attitude toward the man who fathered her son didn’t ring quite true. And since this precipitated the climax of the story, it’s too important an issue to just set aside. But everything else in the story worked wonderfully, and I heartily recommend this book. It’s rather hard to find, and I hope Silhouette will see fit to reprint the series as they are doing with some other of Nora’s family series.