Well, I have to say that I liked Ward better than I liked Jake, but this series still lacks the spark of the Seven Brides series. I feel like I’m going to harp here but again, Ward lacks tension; it lacks some real interest to get things going, and this does not bode well for The Cowboys. On the other hand, this book has a great relationship between Ward and his wife, Marina, and two villains that a person will truly hate – Ward’s rottenly evil mother, and his spoiled, rotten-to-the-core brother, Ramon.
This story begins where Jake left off, a year or so down the road with Isabelle expecting her first child. Ward had married Marina before he went off to fight in the Civil War. But, due to interference from his family, he left his bride of one day, under the misperception that Marina had been carrying on an affair with Ramon.
Seven years later, Marina finally catches up with Ward to ask him for a divorce, and she brings along his six-year-old son, Tanner, whom Ward wrongly believes belongs to Ramon. The remainder of the book is Marina trying to convince Ward that she was faithful to him, never slept with Ramon, and does not want to remain his wife. She wants a stable home life for Tanner and is willing to marry a man she doesn’t love to give Tanner a father. Once Ward comes to accept that Tanner is his, of course, he’s willing to stay married and have a family life with his wife and son.
Again, this story could have been so much more, but at least it kept my interest up more than Jake’s story did. Unfortunately, I may have been asleep at the wheel but I don’t remember one love scene in the whole book. I’m sure there was one towards the end, I just don’t remember it. What does that say? Again, I think Leigh could have made better use of his word count – there wasn’t enough tension either in the book or in the relationship between Ward and Marina. As well, there was a lot of reliance on the “old argument thing” to build tension. I think that Leigh has much more in him, and should be able to find other ploys to build the tension between the hero and heroine. Also, if you don’t get all the boys straightened out in Jake, you’re still left wondering a bit about who’s who in Ward – I think Willie and Pete were brothers, but I’m not certain, and I was too lazy to check in Jake.
I do believe, though, that Ward is a better read than Jake. The storyline gave a few more answers to questions I had when reading Jake, so my belief that other books in the series would answer outstanding questions, was right on the money.
As for the villains, there’s really nothing worse than a man (Ramon) who believes that every woman will fall in love with him and he can’t understand when one doesn’t drop to the ground to kiss his feet. That’s Ward’s brother, pure and simple. I hated him; I never changed my mind on this issue, and if there was anybody I hated even more, it was their mother. She was the personification of that word that rhymes with “witch” right to the very last page.
This book is a decent, rainy Sunday afternoon story for me but definitely not a keeper. I keep thinking that Leigh has lost a spark with this series, and I’m hoping that somewhere he and I will find that spark again. I definitely miss it, and am wondering what happened between the Seven Brides and The Cowboys to have made the spark go away.
|Review Date:||April 8, 1998|
|Book Type:||American Historical Romance | Frontier/Western Hist Romance|
|Review Tags:||American Civil War | Frontier Romance | Frontier/Western Historical Romance | Reconstruction era | The Cowboys series | Western romance|