Five Books Everyone Should Read is a new feature we’re running in 2015. We’ve asked some of our favorite authors, readers and bloggers to share five books that touched them or have stayed with them throughout the years.
Rowena: Please welcome Dear Author’s Jane Litte to Book Binge today as she shares with us, the five books she holds near and dear to her heart. The books that she thinks everyone should read. Thanks for joining us today, Jane. 🙂
I’m so excited to share with my five favorite Westerns. There’s something about the West setting that I love. It might be all the Louis L’Amour novels I read as a kid or the John Wayne movies I watched with my father, but the Western has a huge amount of romantic appeal to me.
1) Julie Garwood, Prince Charming. After years of writing stories about titled lords, both in the medieval time period and the regency time period, Garwood took a detour west. Way west. She wrote For the Roses and more stories about the Clayborne brothers but I particularly enjoyed Prince Charming. The hero, Lucas, is stoic and close mouthed whereas the heroine is a classic Garwood–a bit clumsy with a big heart. My favorite scene is where Lucas is telling her that the west is too rough for her and she takes out her gun and shoots a snake’s head off and calmly goes back to arguing with Lucas!
2) Jo Goodman, Never Love a Lawman. There are so many great Westerns written by Jo Goodman that it’s hard to pick just one. Her stories are more languorous, delicious and rich, but something that tastes better drawn out like the soft drawl of a southern cowboy murmuring in your ear. Never Love a Lawman is a slow unfolding of a story about Rachel Bailey and Wyatt Cooper set in Reidsville, Colorado, 1882. The story is primarily about the two characters falling in love. Wyatt is very capable and at the point in Rachel’s life, where she has had to shoulder all the responsibility with very little reward, it’s just what Rachel needs. Rachel is starchy enough to challenge Wyatt’s complacency and stands up to him where most people will not. The townspeople defer to Wyatt not just because of his position but of how he carries himself, how he unconsciously demands respect and obedience. “People think you walk on water.” Rachel says to him at one point but Wyatt angrily retorts “Well, I damn well don’t” because he doesn’t want to be that person with her.
3) Claudia Dain, A Kiss to Die For. This book is set in Abilene Kansas which was pretty far west back in the day. Anne Ross is a shy, proper young lady who falls for Jack Skull, a bounty hunter. During this period, bounty hunters were reviled and some even believe that Jack is the serial killer he claims he is hunting. The small town of Abilene Texas is as much a character as Anne and Jack where something as innocuous as a kiss on the train platform ends up having the two practically engaged to be married by the end of the gossip train. There is wonderful sly humor that permeates the book and provides an excellent offset to the dark theme.
4) Johanna Lindsey’s Savage Thunder is terribly unPC today. The hero is referred to as a half-breed and, of course, there is that title with the word “savage” in it. The hero’s name is Colt Thunder and yes, he is named after the gun. But the story itself is quite progressive. Colt is a man of mixed heritage, part Cheyenne and part Anglo. He doesn’t fit into either world. When he meets the titled English heroine, Jocelyn Fleming, he constantly reminds her of this. Jocelyn doesn’t care. She sees a hot man, wants to have sex with him, and pursues him in a funny, unrelenting, gentle way until Colt finally succumbs. He’s an uber alpha but Jocelyn matches his mettle. This Western has stage coach rides, sex on a horse, and, of course, gunfights!
5) Victoria Dahl, Wicked West. This novella packs a huge punch. Lily Anders arrives in Wyoming to take possession of a house bequeathed to her by her brother. She sets up shop as a seamstress. Next door to her is Tom Hale, the stuffy upright town sheriff. Tom has a secret that he doesn’t want anyone to know about–he enjoys a certain type of sex and his bedroom activities drove his wife away. He tries to sublimate his desires but Lily somehow sees right through this. When the two finally give in to their desires, the pure pleasure and happiness the characters experience leaves the reader with a very good book feeling.
Rowena: Thanks for stopping by Jane and for sharing some of your favorite books with us. See you next week, everyone! 🙂