Duncan's Bride by Linda Howard
Series: Patterson-Cannon Family #1
Publisher: Mira Books
Publication Date: 1998-06
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Reese Duncan wanted a wife, pure and simple. Someone to have children with, someone to help him rebuild his ranch, someone uncomplicated...and someone very different from his first wife, the woman who'd destroyed his life. But he hadn't bargained on Madelyn Patterson. She was sophisticated and citified, and she was willing to herd cattle, keep house and start a family with Reese. The only thing she asked for in return was love - the one thing Reese refused to guarantee.
Linda Howard has always been a favorite of mine. I’ve read everything she’s written and I can honestly say there are very few books out of the 40 some she’s written that I didn’t absolutely love.
Duncan’s Bride is no exception.
G. Reese Duncan made a huge mistake when he married a city girl he thought he loved, and paid dearly for the mistake when she divorced him and took half of everything he had. Since then he’s been trying to rebuild his Montana cattle ranch. He decides he needs a wife, but doesn’t want any messy affairs of the heart, so he places an ad in the newspaper for one.
Of the three or four responses he gets, only Madelyn Patterson sets his blood to boiling. He doesn’t want to pick her, because she seems to be just like his ex-wife and he knows he’ll get too close to her. But in the end, he can’t seem to stop himself.
Madelyn takes one look at the sexy cowboy and seems to fall madly in love with him. She knows it won’t be easy teaching this hardheaded cowboy to love, but she’s determined to try. The problem? Reese is so suspicious of everything she does, and so determined to keep her from putting any kind of claim on his ranch, he can’t see that Maddie is nothing like his ex-wife.
I love Maddie. She has got to be one of my favorite romance heroines of all time. Reese isn’t the best husband in the beginning, always mistrustful and suspicious and domineering. But she always stands her ground and refuses to let him walk all over her. She was smart and witty and had a back bone of steel. Although she did her best to prove to Reese she wasn’t his ex-wife, when he refused to listen, when he turned stubborn over the ranch, she stood up for herself and decided she needed to teach Reese a lesson. I love that in a heroine, don’t you? Too many times in storylines like these we’re told the heroine is strong and independent, but shown that she’s just too stupid to live. Not so with Maddie. She refused to compromise who she really was for Reese and did what was right even knowing he’d be furious with her.
Now, you would think I wouldn’t like Reese, because of how high-handed he was with Maddie, but that just isn’t the case. I loved Reese. He’s the typical Howard alpha hero who can’t see the forest for the trees. But Maddie confuses him. He knows she’s just like his ex-wife, but oddly enough, she doesn’t act like her. She dresses like she’s just stepped off a runway, but cleans house faster than anyone he’s ever met, and cooks better than the professional chef he used to employ, and is willing – no, eager – to ride out on the range with him. I love that every time he puts her in a pigeonhole, she’d do something and he’d have to re-evaluate. But still, he refuses to see what’s right in front of him. At times I wanted to smack him, but I can’t honestly say I blame him. Especially considering the raw deal he got from his first wife.
I love that there isn’t an outside conflict in this book. Or not one that takes a major role. The focus remains on the characters, and the struggles they face to overcome past hurts and learn to love one another. Although the story is on the darker side, there’s humor throughout. Including some truly laugh-out-loud moments.
This is such a fabulous story! Highly recommended!
4.5 out of 5
This book is OOP from Mira. You can buy it used here.