Judith’s review of Wildflower by Virginia Brown.
Colorado Kate — as notorious for her lovers as she was for her robberies. No man had ever taken her prisoner and if she had her way, no one ever would. But when she found herself looking into the relentless black eyes of infamous gunslinger Jake Lassiter, Caitlin knew her luck had run out. There was no mercy in his chiseled face, no softness in his rock hard body. Despite her reputation she had never known a man, and she was stunned by the wave of desire that rose within her at Jake’s heated caress. The green-eyed renegade was desperate to escape, but flames of passion held her body captive and left her yearning for the dangerous touch of the dark and ruthless lawman!
He’s a legendary gunslinger working for the powerful business baron she intends to bring down. When he takes her captive, desire makes a prisoner of them both.
Behold . . . a re-released version of a novel that made its initial appearance twenty years ago, complete with a beautiful new cover–much better than the old cover, IMHO. What’s more gorgeous than a ripped cowboy, anyway.
So we have this a brother and sister–both leaders of a notorious gang of train robbers, taking silver shipments that come from only one mine–the one that was originally owned by their dad and mom and which was stolen from them when the present owner shot and killed them while these two siblings (just little kids at the time) watched helplessly. Now they are grown and determined to do their best to bring this greedy evil man down. Neither Kate nor her brother planned on being bested by a wiley gunslinger turned bounty hunter for the very man they hated. And as their situation goes “south,” the sort-of relationship of Kate and Jake begins. Jake is not really a very nice person, and having an outlaw woman in his custody, not realizing that she is a complete sexual innocent, means that readers will endure a scene or two that is unsavory but totally historically real. Rape was seldom considered a crime law enforcement officers often being as cruel and without conscience as the outlaws where women were concerned. The Old West was definitely not kind to any female of any age. It was not a good time to be born a female. Yet as this adversarial relationship continues on, the deeper layers of both these people are revealed. I have to say that it is always satisfying to realize that there really are good guys that are far smarter than seemingly clever law breakers.
This novel is really well-written and as the story progresses it is not the kind of crisis resolution that one would expect. In fact, I was fairly certain that this was going to be one of those stories that didn’t turn out very well at all. Yet I was surprised pleasantly and as I went back to familiarize myself with aspects of the story, I was pleased at how the author developed the characters, at the hidden layers of Jake’s personality and background that were brought to light, and at the struggles and triumphs as Kate faces herself, her own demons, and her need to really grow beyond her grief and pain.
Twenty years have not dimmed the sheen on this fine novel and I am delighted that the publishers decided to make it available to readers again. It’s well-worth the effort to read and appreciate. I find that I am especially glad when I see publishers re-releasing treasures that deserve to be appreciated by new audiences, and I think this book it one of those. I had moments when I was uncomfortable with the actions of Jake and some of the other characters, but when thinking further on these, I realized that the Old West was a very unfriendly place, an environment where disrespect, greed, irresponsibility, and gratuitous violence thrived. I recommend this novel, but also add the recommendation that the reader keep a careful eye on the historical context. I give it a rating of 4 out of 5.
This book is available from Belle Books. You can buy it here
in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.