Tag: Catherine Anderson

Throwback Thursday Review: Star Bright by Catherine Anderson

Posted July 18, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 5 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Star Bright by Catherine AndersonReviewer: Casee
Star Bright by Catherine Anderson
Series: Kendrick/Coulter/Harrigan #9
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: January 6, 2009
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 438
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Series Rating: four-stars

New York Times bestselling author Catherine Anderson presents an emotionally compelling story about the hard as nails, fiercely loyal Harrigan family...

Faking her own death to escape her murderous husband, Rainie Hall takes refuge in the rural community of Crystal Falls, Oregon, where she starts work as a bookkeeper on a horse ranch run by rugged, dangerously good-looking Parker Harrigan.   Parker's word is his honor, and he can't tolerate liars. When he realizes that Rainie hasn't been truthful with him, he's furious, then concerned. Clearly she's a woman in trouble and if she'll trust him, he'll do right by her. But as their attraction blossoms into a deep and thrilling passion, Rainie fears that her mere presence could jeopardize everything the Harrigan family holds dear...

*** Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy! ***
This review was originally posted on Mar 17, 2009.

I’ve always enjoyed Catherine Anderson’s books. They are always family oriented stories that just bring me a happy feelin’. This book starts off with Rainie Hall fakin’ her own death, so it basically grabs you from the beginnin’. Rainie knows that her husband plans on killin’ her on the cruise that he’s disguised as a vacation for the two of them, so she makes her own plans to disappear.

Landin’ in Crystal Falls, Oregon, Lainie finds a job as Parker Harrigan’s ranch workin’ as a bookkeeper. She sees right away that her boss is someone that values the truth more than anythin’ and is terrified of what will happen when he finds out that she’s not who he thinks she is. Her fears turn out to be well founded. Parker does not accept her lies very well. When he realizes that she has left an abusive relationship, he can’t get rid of her like he planned to. In fact, with each passin’ day, he finds himself more and more attractive to the elusive Rainie.

Rainie doesn’t find it easy to trust, especially a man. Yet she finds that she’s slowly beginnin’ to trust him as the days go by and Parker befriends her without expectin’ anything else. Still, she’s scared that she’ll make as bad of a choice as she did marryin’ her husband, Peter. Not to mention that she knows that he’s lookin’ for her and won’t give up until he finds her.

The best part of this book was seein’ Rainie discover herself again. It took a long time for her to accept that she wasn’t at fault for her disastrous marriage. It takes time, but she realizes that Parker isn’t anythin’ like Peter. Not only will he never hurt her, but he helps her take her self-confidence back, somethin’ that she thought could never happen. The romance unfolded slowly between these two, which worked. I think the book was more about Rainie findin’ her self-confidence and gettin’ her self-worth back than it was about romance. In order to get in a relationship with Parker, she had to get past her demons and learn to trust a man.

There was one thing in this book that drove me bat-shit crazy. Parker drops his “g’s”. It was so annoying and would take me out of the book which made me insane. It’s not that he was an uneducated hick, he just embraces his roots more than most. Still, I couldn’t effing stand it.

3.75 out of 5


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Throwback Thursday Review: Summer Breeze by Catherine Anderson

Posted October 18, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Throwback Thursday Review: Summer Breeze by Catherine AndersonReviewer: Holly
Summer Breeze (Keegan-Paxton #3) by Catherine Anderson
Series: Keegan-Paxton #3
Publisher: Signet
Publication Date: January 3, 2006
Format: Print
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Historical Romance, Westerns
Pages: 421
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Series Rating: five-stars

The year is 1889, and Rachel Hollister hasn't set foot outside her house in five years. Ever since a savage attack left her family dead, she's cordoned herself off from the outside world, afraid to let anyone into her home—or into her heart. But now trouble has appeared on her doorstep—and suddenly she has no choice but to let a handsome rancher invade her well-guarded existence ...

Confirmed bachelor Joseph Paxton grudgingly offers to take up temporary residence at the Hollister ranch—even though it's obvious Rachel doesn't want his protection. But once he catches a glimpse of his beautiful young ward and her remarkable spirit, he'll do anything to break through the dark spell that's walled off her heart. It may take a miracle, but he's determined to make her see the refuge he's offering in his embrace—and the splendor that exists beyond her front door. Otherwise he'll just have to build a safe haven big enough for the both of them ...

Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy!

While looking through old posts I came across this one for Summer Breeze by Catherine Anderson. I remember the warm, sweet feeling I was left with after I finished this book. I’m not sure it would work as well for me if I read it now, but it will always hold a special place in my heart.

This review was originally published August 7, 2006

What an amazing love story.

We all fear something. Whether we have a true phobia – such as my fear of ‘S’ words (don’t ask) – or just something that makes us break out in goosebumps, we all know what it’s like to be afraid of something.

Rachel Hollister’s fear is that of being in an open space. Her family was brutally murdered right in front of her while they were out for a picnic. As a result, she hasn’t stepped outside her home in five years.

Her faithful friend, the elderly Darby, has done everything in his power to make her a sanctuary inside her home. He barricaded all the windows and doors and converted her kitchen into as comfortable a place as possible for her.

Though Rachel knows her fears are irrational, they’re there all the same, and she can’t overcome them. She refuses to leave her small kitchen for any reason, and can’t even open a door or window to allow sunlight in. For five long years she lived in absolute silence, with no natural light.

To keep herself occupied, she read books and crocheted. She spoke with Darby through the door of her home and that was the only company she had.

Until Darby is shot in the back and manages to ride to the neighboring Paxton ranch in search of help. Joseph Paxton finds him and promises to look after Rachel. Darby is convinced his being shot has something to do with the murder of Rachel’s family and fears for her safety.

As Joseph breaks into Rachel’s home, he expects to find a crazy young woman, and instead encounters a lovely creature he’s immediately taken with. He comes to realize that Rachel isn’t crazy at all, only frightened.

Watching this story unfold has been a wonderful experience for me. Seeing Joseph do everything in his power to make Rachel’s world one filled with sunlight and birdsong really touched me.

Since Rachel’s fear is based on open spaces, Joseph hits upon the idea of installing metal doors with bars on them so she can enjoy the sunlight and still feel enclosed. Then one of the town’s populace hits upon the idea of building her a stone-walled courtyard with an iron-work ceiling so it’s completely enclosed, therefore allowing Rachel to be outside. They called it:

“Sunshine for Rachel.”

Watching Rachel emerge from her self-imposed prison and into the sunshine for the first time in five years made my heart swell and my eyes sting with tears. Joseph’s reaction to Rachel in the sunshine touched me more deeply than any other tender moment in a romance novel. I could feel their emotions as she turned her face to the sun for the first time in so many years.

She was halfway across the courtyard before it struck her that she was outside. Oh, God, outside. She staggered to a stop, frozen in her tracks. Her heart pounded violently. But nothing else happened. She could still breathe. She just felt a little dizzy and disoriented. “Joseph?”
“You’re fine, sweetheart. You’ve got walls all around you. Look at them. Name me anything that can go through that rock.”
She let her head fall back to put her face up to the sun. The gentle warmth on her skin was beyond wonderful. She held her arms wide and turned again, filling her lungs with fresh, cool morning air.

Joseph asks Rachel to marry him and the following scene is so touching. Rachel refuses him, saying she can’t have a family living the way she does.

“What would I do? Push them out the wood safe to see them off to school?” She gestured with her free hand the encompass the kitchen. “A family can’t live in one room.”
“I’ll make it work,” he whispered. “I swear to you, darlin’. I can make it work. No hallways to frighten you, just a big room like this with water closets all around, only they’ll be bedrooms, with you in the big room, living as you do now, never needing to go outside unless it’s to sit in your courtyard or work in your flower beds.”

The murder of her family was left unsolved all those years ago, and Joseph and his lawman brother David set out to find the missing pieces of the puzzle, hoping to keep Rachel safe and finally give her closure.

The story was sweet and amazing and one of the most touching I’ve read in a long time. It’s not very often that you read a murder-mystery that’s sweet and compelling as well.

I’ll leave you with my favorite quote from the book. Something Joseph said to Rachel that touched my heart.

When I first met you, I thought I was opening up the world for you, but I was so wrong. You were the one who opened up all of my windows so I could see the beauty beyond the glass.

5 out of 5



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Guest Review: Coming Up Roses by Catherine Anderson

Posted February 24, 2016 by Judith in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Coming Up Roses by Catherine AndersonReviewer: Judith
Coming Up Roses by Catherine Anderson
Publisher: Signet
Publication Date: May 1st 2012
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1890, Oregon. Recently widowed Kate Blakely is struggling to make ends meet on her small farm while trying to heal from the scars of her late husband’s cruelty. When her handsome, brawny neighbor, Zachariah McGovern, almost dies while saving her four-year-old daughter from a near fatal accident, Kate is deeply wary of the man she brings into her home to nurse back to health.

Gradually Kate realizes that underneath Zach’s rough exterior is a gentle, loving soul who is fiercely protective of her and her daughter. But as much as Zach longs for Kate’s love, she knows she can’t open her heart without revealing her darkest secret—a shocking truth that, if discovered, could destroy them both.

This novel was first released in 1993 but was re-issued with a new look and some re-editing in 2012.  It was a book I read many years ago but having just been re-introduced to it I felt it was worth bringing it to the attention of romance readers and especially those who liked historical romance set in 19th century America.

Ms Anderson is very open about the fact that this novel was originally written because of her social concern regarding abused women and children and the historical reality that still exists in American society that women bring such abuse upon themselves.  It is her continuing concern that those who have the training to counsel such women often have prejudice against the very victims they should be helping.  The historical context of this story is such that help for abuse victims just simply didn’t exist and after being abused by parents and/or spouses these same women and children were held up to further abuse by society itself.  Such was the case of the widow whose story unfolds in this novel.  Given in marriage to what turned out to be an emotionally and mentally unbalanced man by her concerned uncle, Katherine Blakely lived in hell for five years until her husband’s accidental death.  Because her husband had hidden his abuse behind words of defamation of Katherine as a “weak-minded, hysterical” female, her efforts to flee his abuse were thwarted time and again.  She was dead set against ever marrying again when her neighbor Zachariah McGovern came into her life and saved her daughter’s life when the little girl fell down a dry well that was populated by an entire colony of rattle snakes.  An extended time of nursing Mr. McGovern back to health literally from the brink of death meant that these two individuals had time to take each other’s measure and their lives slowly became involved.  However, her brother-in-law, Ryan Blakely, a man who is just as unbalanced as his dead brother, continues to make Katherine’s life a fear-filled and difficult thing.

This is a truly wonderful read.  There is no way a reader can be exposed to these characters without feeling their anxiety, fear, sense of hopelessness, even their glimmers of hope that possibly there was a new beginning for them.  Yet it seems that life continually smacked them down and readers will be experiencing those disappointments right along with Kathering, Zach, and her daughter.  There are unexpected developments and twists and turns in this story that keep the reader well involved in the story.  There is never the sense that it is all unrealistic.  A careful study of this time will support the happenings here and readers will catch a good look of what it was like to live in 19th century Oregon as a widow with a small child.  Their sense of safety, their legal rights were almost non-existent.  It is these realities that make this story so riveting along with Zach McGovern’s absolute determination to protect and be a part of Katherine and her daughter’s life.

If you haven’t read this story before, it is one all historical romance lovers need to read.  It you read this novel previously, it needs to be re-read.  It is a wonderful piece of writing, a story well told, and people worth meeting.  It is, quite simply, a splendid read.

I give it a rating of 5 out of 5


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Guest Review: Perfect Timing by Catherine Anderson

Posted March 4, 2013 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments

Lynda’s review of Perfect Timing (Kendrick/Coulter/Harrigan #11) by Catherine Anderson

Catherine Anderson is kind of a guilty pleasure for me. All her heroines are strong and resilient, but they usually need saving in some way (blind, paraplegic, abused and on the run, etc.) I’m one of those readers who likes that sort of thing, so it totally works for me. Are they OMG THE BEST THING I’VE READ ALL YEAR? No. Am I going to keep an eye out for more of her stuff because they’re enjoyable reads? Yes.

Perfect Timing surprised me. It’s a time-travel book. I KNOW! Can you believe that?! Don’t worry. No real spoilers. In fact, we find out about this in the first 15 pages or so. I have to admit I almost put the book down in the first chapter. I’m not a fan of Time Travel story lines. Usually they spend too much time “teaching” the traveler the ways of the time period, and it becomes more about the silliness of learning a new culture and less about the relationship between the characters. That and I’m too literal minded. I have too many questions about the consequences of time travel to really believe. And if I’m not totally invested in a book and completely believe THIS CAN HAPPEN, then I get bored or too distracted and I won’t enjoy the book. Interestingly, I had fewer reservations about Ceara’s “skills” than with the time travel.

Luckily, Quincy believes her story pretty quickly, so we get past the whole “Yeah, sure you’re from another time. Uh-huh” debate early on. Now he believes her, so now he trusts her. We have the beginning of a relationship. Next, she adapts fairly quickly. There are a few moments of silliness (the madrigals trapped in the car for example), but on the whole, she jumps into this century pretty eagerly. There is enough family that they can take her in hand and get her up to speed, so to speak, without too much trouble.

Our feisty, time-traveling heroine Ceara has come forward from 1574 in order to break a curse. This is the part that really rang false for me. This sudden and inexplicable “curse” that kills the first wives of all the family’s men. Really? You would think at some point between 1574 and 2013 SOMEONE would have noticed this trend. It seemed to me Ms. Anderson was looking for a reason to do a time travel book, and came up with this because she could force it to fit the story. I understand the urgency in why Ceara and Quincy get married, and why Quincy needs to hurry up, but the family also needed to cut him a little slack. They were sacrificing one girl’s future as well as Quincy’s in order to save Loni. I thought there should have been more fallout from that whole situation, instead of just a quick apology significantly later in the book.

I was happy to see the religious aspect of things toned down a little. It’s still there, but not quite as heavy handed as it was in Morning Light and a few other more recent books by Ms. Anderson. There were a few mentions, but it felt more natural to the story and less like the author proselytizing.

On the whole, this book was less about the time travel aspect than it was about Ceara and Quincy finding their way together through their marriage, and the various land mines they have to navigate. Everything from getting Ceara an identity and the legalities of their marriage, to her homesickness and her loss of certain skills she needs to learn to live without. It made the book far more interesting and romantic than if the focus had been on time travel. At the end of the day I liked Ceara and Quincy quite a bit, and I’m glad I didn’t put it down.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

You can read more from Lynda at Fish With Sticks and Wicked Lil Pixie

This book is available from Signet. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.

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