Tag: Virginia Brown

Guest Review: Wildest Heart by Virginia Brown

Posted June 22, 2013 by Judith in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review:  Wildest Heart by Virginia BrownReviewer: Judith
Wildest Heart (To Love an Outlaw #2) by Virginia Brown
Series: To Love an Outlaw #2
Publisher: Zebra
Publication Date: February 1st 1994
Genres: Historical Romance
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Series Rating: five-stars


Scarred by his shadowy past, Devon Conrad was the deadliest gunman in the west ... haunted by desperate memories of one woman even as he was irresistibly drawn to another...


Maggie Malone had come to cattle country to forge her future as a healer. Now she faced an outlaw wounded in body and soul ... a seductive rebel whose eyes blazed with fury even as his burning caress sent her spiraling into the darkness of her deepest desires...


They came together in the heat of a Texas town about to explode in sin and scandal. Danger was their destiny -- and there was nothing they wouldn't dare for love...

Lovers of historical romance fiction set in the 19th century American West will be delighted that Bell Bridge books have seen fit to re-release this Virginia Brown novel, first released in 1994. Devon’s story really begins in book one of this series where he and his sister known then as Colorado Kate formed the Lost Canyon Gang with their other riders, robbing trains in order to gain revenge on the man who had murdered their parents and stolen their father’s mine. Now Devon wanders the Western reaches of the American territories, known as one of the fastest guns for hire, rumored to be a man without conscience, no roots, and little interest in anyone but himself. Few realize that he carries with him an old but as-yet unhealed wound, deeply grieving the death of his young wife of only a few weeks at the hand of the very man who killed his parents. It is in pursuit of another lawless and greedy man that Devon is gravely injured and thus comes into the small and new medical practice of Dr. Maggie Malone.

This novel tells the story of a woman who is not interested in being a society grande dame, carefully sitting in her spotless parlor, drinking tea out of fragile bone china cups. She is a woman who wants to amount to something and one who makes a difference in a world where women are little more than brood mares and who exist to do the super duper pooper scooping of the world. (Not a lot has changes in some ways, eh?) She is doing so in spite of her brother’s continuous objections, a man with a temper, a rather exaggerated sense of his own importance and one who has yet to appreciate the grace and intelligence of his sister. He is especially upset when he finds out that Maggie has been treating Devon, that her patient has been staying in her little house as he is being cared for. And throughout this novel it becomes patently obvious that John Malone is not a deep thinker, that he is driven by his own ideas and prejudices, and cares little for the opinions of others, least of all a woman even though she may be his sister.

Thus, these two people, both of whom are living on the edges of polite society, find each other. Their relationship is flawed and troubled, by Maggie’s insistence on honesty and openness, by Devon’s persistent routine of just showing up, spending time with her, and then disappearing. She knows he has some painful secrets and that no matter how generous her love, Devon won’t allow himself to believe that there is ever the possibility that love and joy can be a part of his future. When Maggie’s brother forces them into a true shotgun wedding, an event that he has manipulated with lies and deceit, it appears that any chance for Devon and Maggie’s future together is over and done. Throw in some really evil plotters, rustlers, an angry fiance, and you have a colorful, rip-snorter of a novel that will be a sure fire winner all around.

I know there are many who think reading romance novels is the stuff empty headed women indulge in for lack of anything worthwhile to do. Yet here there is a lot to learn and lessons that are taught in the lives of these fictional characters, wisdom shared through the voice of an Apache renegade, “ah-ha” moments that are critical to the story, and visits with characters from the previous novel. Most of all, I think one of the important lessons here is that “no man is an island” and that there is no pain too deep, no wound too profound, that the redeeming power of love and authentic caring cannot heal.

I am so glad this novel and the one before it have been released. I think you will be glad you experienced it. I give it a rating of 4.5 out of 5.

The Series:

Book Cover Book Cover

You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.

This book is available from Bell Bridge Books. 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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Guest Review: Wildflower by Virginia Brown

Posted May 15, 2013 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments

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.
You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.
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.

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