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Her Hesitant Heart

3.64  ·  Rating Details  ·  436 Ratings  ·  76 Reviews
On The Frontier Of A New Life...

Tired and hungry after two days of traveling, Susanna Hopkins is just about at the end of her tether when her train finally arrives in Cheyenne. She's bound for a new life in a Western garrison town. Then she discovers she doesn't even have enough money to pay for the stagecoach! Luckily for her, the compassionate Major Joseph Randolph is h
Mass Market Paperback, 281 pages
Published April 23rd 2013 by Harlequin (first published January 1st 2013)
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Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~*
Setting: 1875 Wyoming Territory
3 1/2 stars

Now,what's better than a cowboy Hero? Of course a soldier Hero! Susanna Hopkins is a divorcee looking for a home and a second chance, which she hopes to find at Fort Laramie as the new school teacher. But,to save face her cousin lies and says that Susanna is a war widow. The only one who knows the truth is the fort's post surgeon, widower Major Joseph Randolph,who becomes her only friend and supporter. But..alas forts are like small towns, and lies are s
Cover art is no biggie to me. I have read good stories that I have tagged 'shoot the cover'. I have also been mesmerized by awesome artwork on the outside but the story fell flat. This is one of those rare times when I can give a Harlequin five stars. And in this case the book cover was accurate window-dressing. The depiction of a proper young woman wiping her glasses at a train station was a good entrance to this romance.

HER HESITANT HEART is a gentle story with damaged characters that help eac

As with all Carla Kelly books this is skillfully written and loaded with historical fact, this one centers around Fort Laramie during the times of the Great Sioux War and (view spoiler) The romance revolves around an Army surgeon and a divorced teacher. Lots of really grim historical medical accounts and the ending is super ambiguous, not for Joe and Suzie who actually have quite a lovely HEA but for all (view spoiler)
Erica Anderson
I've read just about everything that Carla Kelly has ever published. And I feel more than a little disloyal saying that her heroes and heroines are starting to sound the same to me. As any Kelly fan knows, historical setting is her forte. That's as true for My Hesitant Heart, as it is for her Peninsular-set Napoleonic Regencies. In this novel, Kelly moves to Fort Laramie, Wyoming, where the divorced heroine, Susanna, goes to start over.

Susanna is a classic Kelly heroine--she has been brutalized
May 03, 2013 Joy rated it really liked it
Why I love Carla Kelly--she shows you don't need to be a dominating alpha or a jerk to be a real man. This charming love story set in Fort Laramie during the Indian wars is about a woman who has divorced her abusive husband and attempts a new start as an Army schoolteacher, and the surgeon who takes her under his wing. There is an absolutely awesome supporting character, and several subplots that would make interesting books in themselves I suspect. The ending is kind of abrupt, but given the re ...more
Sep 16, 2014 kate rated it liked it
I like carla kelly but to me she has one flaw in her books. the men are always crying. in this book she has a 12 year old boy sit on his stepfather's lap and cry. I'm sorry but I don't know one 12year old boy that would sit on another man's lap. and I don't know one man who would let it happen. especially since they only knew each other a few days. bizarre. it makes me hesitate to buy her books when I know somewhere along the line the hero will burst out in tears.
Ok I have a few books by Carla Kelly, 8 to be exact. This book however was just ok. I am an adult and when I read a romance I want an author to write for an adult. It seems to me that Ms. Kelly wrote Her Hesitant Heart for a 15 year old and not a woman with over 30 years of romance readings.
I found nothing wrong with the story just the passion between the H and h, there was none. Long soulful looks and hand touching just is not believable when you have the two main characters in the story having
Oct 07, 2013 Dorothea rated it it was ok
If Her Hesitant Heart were by a Harlequin Historical author I hadn't heard of, and I'd found and read it at random, I'd feel pretty lucky. It's technically better written than most Harlequins I've read, the secondary characters actually feel like real people, and the romance is written against the grain of the overpowering-alpha-male-all-but-forces-the-heroine-into-love-with-him narrative that's still way too common in the genre.

But the author is Carla Kelly, and I've come to expect all that fro
Fantastic book. I was drawn into the story from the beginning. I really liked both Susanna and Joe as characters. Susanna has come to the West to start her life over. She fled her abusive husband who then divorced her accusing her of abandoning their son. Divorced women are not treated well during this time period and Susanna has a miserable time of it. She meets Joe when he gives her a ride back to the fort. Her cousin lives there too and has told people that Susanna is a widow not divorced whi ...more
May 14, 2013 Denise rated it really liked it
I never read romances set in the west, but this is Carla Kelly, so of course I had to read it. In this book, the romance is between the divorced Susanna Hopkins and the widowed Major Joseph Randolph, both with hesitant hearts because of the losses they have sustained. Kelly does a wonderful job showing how difficult it must have been for divorced women in that time and place. Susanna also suffers separation from the son she loves. Joe Randolph comes to care for Susanna very quickly, but the time ...more
4.5 stars

The sweetest romance I have read in a long time - and my first Carla Kelly book ever, but not the last.

I've only read good things about this book, but for various reasons it's taken its sweet time for me to get to it. But oh, what a delightful read this is. From the first chapter and onward I was completely hooked, bu characters as well as setting and the plot itself. Yes, it was a bit predictable at time, but that is also what makes it such a comfortable read. And the characters - I do
Jun 10, 2013 Gayle rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2013
Carla Kelly's books always have so much historical detail in them -- this one focuses on an army garrison in Wyoming in the 1870's. She doesn't gloss over the harsh life or the realities of war, yet her stories are always full of hope. This one had more sexual references than her others that I've read (although the characters were married).
Jun 04, 2013 Laura rated it it was ok
I felt like this story just dragged. Yes, I get it. She was sad, people were suffering, blah blah blah. I don't want to be depressed, make the book 100 pages shorter! With the exception of 2 or 3 sentences, this was a really clean why put in those couple of sentences?
Heroes & Heartbreakers
Originally reviewed on Heroes and Heartbreakers:

My best read for January is Her Hesitant Heart by Carla Kelly. Take one divorced domestic abuse survivor headed west to start a new life and teaching career, add one widowed Army surgeon, unable to save the one patient who mattered most, and throw them together in the close quarters of Fort Laramie, and we already have an out of the ordinary romance. The vividly rendered emotions and realistic details of nineteenth-century military life, not to me
Jan 25, 2016 Anna rated it really liked it
Carla Kelly always delivers in the emotional department, and this is no exception. Take one divorced, domestic abuse survivor heroine with teaching ambitions and a broken heart for the child the law denies her, one army surgeon, haunted by both the one patient he couldn't save and ambitions of a career in research, mix with vivid details of 19th century military life, sprinkle with uniquely drawn supporting cast, and put on a slow burn. The results? An utterly delicious western romance that pack ...more
Melody McBride
Jul 08, 2014 Melody McBride rated it liked it
This was a book I enjoyed, though it wasn't quite what I was expecting it to be. Most of that was due to the face that the language was a little stronger than I thought it would be during that time period. Not only that, but it let you in on a couple of the bedroom "goings on", but, it didn't read like a romance novel. No bodice ripping. Haha! Anyway, I wouldn't read it again, just for that.

But outside of that, I thought the love story was endearing, and the background struggle of the looming wa
Dec 22, 2015 Annie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love me a good Carla Kelly book. And the heroine went to Oberlin! (Although why she wouldn't have gone to Bryn Mawr, which would have been closer to her home, or Smith or similar is beside me...) Full of sweet details and characters that have lovely complexity to them. I was wanting to read one of Ms. Kelly's Westerns, as I suspect she loves this period more than the Regencies/Napoleonic War, but likely they don't sell as well. I'm not sure I'm ready to dive into her Mormon series, but I'll lo ...more
Sep 10, 2015 Anna rated it liked it
Shelves: romance
At about 1/3 of the way through this book I took a long break, the situation the author had put her heroine in was terrible and there was no way it was going to work out well and I just didn't want to read what was coming next. Eventually I decided to go for it, and it was just as bad as I thought it was going to be, but then the story moved on and things got better. By the end of the book I had learned to care about not just the main characters, but many of the minor characters as well, and wan ...more
Unbelievably I did not like this book so much. I did not hate it (it is Carla Kelly!) but it was a bit MEH. Maybe because I don't like Western Romances. I tend to avoid them (but it is Carla Kelly! I had to try it). Or maybe because I don't like heroes with mustaches, and the Major had one (after the first impression, I got rid of it in my mind). Or maybe because to me, Carla Kelly is a clean romance author, and this book is a bit steamy in my opinion.

The story is sweet, and it was nice that bot
Jan 18, 2014 Judy rated it really liked it
I'm so prejudiced when it comes to Carla Kelly, I can hardly bear to give her books anything below a 4 star rating. I purchased this book in advance because I couldn't wait to read it. Although it isn't my favorite book of Ms. Kelly's, it is a great read.

Most of the leading males in Ms. Kelly's books are not what one normally finds in light romance novels. They are not necessarily the type of men that step in and "fix" all the sad situations in the lives of their love(s). However, they
Apr 26, 2013 Patti rated it really liked it
“Her Hesitant Heart”, by Carla Kelly is another departure from her usual (and my favorite) genre of Regency England. Because I have really enjoyed Kelly’s work, I didn’t mind trying something a bit different from my usual…rut…

This story takes place is Cheyenne, Wyoming in the later 1800s. New divorcee, Susanna, escapes her brutal ex-husband to save her life. Unfortunately she must also leave their 11 yr. old son behind because unscrupulous lawyers and her ex have manipulated the co
Apr 26, 2015 Patsyann rated it it was amazing
This book has everything I love about a Carla Kelly book.
- Strong male character who can cry
- Spunky heroine who rises above all the dysfunction in her life
- Mean people who are changed into great people
- Secondary characters who are never overbearing
I am in love with this book!! It’s not a big book, it can be read in a day. But it’s one of those books that makes you cry, laugh and just feel good about how bad people can change and good people can win the day!!
susannah has come to wyoming territory to get a fresh start. she has divorced her husband because he was going to kill her, and lost her son because her ex bought up all the judges and lawyers within a certain radius. no one believed that her ex had money troubles or that he drank to excess. when she came west, she came to live with her cousin, who didn't believe her either, and teach the officer's children. susannah's cousin has spread around the lie that susannah was a war widow. when
A divorcee' who tries to start over teaching on a frontier army post and a widower army doctor with heart-broken pasts come together in this gentle romance against the backdrop of 1865 Ft. Laramie, Wyoming during the time of war on the plains leading up to Little Bighorn. Both are intrepid characters full of quiet strength that reveals itself as needed.

I love how Carla Kelly explores the life of the common people and how their stories are set against some of the most challenging times in history
This was my first Carla Kelly book, but it won't be my last! This was really lovely, a very sweet, very grounded novel, a story about ordinary people living their lives the best they can under trying circumstances. It's set at Fort Laramie, Wyoming during the Black Hills War. The heroine, Susanna Hopkins, is a teacher from Pennsylvania who recently divorced her abusive ex-husband and is looking for a fresh start, free from the scandal; she has been hired to teach the officer's children. The hero ...more
Apr 12, 2013 Darlene rated it it was amazing
I've been a huge fan of Carla Kelly's Western stories ever since I tracked down her collection Here's to the Ladies: Stories of the Frontier Army. While she's best known for her Regency romances, Kelly truly shines when writing about a subject she knows very well, the US Army in the Old West.

Now she brings that era and the people to life in a new romance set at an army post, and it's got everything Kelly fans could desire: tons of angst (have your hankies ready), love, and most importantly, ord
Jul 18, 2015 Roselyn rated it did not like it
I've read several of Carla Kelly's books and like them for the most part. I was disappointed with this one. Although the story line was interesting and I liked the development of the characters, I did not like the descriptions of the couple's sexual activities after they got married. This didn't add to the book or story and was a big turn-off--not what I expected from this author.
Teya Peck
Nov 15, 2015 Teya Peck rated it liked it
I'm mixed. It was a really good story with depth and a fully research of war and war time in history. THe love story is interesting and sweet. I felt it was alittle slow for my liking. There is a show of romance but only after marriage. It's more than I preferred to read. It is an adult centered book.I loved how she got her boy back and the almost unspoken justice within.
Nov 30, 2014 Tiffany rated it did not like it
I've read other novels Carla Kelly has written and enjoyed them. My main problem with this novel (to borrow another reviewer's words) was it was a bit steamy for a normally clean romance author. Unfortunately it was enough so that not only did I finally set aside the book without finishing it, but I also won't be reading any more books by this author.
Oct 03, 2013 Cecily rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle-archive

I read Carla Kelly when I want to read something heart-warming where the hero isn't striding all over the place in sharp collars and cravats, owns half of England and has miraculously escaped any sort of STD as a result of his pre-marital stallion behaviour. Having inter-changeable heroes is no bad thing in a series of romance novels but what I like about her books is the added detail they provide about the settings - from the US frontier towns to Napoleonic war surgery. This is exactly the book
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Feb 21, 2015 01:00PM  
  • An Angel for the Earl
  • Never Love A Lawman (Reidsville, #1)
  • Lady with a Black Umbrella
  • Suddenly You
  • Whispers of Heaven
  • Wild Oats (Wild Oats, #1)
  • Beautiful Bad Man (Sutton Family, #1)
  • Miss Jacobson's Journey (Rothschild Trilogy, #1)
  • Colorado Dawn (Runaway Brides, #2)
  • A Timeless Romance Anthology: European Collection
  • Western Winter Wedding Bells
  • Fallen Angel
  • Allie's Moon
  • A Regency Christmas: Scarlet Ribbons / Christmas Promise / A Little Christmas
  • Some Like to Shock (Daring Duchesses, #2)
  • How to Sin Successfully
  • The Runaway Countess
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.

Although Carla Kelly is well known among her readers as a writer of Regency romance, her main interest (and first writing success) is Western American fiction—more specifically, writing about America's Indian Wars. Although she had sold some of her work before, it was not until Carla began work in the National P
More about Carla Kelly...

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