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Crooked Hearts

3.50  ·  Rating Details  ·  319 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews
Reuben Jones walks on the wrong side of the law -- a card shark, a master of deception, a man who long ago buried the truth of his life so deep that no one would ever find it...

Grace Russell has had to learn a few tricks herself in order to hold on to the crumbling California vineyard that is the only thing in the world she can call her own...

Paperback, 384 pages
Published December 1st 2001 by Signet (first published 1994)
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(showing 1-30 of 699)
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Oh my sainted aunts, I loved, loved, loved this one! Loved it.

I read a ton of historical romance, and, I'll be honest, more often than not, I yearn to read about different periods in history, different types of locations and different types of characters. Regency is OK, but what's so special about it that so many books are set just in those 9 years when there are so many other interesting periods in history which almost seem to be completely ignored? Likewise, western historical romances seem al
Tara Chevrestt
I had some doubts when I first found this one netgalley and requested it. See, it's an older romance being reprinted and kindelized, and I thought it may be a bodice ripper due to some of the cover/blurb/flap jackets that were on the older editions. However, I not only read it, but thoroughly enjoyed it and had many a laugh. It is not really a bodice ripper. The sex when it finally occurs over halfway into the book, isn't horrible or cheesy. Though there is some Spanish Fly involved...

The first
Olga Godim
Oct 28, 2014 Olga Godim rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance, historical
Really 3.5 stars
A love story between two shysters in San Francisco circa 1890, this novel is a bit unusual for the historical romance genre. When we meet the heroes, Grace and Reuben, she is masquerading as a nun, collecting donations for the children’s hospital in Africa. He is playing the role of a blind Spanish rancher educated at Oxford. He is not collecting any money, just doing it for fun. Then the stage they are traveling on is attacked by armed robbers. There are guns involved, Chinese m
Feb 22, 2013 Kyle rated it liked it
There was a lot I loved about this book: very cute main characters, fun (if ridiculous) story, enjoyable setting (late 19th-century San Francisco). There were also a couple of things I didn't like: casual racism (especially the brain-bleed-inducing Chinese-accent eye dialect), and the weird Spanish Fly-fueled flophouse scene. Really, if not for the eye dialect, I would rate this a solid four stars (I could overlook the Spanish Fly). It's not super-outrageous - you'll see the same or worse in man ...more
Feb 25, 2014 Mariachiara rated it liked it
Trama: Primi del ‘900, Tyler Wilkes ha voltato le spalle alla sua vita agiata e alla sua ambiziosa madre, che lo vorrebbe politico, per andare a combattere a Cuba e intraprendere la carriera medica che lo porta infine a fare il medico condotto in un paesino sperduto, Wayne’s Crossing, in Pennsylvania. Lì incontra una strana ragazza, Carrie Wiggins, muta, e amante degli animali, che vive sola nei boschi col patrigno violento e alcolizzato.

La mia opinione: Sarebbe stato un libro da voto 8 per l’ar
Mar 14, 2014 Cristina rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hr-american
Obviamente esta autora no se ajusta a mis expectativas. Si su obra más aclamada no pudo atraerme, esta incluso menos. Recuerdo poco de la trama del libro. Lo único que recuerdo es que me aburrió soberanamente y que una vez más la caracterización de sus personajes no fueron santo de mi devoción. No me hicieron sentir chispitas ni sentí pena por ellos cuando estuvieron en situaciones delicadas y eso dice mucho... Si el lector le da igual lo que pase en una historia significa que el escritor no ha ...more
Jan 23, 2011 Fedora rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Meredith Galman
Feb 20, 2008 Meredith Galman rated it liked it
Shelves: romance
Not as clever or authentic as it thinks it is, but decidedly fun. I love a good caper story; I just wish the big score in this one had been a little more coherent and plausible. The leads are good together, although Reuben's jealousy is tedious and overdone.
Tamara Morgan
Mar 05, 2011 Tamara Morgan rated it it was amazing
Take one part con man, add one part con woman, throw in a little 1880s West Coast fun (even if the characters and dialogue aren't 100 percent historically accurate), and you have me hooked.

It was fun--and that's all I really ask for!
The dialog was quick like a screwball comedy.... The other thing that reminded me of those old b&w movies- that "ew, that was kinda racist" reactions I was having to a bunch of moments in the 2nd half of the book..
Nov 29, 2012 Nanette rated it liked it
Shelves: library
Rueben and Grace--2 con artists that cant trust one another. great characters but the plot was weak.
Aug 25, 2015 Ella rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2015
I i do not have any recollection of when I originally read this. But I still love it :-)
Oct 19, 2014 Drucilla rated it really liked it
Shelves: g
I'm giving this book four stars for two reasons. First off, it's not often you read a romance with two con-artists as the main characters. Second, I can't remember the last time I actually read a book where I actually believed the characters were falling in love. You usually only get a one-sided view or something akin to insta-love (or, you know, actual insta-love). The story is serviceable but the chemistry between the main characters is great. The ending is a little too unrealistic, ((view spo ...more
Caroline E
Jul 01, 2013 Caroline E rated it liked it
I have a particular soft spot for Pat Gaffney. SWEET EVERLASTING was the first romance I've ever read, and TO HAVE AND TO HOLD might arguably be the best I've read to date, so she's a writer that holds a soft spot in my romance reading heart.

That being said, I'm not sure I enjoyed this somewhat lighter, sillier book quite as much as I like her more serious efforts. There were certainly strengths-- there's much to be said about her characters, the humour in her dialogue and the entire premise of
Reuben and Grace are not your usual romance heroes; they're both crooks who earn their money by pulling tricks on unsuspecting people. As a result, I was not so sure I was going to like them when I first picked the book.

Their initial meeting was simply hilarious. Reuben posing as a blind nobleman, Grace as a nun raising money for some orphans in Africa, they embark on the same travelling coach but the journey turns out to be far longer -and more exciting- than they might have expected. The coach
May 09, 2015 Raye rated it liked it
I liked this beach read romance about con artists who fall in love in 1880s San Francisco quite a bit, until my enjoyment was marred by the racist take on the Chinese villain. Pretty cliched and offensive, even though this was written only 20 years ago.
Jan 26, 2015 Cheyenne rated it really liked it
It's more 3.5 stars. I liked it but it went a little long. Also, the part where Grace can't for the life of her figure out why Reuben is distant and moody irked me. She makes her living manipulating others' emotions? Are we supposed to believe that she doesn't know jealousy when she sees it?

But other than that, it was good. The two main characters are lovably incorrigible. I'm not sure I found the Mark Wing comeuppance scene all that believable but I'm glad everything worked out.
Sep 02, 2014 Sharon rated it liked it
Parts of this book are laugh-out-loud funny. Not great literature, but then, we read for a variety of reasons.
Oct 27, 2013 Lisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A late 19th Century California based “western” romance that doesn’t quite hit the mark, but is fairly entertaining. Grace Russell is a confidence trickster, who meets her match in a stagecoach en route from San Diego to San Francisco. His name is Reuben Jones and they soon fall head over heels for each other. However, they are both broke and they are both lying about their pasts and their presents – so how will this crazy love affair play out? The background is San Francisco’s Chinatown and the ...more
Aug 04, 2015 Melissa rated it liked it
3.5 Stars. Fun read, silly plot but characters that I liked spending time with.
Oct 22, 2012 RIF rated it it was amazing
A long time favorite. Such funny, charming, idiosyncratic characters. They dance and parry with each other, holding their cards close to their chests as each tries to figure the other out, as would be expected between confidence artists. Despite their ingrained wariness Williamson does such a great job convincing me they care about each other. With an over the top subplot that just seems to work in tandem with their humorous interactions I've read this multiple times and it still makes me lol. F ...more
Feb 12, 2014 Claudia rated it liked it
Oct 18, 2013 Elisabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A different historical taking place in California in the late 1890's with 2 very different characters - two con artists each trying to outwit the other.

Pros - Not a regency, no earls, dukes or viscounts, novel setting, interesting villain, scads of information on cons. Its Patricia Gaffney so the writing is brilliant.

Cons - sometimes all that other information on the confidence tricks got a bit boring.

I'd still read Pat Gaffney over most historical romance writers today.
Apr 20, 2012 Tressa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance
Crooked Hearts is set in the late 1800s or early 1900s (I don't recall which) and the setting is in the western United States, which is my favorite combination. I thought Reuben and Grace were delightful. I liked that both individuals had reinvented themselves and that they enjoyed their professions. At times, parts of the story reminded me of the films Two Mules for Sister Sara and Days of Heaven, but I didn't consider that a negative.
Lori Green
Feb 26, 2013 Lori Green rated it it was amazing
This book was totally fun, kick-ass and never lost step the entire read. I kept expecting any moment that something would happen to spiral it out of control but that never happened.

It's a wonderful story of 2 con artists back in western days, Grace and Reuben, and the way they con each other and everyone around them. They become reluctant partners, then friends, then lovers and finally in love.

The story has moments of real humor, real con and real emotion.
Sedoo Ashivor
Feb 18, 2016 Sedoo Ashivor rated it really liked it
Well-told, well thought out crooked, love story.
PG did good with this one.
I like how Reuben Jones and Grace finally had to admit their feelings for each other, in a totally unusual way.
Ordinarily, I'd be put off by the cards, tricks and swindles but PG made it so interesting that it took nothing from me except to enjoy the story.
Jul 28, 2012 Elli rated it did not like it
Shelves: romance, 2012, dnf
It's not that the writing was bad (it was actually fairly good), it was that I just didn't care about the two protagonists in the story enough to keep reading. Falls in the Emma category of author might be good enough to try another, but I'm just not going to manage to finish this without pushing myself more than I want to.
Not even remotely close to Gaffney's best work. I wasn't particularly invested in either of the MC's but I kept going because the premise of the book was fun. Unfortunately, the action picked up right at the time the (horribly, horribly racist portrayal of the) villain was introduced. Good grief, what a train wreck.
May 09, 2015 Mady rated it liked it
Shelves: e-book, 2015
Two fraudulent characters, Grace and Reuben, meet while each is trying to perpetrate a scheme in late nineteen hundred around San Francisco. It's lies after lies for both of them, but attraction is also strong.
This is a historical romance, quite perfect for me in these days.
Gina Hott
Sep 11, 2013 Gina Hott rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Although I really enjoyed the writing style of Ms. Gaffney, I didn’t realize how much con artists posing as a nun and a blind man would bother me. Hopefully, you’ll have a better time of it.

Author: Patricia Gaffney
Source: Open Road via Netgalley
Grade: DNF
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Patricia Gaffney was born in Tampa, Florida, and grew up in Bethesda, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, D.C. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English and philosophy from Marymount College in Tarrytown, New York, and also studied literature at Royal Holloway College of the University of London, at George Washington University, and at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

After college, G
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