This book definitely satisfies my Western historical romance craving. While slow-building and with a lot more narrative than action, it was a book tha...moreThis book definitely satisfies my Western historical romance craving. While slow-building and with a lot more narrative than action, it was a book that captivated me with lead characters whose stories I wanted to know. It definitely helps that Morgan is a redhead. I have a not-so secret fondness for red-headed heroes! I loved the manner in which Goodman conveys the loving intimacy that a marriage can cultivate between two people.
Tennyson Wells learns the hard way that Jasper Greon is not to be trusted when he abandons her when they run off together to get married. Cale...moreSynopsis
Tennyson Wells learns the hard way that Jasper Greon is not to be trusted when he abandons her when they run off together to get married. Caleb Cameron is there to pick up the pieces, rescuing her and taking her back home. He also encourages her to change her life, to put behind her past thoughtless behavior and to pursue her dream of helping others. He encourages her to mend bridges with her sister Mauranie, and facilitates her mission to help Theron Barnes, who ends up with a crippling injury after he comes to her aid the night Jasper abandons her. Slowly, Tennyson's feelings for Caleb grow into something more than friendship, but will Caleb be patient enough to wait for Tennyson to notice how much he has loved her from afar?
Substitute Lover is the follow up to the previous book in the Place in the Heart series about Tennyson's sister Mauranie, Breaking Point. In this book, the reader is able to see Tennyson's evolution from a self-absorbed, immature person to a woman in charge of her own destiny. Tennyson is very sympathetic, which was not evident in the previous story. I learned more about her, that while her actions seemed frivolous, she was actually a deeper person with more honest motivations than she seemed. Tennyson is a sensitive and caring young woman who feels compelled to help others, which gets her into trouble at times because she can also be gullible. I came to like her very much. I could see why Caleb fell in love with her, despite the fact that he almost makes a career out of keeping her out of trouble, due to her association with no-good Jasper Greon.
I enjoyed this story for its heartfelt exploration of relationships and realistic people with troubles they are working through. As a shortcoming, the relationship between Caleb and Tennyson could have used more romantic tension, but I did enjoy their friendship and how they genuinely seemed to like each other. Caleb is a real sweetheart, very chivalrous and caring towards Tennyson, even when he doesn't always support or understand her actions.
I feel that this story could have benefited from being longer, giving more room to develop the romance and also the suspense storyline. Additionally, I would have liked to see more interaction between Tennyson and her sister, considering how acrimonious their relationship was in Breaking Point. Despite its shortcomings, Substitute Lover was a very readable and involving book. It touched my heart and made me happy to see Tennyson come into herself and for her to find a good man to call her own in Caleb.
This is my first audiobook of a Diana Palmer book, and overall, I liked it. I didn't care for the way the narrator voiced the females. He sounded too...moreThis is my first audiobook of a Diana Palmer book, and overall, I liked it. I didn't care for the way the narrator voiced the females. He sounded too falsetto for my tastes. I think I enjoyed this more than other reviewers, although I agree that there were a lot of random conversations and less focus on the romance than I would have liked.
Diana Palmer is a long-time favorite of mine. She's a sweet lady and I will always read her books.
Riley Fitzgerald is a twenty-five-year-old bronc rider in the rodeo circuit who comes from Kentucky whiskey and horse-breeding money. He know...moreSynopsis
Riley Fitzgerald is a twenty-five-year-old bronc rider in the rodeo circuit who comes from Kentucky whiskey and horse-breeding money. He knows he is fortunate that he doesn't have to work for a living, and can pursue his love of rodeo, but his father is leaning on him to join the family business. Riley wants one more Rodeo Championship win behind him before he'll think of moving on from rodeo, even though he doesn't know what career he'll ultimately settle on. When his plane sustains in-flight damage, he is forced to land near a derelict parts warehouse outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico. There he meets Maria Alvarez, who warns him he is in gang territory.
Maria is a thirty-five-year-old Latina teacher who works with disadvantaged students to help them to get their GEDs, since she believes education is the only way to save them from the dead-end lifestyle of gangs. She is at the warehouse looking for three of her latest students at the gang hangout, and encounters Riley. He's definitely one sexy cowboy, even if she knows he's too young for her. Not to mention he is white and comes from money. How on earth can he understand her values and what it's like being raised in the Albuquerque hood, where she works to keep youngsters from befalling the same fate as her deceased younger brother? She is determined to help to save Cruz, Alonso, and Victor from the cycle of poverty and violence that led to her brother's demise.
Riley becomes a close friend and something more, as he helps her work with the young men. He arranges for them to work and live on a friend's horse ranch while they study for their GEDs. He is intrigued and impressed with the beautiful, sexy, and together older woman, and he's not bothered in the least by the age difference or their different backgrounds. Not only does Riley intend to qualify for and win the Rodeo Championship, but he also plans to win Maria's heart. Maria finds it very hard to resist Riley, because he is gorgeous, fun to be around, and has a good heart. Can she get past the seemingly insurmountable barriers of race, age, and background to find the love of her life with Riley?
A Rodeo Man's Promise was a quick, involving, fulfilling read. Marin Thomas has a breezy style that keeps the story flowing. Riley was a sweetheart. I appreciated the vigorous and vital impact of his youthful masculine energy, but also the fact that he was mature, confident and generous. I loved the fact that he didn't let issues of race and social status stand between him and the woman he wanted. Equally important was the fact that although Riley recognized he was born to privilege, he lacked a sense of arrogance and entitlement because of that. He embraced the fact that he was blessed in his background, and was willing to get outside his privileged upbringing and its accompanying mindset to help to mentor three young Latino boys from the rough part of town.
Maria was a compelling and likable character. The pain of losing her brother had driven her to help youngsters. She was realistic in her wants, needs and desires. I could understand why she would have some fears and reservations about becoming involved with Riley, considering her past hurts and their disparate backgrounds. I loved that Riley was determined and committed to win her trust and to convince her to give them a chance together.
The sparks fly between Maria and Riley and make a great romance. I felt the strong bond between them that transcends any obvious differences. Sometimes you find ‘the one' and they are nothing like you, and that can be a very good thing. In addition, the inclusion of the three teens, Cruz, Victor, and Alonso, with their troubled lives, and hopes and fears for the future, helps to round out the romance and make for a deeper read. The rodeo elements were interesting, and I loved how they became a bridge between Riley and Cruz, the most troubled of the trio of teens. Rodeo is a metaphor for hanging onto one's dreams in life, even when the going gets tough. If you can stay on the bronco for eight seconds, then you can do just about anything. That's a great take home message. A Rodeo Man's Promise is a book I thoroughly enjoyed, and would recommend to readers of romance.
Morgan Wade’s Woman took me back to the category romances I read back in the day, from the library growing up in the Chicago suburbs. They had a shelf...moreMorgan Wade’s Woman took me back to the category romances I read back in the day, from the library growing up in the Chicago suburbs. They had a shelf of them, and you could take them, read the books, and bring them back, trading them out for other ones. My sister and I must have read every Harlequin-type book they had. Although I never read this one, it brings back fond memories.
Storyline: Samantha’s father has just died, and she found out that obtaining the five million dollar inheritance her father left her depends on her getting married before she turns twenty-five. If she doesn’t get married, she gets nothing but a monthly allowance, and a home with her stepmother. Samantha hates the fact that she is going to be forced to get married, but she doesn’t want to be dependent on her step-mother. When she goes to visit her old school friend Barbs in Nevada, she meets Barbs' husband’s friend, Morgan Wade. He’s not like the usual type of guy that she dates. He’s rugged, tough, and dangerous. He makes her feel uncomfortable, and alive in the way none of her previous boyfriends have done. Barb suggests asking him to marry her, and she agrees, although she has serious misgivings about it. She thinks that Morgan has agreed to a passionless marriage of convenience, but Morgan has other ideas all along. Soon, he has seduced her into his bed and her heart. Can she deal with the fiery love and desire she feels for her husband, and the loss of control that being Morgan Wade’s Woman brings her?
My Thoughts: Sam was a bit too remote and controlled for me, except for when her temper erupted (I usually like this sort of heroine, but something about Sam didn’t quite appeal to me as much as I would have liked). She was the finishing school, polished, rich girl type, which works for me sometimes, and other times, not so much. Morgan was somewhat hard to get a fix on. He definitely had that hard as granite Western man thing going on that I like. He’s in the old school mode, the tough alpha hero who answers to no one, and takes what he wants. That’s not to say he’s rapey. He isn’t, although he’s probably a little too forceful for some readers, especially those who prefer the modern heroes. When he takes Samantha to his bed, she’s reluctant emotionally, but willing otherwise. So it’s more of a seduction scenario. He definitely has a jealous streak a mile wide, threatening to kill any man who touches Sam. And he doesn’t let Sam walk all over him, although she gives as good as she takes from him. And with their mutual fiery tempers, that can end up making for some blazing rows between this married couple. That’s when they aren’t hardly even talking to each other, and spending long time periods apart. I wanted for Sam and Morgan to communicate more than they did about their feelings. They didn’t quite have a big misunderstanding, just a phenomenal disconnect about the feelings they had for each other. They both can't believe that they are loved by each other, and they do foolish things to prove they don’t care about each other, like trying to cause jealousy when they spend time at their society dos with other people in their social circle. Sometimes, I’m cool with that storyline, but it was a tad tedious as I read this story. Not enough to ruin the book, but enough to keep this one from being a five star book.
Of course, this was written in the early 80s, so the hero and heroine both smoke and drink quite a bit. It may be shocking to modern readers that Sam both drinks and smokes while she’s pregnant. I admit it threw me for a loop, as I thought about how bad that is for a fetus. Back when this was written, they didn’t really know that, so I can’t hold that against Sam.
Sam’s life seemed kind of aimless. She didn’t do anything really. She was the daughter of a rich man, so she was definitely the socialite type. It was clearly a big change to be the wife of a hard-working rancher. She cooked and cleaned a little, smoked, swam, and visited. I think I would go crazy if I had that kind of lifestyle. She did seem to be going crazy at times.
What I liked: • I liked that Morgan was the tough, Western type (which I said above). He was a very alpha kind of guy, but he wasn’t unlikeable about it. At least, he wasn’t too rough and hard for my tastes, and I never got a cruel vibe from him. Yes, he was on the controlling side, but Sam wasn’t the wimpy kind of heroine, so she could handle a guy like Morgan very well. After they have a really rough sexual encounter, he feels bad about it, and apologizes, although Sam gave as good as she got (she might have gotten bruises, but he had scratches and a bite). I also liked that he adored Sam (although of course, he doesn’t vocalize that until the end). You find out towards the end how much he didn’t need to marry Sam, but he did it because he felt an instant love/lust for her. In a way, his controlling, demanding way with her showed his love (Yes, I know that sounds messed up, and I know in real life that doesn’t equal love, but in this book, it did show Morgan’s feelings of love. He was the kind of guy who took care of what was important to him. So, his taking care of Sam was his way of showing his devotion to her). Sam was likable too, for the most part. I liked her pluck and her kindness, and the way she went home to face the music instead of running away from her husband and her feelings for him. • Although the love scenes aren’t descriptive, the author manages to convey all the intense passion of their relationship. Nowadays, when books are so much more open door about sex, too often, I find there just isn’t real chemistry between the characters, even with the vivid, color by numbers love scenes. Sex seems too casual and kind of empty as I read a lot of the modern romances. I admit I like a lot of things about the current romances, but this is not one of those things. • There’s just something about these old school romance books that is so much more intense, making for a more exciting read. I felt this way about this book, although I did wish the characters actually talked about their feelings more. • It’s kind of funny reading the older books and seeing what fashions were in vogue then. I admit I do change the hair styles and update some of the clothing that seems really lame. There are a couple of scenes in which Morgan is wearing a white denim suit, and I just couldn’t go there. I’m sorry! And it sounds like Sam got her hair cut in a mullet, so I had to fix that in my head too.
I’m glad that one of my friends recommended this book to me. It was definitely worth tracking down and reading. I have a soft spot for jealous/possessive heroes, and Morgan definitely fits the bill. Thanks, Jennyg! (less)