jenjn79's Reviews > Lawless

Lawless by Diana Palmer
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's review
Mar 25, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: genre-romance-fiction, reviewed, author-diana-palmer, info-full, favs-reread, stars-4
Recommended for: Diana Palmer fans
Read in February, 2006 , read count: 2

This is the only book I've ever read where I almost wanted the heroine to pick The Other Guy. In other books, the hero might do some dumb things, but you still always root for him to get the girl. But in this book, the hero more often than not made it tough to like him, and The Other Guy made it really hard not to root for him.

Lawless is one of Diana Palmer's Jacobsville books, a sort of unofficial series tied into her popular Long, Tall Texans series. This book can be read as a standalone for the most part, but there are a lot of recurring characters that you won't know about. And if you read this one, you definitely should read the next book,
Renegade. They are closely tied together.

Christabel Gaines father and Judd Dunn's uncle were partners in a ranch together. When Judd's uncle died, he inherited his portion. One day when Christabel was sixteen, she angered her drunken father and he started beating her. Judd managed to intervene, but not before Christabel was injured badly. Christabel's father was sent to prison where he died no long after and she was left with an invalid mother. To protect her and save the ranch, Judd married Christabel in name only and in secret.

So for the last five years, they have been married on paper only and running the ranch together, though Judd was also a Texas Ranger. Christabel has been in love with him for years, but he insists he will never touch her. Now her twenty-first birthday is approaching, a time at which Judd plans to get an annulment. The last thing Christabel wants is to be separated from Judd. But he's suddenly caught up in the lead actress of a movie filming on their ranch. So she turns to her new friend, Cash Grier, as a distraction. She's heartbroken over the upcoming loss of her in-name-only husband. But with hidden feeling coming to the surface, a vengeful ex-employee, a disruptive film crew, a flighty actress, and boundless jealousy bubbling up, things get very complicated.

Like any Diana Palmer book, this one has all of her classic staples...the emotionally cut-off older hero, the young, innocent heroine. Lots of angsty emotions. The hero acting badly. A little bit of danger. And the inevitable happy ending. So this book is a traditional Palmer book in every way. But I've always found her formula writing much, much more tolerable in her full-length books.

The oddity of this book was being torn over who Christabel should end up with. There was definite chemistry between her and Judd, but Judd acted like an asshole for most of the book. He was pretty wretched to Christabel and it didn't make him very likable. On the opposite side, Cash Grier, Christabel's new-found friend, was a sweetheart. He's got plenty of darkness inside him...he is, after all, a Palmer hero (or upcoming hero)...but in this book, he was so utterly likable. He was so kind to Christabel and you get a real sense of his vulnerability. There were definitely times in this book when I thought Christabel should pick him. I certainly would have!

But romance books don't work that way and Christabel was too hung up on her feelings for Judd, even if he was mostly a total jerk. And I can understand his actions to a certain extent. He had emotional scars and got caught up in stupid stuff with the actress, Tippy Moore. By the end of the book, he kinda redeems himself. Christabel loved him so she forgave him. I don't think I'd have been that generous!

All that makes this such an intriguing book. It's very, very odd to want to root for The Other Guy. The oddity of it has stuck in my head since the first time I read it and I've always wanted to read it again.

Diana Palmer fans will probably love this book. It's hard to say it is one of my favorites because of the weird character dynamics, but I did like it a lot. And I love Cash Grier. He's one of my favorite romance heroes.

Now I plan to reread Renegade (Cash and Tippy's books) because you can't read Lawless and not want to read Renegade after. They're too closely tied.
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Reading Progress

04/10/2009 page 50
14.01% "Had an urge to reread this one. Only book I've ever read where I wanted the heroine to pick the other guy."
02/17/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-6)

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 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) I was totally hoping Crissy would run off with Cash. But then I saw how great he was with Tippy.

jenjn79 True...Tippy/Cash was a great couple so it's hard to have wanted him with Crissy. Still...Judd didn't deserve her.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) Judd so did not deserve Crissy. I hope that after this book ends, he wakes every day and thanks God for her. :)

jenjn79 LOL...yeah, he really got lucky she still loved him.

I loved how at the end Cash "claimed" the girl twin. That was so cute.

message 1: by Lu (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lu Bielefeld ** I was totally hoping Crissy would run off with Cash. I hate Tippy's behaviour in this book! Neither seems the same person of the book Renegade.

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