I’m going to state right here at the very beginning that this will not be a book for everyone – even those who like historical romance might not find this to their tastes. Please take this disclaimer to heart before choosing to read this novel.
ThisI’m going to state right here at the very beginning that this will not be a book for everyone – even those who like historical romance might not find this to their tastes. Please take this disclaimer to heart before choosing to read this novel.
This is a very different kind of romance story; interwoven throughout the plot are elements of domestic discipline, particularly spanking (and not necessarily the erotic type, although that does come into play later on the novel for sure). On its face, I have no issues with that as an element, when used correctly and within a historical setting, because that was a more normalized way of life in the 1800s and on the frontier of the American West. I would have a much more difficult time with reading a story with these elements set within the modern day because that is not the typical way of life now. So knowing that, I left my modern sensibilities checked at the door when starting this book. With that out of the way, I did still have one issue that kept nagging at me throughout the entire story – this man who was doling out the discipline wasn’t her husband/boyfriend/father, quite honestly he was a complete stranger, which just felt sort of wrong to me. Yes, the author does go to a length to make the reasons known for why the male lead thinks it is his job to take the heroine to task for her wild ways, but it wasn’t quite believable enough for me to buy into this element of the story.
Moving on from that element, I did actually enjoy how the story unfolded, despite its brief length. I felt that I had a solid sense of who Callie was throughout the novel, even if a good portion of her backstory wasn’t revealed until right near the end. I still understood her motivations for heading out West to seek a husband and how she made many mistakes, but usually had the best intentions at heart. She is young, willful, and naïve. Jude comes off as your somewhat typical very masculine cowboy. He is strong and a no-nonsense straight-shooter. I didn’t have quite as much of a complete sense of who he was as a person, compared with Callie, but for me, his personality came off much larger than life and I didn’t feel like I needed as much to frame him in my mind.
This wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for from the novel, but it was a good read.
About the audiobook: Gideon Welles was an excellent fit for voicing Jude in my opinion. He certainly came off as the weather-beaten cowboy and I bought into his character. I think that this helped frame his character in my mind despite having less actual information/story on the man himself. The exact opposite was true for his voicing of Callie. His voice has a difficult tone to try and replicate a woman’s in any way. This was unfortunate as at least half the novel takes place in Callie’s head and it would have been easier to get into her character with a more convincing voice. One issue I did have was with the pacing of the narration. The speed with which it was read was fine, however, Welles seemed to take pauses at some of the strangest locations within the text – places where it wouldn’t have even been appropriate for a comma/pause. I found myself getting hung up with this reading pattern because I would be anticipating a sentence to have reached its end only to find it pick back up again....more