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Bitter Springs

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  127 ratings  ·  39 reviews
In 1870s Texas, Renaldo Valle Santos, the youngest son of a large and traditional family, has been sent to train with Henry “Hank” Burnett, a freed slave and talented mesteñero—or horse-catcher—so he may continue the family horse trade. Bitter Springs is a sweeping epic that takes themes from traditional Mexican literature and Old Westerns to tell the story of a man coming ...more
Paperback, 302 pages
Published December 3rd 2015 by Interlude Press
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Average rating 4.28  · 
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~✡~Dαni(ela) ♥ ♂♂ love & semi-colons~✡~
My first book by Laura Stone was an absolute knockout! This story includes everything I love: slow burn, family, sexual discovery, interracial relationship, and a heartwarming HEA.

If you don't like historical romance novels, particularly ones about cowboys and horses, this book may bore you. But I loved every moment I spent with Renaldo and Hank out on the plains of Texas in the 1870s.

Both main characters are so richly drawn, I was bereft when the story ended. I loved Renaldo's sweetness, his
Lyn❤Loves❤Listening #AUDIOBOOKADDICT
On sale now...price drop from $6.99 to $2.99


The cover, the enlightening Author’s Note, and the story all drew me in and wouldn’t let go.
I don’t know how to put into words how much I loved Hank and Renaldo’s story. It was such a breath of fresh air. The delivery wasn’t a very complicated or angst filled. It would probably be considered simple by some, but I found it to be thrilling, beautiful and romantic.

Hank’s life hasn

Twenty-one year old Renaldo is the youngest of five children of a wealthy landowner Estebàn Valle, who had moved with his family from San Antonio to the border of Texas and Mexico on a land grant many years ago. Not only because it was perfect grazing land for their sheep and longhorn cattle, but also because of wild herds of mustangs with which Señor Estebàn Valle, a horse trader, was obsessed.

It is why he invited Henry Burnett, the best horse catcher in this business to train his son Silvestr
Julio Genao
Dec 12, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dnf
remarkably terrible. as stilted as the Coney Island Boardwalk.

lord, ha'mercy.
Nile Princess
Re-read 11/8/17. Yep, still love! Renaldo and Hank coming out to Ren's family still hits me right in the feels, and every page after that still makes me teary eyed. I would so love a happy ending for Francisco. I don't read a lot of m/f but I would totally read a story for him.


Well, it's over. I read as slowly as I could but I finally had to say adios to my wonderful men. They will stay with me for a while as I periodically wonder how they're faring. Every once in a while you rea
Jude Sierra
Nov 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Okay. M'kay. Let me just...take a breath.

There are so many things to love about this book. The prose is just beautiful. Stone has a gift for creating a rich backdrop for her stories so that the whole experience feels well loved and well rounded. I always learn from her stories. The level of detail and obvious commitment to research make this story shine and are a testament to how very much Stone cares for her craft.

Now let's talk about what she crafted. Renaldo's family is EVERYTHING. They mad
Oct 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: m-m
This book was so beautiful and yet at the same time painful that these two men had to hide that they loved each other because of people not understanding.
So Renaldo's father hires Henry to train Renaldo how to catch wild horses. Well Renaldo slowly starts falling for Hank while they are out searching for wild mustangs. The way these two MC's were together was honestly beautiful. Their love for each other slowly grows the more time they spend with each other until it was time for Renaldo to go h
Dec 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
**Thank you to Santa’s Jilted Lover**

What a sweet, extremely low-key romance. It started out slow and I questioned if this book was going to be for me. But once Hank and Renaldo started on their adventure, it turned into a low angst, slow burn story that I really enjoyed.
1/8/20 - After 3 weeks, I keep thinking about this book so I'm upping my rating from 4 to 5 stars. Obviously it had a big impact on me.
Carrie Pack
Sep 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What can I say about Bitter Springs that hasn't already been said? Trust me when I say that the four- and five-star reviews are all right. This book will satisfy in so many ways. Stone's research is impeccable, her prose lyrical, and her use of Spanish sets the tone of the book rather than becoming cumbersome to non-speakers.

I highly recommend this novel to lovers of historical romance, boundless nature, and the unwavering spirit of the American West. Stone has written a love letter to it all.
Laura Stone prefaces Bitter Stone - set in Texas, circa 1870 - with some historical information which implodes the myth of the Wild West, where "men were men." As Stone says, "Turns out that the straight, white cowboy whom Hollywood loves was pretty uncommon. About forty percent of cowboys were black, first of all." And furthermore, gay relationships were not all that uncommon.
Where on earth do you think the term “Boston Wife” came from? Or “Oxford Rub”? Bunkhouses were often called “ram pastur
Dec 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It’s a rare treat to read a novel which both reveals a previously-unknown (to me, at least) corner of American history, and contains a moving story of romantic and familial love – in this, Bitter Springs by Laura Stone is a rare achievement.

The book centers around Renaldo Valle Santos, the youngest in a family of ranchers in 1870s Texas. Following a series of events that shakes up the family’s plans for the future, Renaldo leaves home to study to be a mesteñero, or horse-catcher, with Henry “Han
K.E. Belledonne
Sep 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
my off-the-cuff review:
This book was an entirely satisfying read. It is a beautiful story, beautifully written & exquisitely detailed. It's lush & romantic, the love scenes are hot but entirely appropriate within the story. It is "literary romance" at its finest.
Dec 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I grew up reading my mother’s childhood copies of the Silver Brumby series by Elyne Mitchell - the wild, thundering stories of stallion Thowra in the Snowy Mountains region of Australia. My memories of these tales still have my heart in my throat, vivid, unforgiving and beautiful. Never mind the fact that my few attempts of riding horses in real life ended with five year old me half way off a Shetland pony, my nose getting closer to the ground in cold Cornwall.

I also read The Horse Whisperer at
Suzey Ingold
Feb 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Bitter Springs isn't the kind of novel I would ordinarily pick up or choose for myself—I can't say that the Old West has ever been my kind of thing. But I know and love the author's writing, so I decided to give it a go. And never have I been more pleased to have made a decision. I don't even know where to begin. I fell in love with Renaldo and his dynamic family almost instantly, and was so immersed in what was happening that I read most of this book in one sitting. The build of the relationshi ...more
Tamika♥RBF MOOD♥
Review@Ohmyshelves Blog

Kudos to this author for researching her facts and history. This was a really good story. I definitely learned a few things from reading this. I really appreciate the author's note at the beginning. Never would have thought about what she said. It makes sense a lot, and it's crazy to have these negative feelings today in society seeing how history went. A really good historic romance.

Both of these characters were really good. Oh my goodness I enjoyed the story alot. It was
Mari  Cardenas
Dec 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
*** ARC provided to Bayou Book Junkie in exchange for a fair and honest review. ***

Renaldo is the baby of his family along with his twin Calandaría in 1870 Texas. After his brother Silvestre is sent away by his family to Mexico, he has to step up and take his place training under Henry 'Hank' Burnett, a freed slave and famed horse-catcher. Renaldo has never felt attracted to women, but it isn't until he starts developing feelings for Hank during their trip that he realizes the reason why. Howeve
Pene Henson
Dec 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A glorious and generous romance. I fell for the leads. Especially Renaldo and his so very young, open-hearted, respectful self. So willing to love and be loved. But also especially Hank and his competence and responsibility and kindness and necessary self protectiveness. They are dear boys. I believed their connection. The electricity of it zinged through the pages.

It's a book where I learned a lot and needed to accustom myself to the pace of reading when there's that depth of research and know
Linda ~ they got the mustard out! ~
3.5 stars

This is a good, solid historical novel, but it didn't blow me away, and I'm not really sure why.

Renaldo's the youngest son of a Tejano rancher, who ends up getting his apprenticeship to a cowboy sooner than expected thanks to one of his older brother's illicit shenanigans. Hank is the cowboy in question, a former slave who has been wondering the Southwest trying to find a place and people to fit in.

I liked everything here. Two people of color MCs, acknowledging that the West wasn't ju
Misty Fritz
Sep 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Like a lot of Americans, for most of my life, I had a very specific image in mind when I pictured a cowboy: white, straight, and macho. That was the impression I'd been given, and I never thought to question it.
Then Laura Stone came around, in the early stages of promoting her book Bitter Springs, and threw that idea out the window: turns out a large chunk of cowboys were black or Mexican, and straight wasn't as much the default as I had been taught.
I'm not normally a fan of so-called "Westerns,
♣ Irish Smurfétté ♣
3.5 Stars on Prism Book Alliance®

Skimming the surface of potential...

This story begins with some family drama regarding several challenges facing Renaldo and his family. By the middle of chapter four, some of the strife had lessened but I was still struggling in getting to know Renaldo, the 21-yr old rancher. He’s kind and mostly in tune with the members of his family, especially his sister, and his goals are simple: be a contributing member of his family, remaining on their large farm, working
Alysia Constantine
Apr 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
My sister is a self-proclaimed cowgirl. This mostly means, to her, wearing very tight Levis and snap-front shirts and riding horses and listening to top-40 country radio (which is as atrocious as top-40 pop radio) and dating scary homophobic brutes in western boots that could really kick the crap out of a homo like me. So it was with reluctance I started reading Laura Stone’s BITTER SPRINGS.

Dear self: you dumb, snobby city girl. The problem with my sister’s version of the American West is that i
Michelle Osgood
Oct 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
If you like historical romance, especially well-researched and respectful historical romance, this book is for you! I fell in love with Renaldo and his family right away - especially his twin sister, Calandaria, and his wonderful mother. The men in Renaldo’s family are also delightful, but I warmed to the women in his life immediately. You could feel the love they felt for Renaldo, and even though he doubted that they could come to terms with what he learned about himself, you knew that these tw ...more
Dec 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Where do I even begin to express how much I enjoyed this book? A combination of sweet and sexy, mixed together with such vivid descriptions of life out in the wild plains of Texas that it left me with a longing to spend the night under the open sky, away from civilization. I loved every word of the book, from watching Renaldo grow and discover his own feelings and sexuality, to learning about Hank's past, and wishing I could just hug him and tell him that everything would be okay. Laura Stone's ...more
Rebecca Saxon
Oct 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Disclaimer: I know the author and was excited about the concept of this book going in - so my review is likely very biased.

Lovely writing, compelling characters in a fully realized world. Renaldo lives on a ranch with his tight-night Mexican American family, and Hank is an African American cowboy who is hired to teach Renaldo about taming wild horses. During their time together a romance blooms. I'm not sure what I loved more: the hot and sweet dynamic between the couple (especially Renaldo's us
Magpie Fearne
Apr 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this a great deal! Most of the historical romances I've read are set in Britain so this was a welcome and pleasant new experience, getting to know a part of the US that is quite alien to me. I loved reading about the horses--it made me want to go buy a horse and start riding! *says the person who's seen a horse in real life once*

I thought the beginning was a bit slow, as it spent quite a lot of time with Renaldo's family before Hank appeared on the scene, but by the end of the book I
4.5 stars Lovely historical!
Apr 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
If you are looking for beautifully written, historical romance with wonderfully well-drawn characters, Bitter Springs is the way to go.
Laura Stone does such an amazing job of creating characters who seem to simply walk right off the page, fully realized and with their own distinct voices and stories. As soon as I was introduced to Renaldo and his family I felt right at home with them; I adored their relationships, between the brothers and their sister and their parents. Their dynamic was so fami
Apr 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was so enjoyable!
Aug 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-books
Well written romance!
Barbara Ingram
May 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Title: Bitter Springs
Author: Laura Stone
Publisher: Interlude Press
Reviewer: Barb
Release Date: December 3, 2015
Genre(s): M/M Romance, Interracial, Cowboys, Old West
Page Count: 302
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5


*****5 Wild Horses Stars*****

Wow! My FIRST historical romance and I loved it! Bitter Springs is a special story for me and it will stay in my heart for a long time. Ms. Stone’s depiction of the Wild West and the 1870’s time allowed me to experience that I was
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What's the Name o...: SOLVED. Gay interracial western romance [s] 6 58 Apr 17, 2016 07:02PM  

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Laura Stone, a descendant of pioneer polygamists from the early days of the Mormon Church and a former Gospel Doctrine teacher, keeps busy as a media blogger, ghostwriter and novelist when she's not raising her youngest child and puttering in gardens.

While the majority of her family still lives in Utah, she resides in her home state of Texas because it's where the good tamales are.

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Happy Women's History Month! One of the undisputedly good things about modern scholarship is that women’s history is finally getting its due....
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