Often romanticized, the old Wild West is a vibrant setting for colorful characters toughing it out in a rugged, treacherous environment. Lawless and lethal, this period in American history propels the plots for countless movies and books, from spine-tingling entertainment to beloved classics. Expansion westward following the Civil War took many lives, leaving grief and desolation in its wake, yet passion flourishes on a precarious ledge and attracts loyal fans of the genre.
Delve deep into the psyche of the western heroine. She is on a quest to find not only love; she seeks adventure, excitement, and purpose as well. An explorer, she ventures to places the ordinary soul will not approach. Courage and dedication fire her spirit with a lust for living that few can equal. The lifestyle is not pretty. Crude and rustic, coarse and rough, the resilient lady thrives against the cruel elements of man and nature. Clinging to the hope of a better existence and realizing she cannot easily turn back, she pushes her stamina to the limit of her endurance. Snagging a good man along the way always helps.
The American West of the 1800s was a harsh test, subjecting a person’s mind and body to psychological and physical rigors far removed from our coddled, contemporary world. Romance makes the experience worthwhile and creates the inner spark that lights the desire to succeed.
These innovative titles for 2015 meander down dangerous trails, stopping to regard the beauty of untouched terrain and feel the exhilaration of falling in love.
Tainted Dreams by Christi Corbett (Clean Reads)
Sexist perceptions threaten to destroy an entrepreneurial woman’s plan to start a horse ranch in Corbett’s intelligent look at gender bias. Uncharted and raw, the Oregon Territory provides the backdrop for an ambitious spirit to test her skills within a male-oriented environment. Even the one man who truly loves her harbors a secret that could sabotage their future together.
Indian Summer by Rosanne Bittner (Diversion Books)
An upright, moral woman rebels against her husband’s misguided need to convert the Cheyenne Indians to Christianity in Bittner’s beautiful story of forbidden passion. Married to a preacher and the mother of a young daughter, this courageous heroine defies the church, engaging in clandestine interludes with Wild Horse. This tender man is far from savage—he may be the love of her life.
Daring by Sylvia McDaniel (Virtual Bookseller)
An adventurous bounty hunter meets the man who broke her heart while pursuing her father’s murderer. Realizing they must work together or risk losing it all, both come to terms with the past. This familiar cowboy has the same goal, but the need to hold his former flame at a distance has haunted him. His attraction can no longer be ignored in book four of McDaniel’s Lipstick and Lead series.
The Bride Duel by Samantha Jillian Bayarr (Livingston Hall Publishers)
In book three of Bayarr’s Western Mail Order Brides series, two mischievous brothers advertise for a wife. They get one. Next plan of action: get rid of her. Neither wants to marry this go-getter, a heroine intent on revenge for being walked into a domestic mess with no sincere intentions. This depiction of sexism at its worst in Western America is laced with intoxicating humor.
Comanche Eagle by Sara Orwig (Diversion Books)
A marriage of convenience leads to abiding love in Orwig’s tragic story of a grief-stricken father who has lost his wife during childbirth. Blamed for the mistake, the town’s doctor must ward off accusations, while his sister, the Justice of the Peace, intervenes in an unorthodox manner. This sympathetic heroine chooses to wed the widower and raise the motherless child as her own in book two of The Comanche Series.
Nuggets of literary gold found in private places can trigger the greatest accolades. These self-published titles explore the West in fascinating stories that examine human vulnerability and our pursuit of answers—intriguing, touching, and a welcome spin on historical romance. Worth the time it takes to cross a mountain pass in a wagon train.
Daisy by Carre White (CreateSpace)
Discontented with her life, a fortune-teller with a traveling circus searches for her father, seeking the security of family. While reading Tarot cards for an inquisitive client, she discovers a man who may guide her in the right direction. Mystery, intrigue, and an accusation of witchcraft take White’s heady novel in unexpected directions. This is the third book of the Brides of the Rockies series.
The Lady and the Mountain Doctor by Misty M. Beller (Misty M. Beller Books)
In book two of Beller’s Mountain Dreams series, an ingenue traveler is delayed for weeks in a mining town and dependent on the resident doctor. Set in the austere Montana Territory, this Christian romance explores the difficult, yet often beautiful, consequences of a woman’s inner voice telling her to find a higher purpose in life—a peaceful place created just for her.
Julia Ann Charpentier