REVIEW: Molly O’Keefe’s SEDUCED, Finding “Rainbows in Little, Wrinkled Brown Seeds”

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What a beautiful cover!

 Miss Bates’ Canadian perspective of the American ante- and post- bellum periods is set, in most unscholarly fashion, by popular culture. She read Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind when she was in grade six. She loathed it then; she loathes it now. (And no, she wouldn’t reread it to gauge her response years later.) In 1976, when Miss B. was a new teen, she, and millions of others, watched the TV miniseries adaptation of Alex Haley’s Roots, a novel with its own controversies and questions. Nevertheless, at the time, Miss Bates and her family, European immigrants to North America, loved it. In 1990, Miss Bates, again with so many others, was glued to Ken Burns’ The Civil War. Who can resist the images, soulful music, and epistolary eloquence? But, it too has its misrepresentations. She doesn’t purport any expertise on the topic other than what she refers to here and that is no expertise at all, really. Moreover, Miss Bates sees the American civil conflict through the lens of a tsk-tsk-ing outsider, her own country’s conflicts never having seen a battlefield other than the legislative (though Louis Riel, the rebellions, his trial, and execution in 1885 might have something to say about that. It is a time and place worthy of a romance). Not that Canada is immune to racism and conflict, au contraire, but our “quiet revolutions” have been linguistically decentralizing, while our neighbours’ claim to unity has always struck her as more mythic than actual. All of this to say that she, nevertheless, welcomes a romance set in the aftermath of the war, though she’s also leery of it, thanks to GWTW, given this period in American history remains a tender, if scabbed over, wound. She’s uncertain, nay ignorant, how well O’Keefe’s Seduced skirted historical and political landmines. From this outsider’s perspective, however, as a romance, Miss Bates loved it … with a few caveats for some weaknesses … but a highly recommended read nonetheless.

[The review is spoiler-ish, but it’s impossible to talk about Seduced, given its length, with depth without divulging a thing or two.] O’Keefe’s Seduced opens in 1867, a hundred miles south-west of Denver, on Steven Baywood’s oil-rich farm. Jimmy Hurst arrives with his wife, Melody, and sister-in-law, Anne Denoe. Jimmy is a vile character, thief, liar, drunkard, physically abusive to Melody, and verbally to Anne. There’s history between him and Steven, ugly history from the war. Jimmy shoots Steven, threatens Melody and Anne, and rides away with the threat to return. For a little while, Melody and Anne, fragile, hurt in so many ways they don’t bear thinking, enjoy a respite. They prepare a garden plot, one sole instance of joy and hope. They care for Steven, who recovers slowly but surely. They hide him in expectation of Jimmy’s return. Jimmy reappears with an oil prospector in tow, Cole “Smith”. Cole isn’t a prospector; he’s there to exact revenge on Jimmy for threatening/killing his brother, Steven. He realizes, however, that Melody and Anne, who saved his brother’s life, may be hurt in the process, but vengeance burns in him.

Each character in O’Keefe’s novella is damaged: Jimmy, a twisted, sadistic monster; Melody, victim of a domestic war as brutal and demoralizing as a military one and haunted by loss of family and home, as is Anne; Cole, ashamed, guilty, hollow with revenge and lonely from his family’s loss; and Steven, dark and embittered. Except for Jimmy, Miss Bates loved them, broken and flawed as they were and so closed off to love and hope. She loved the burgeoning attraction and affection between Melody and Cole, even the mild hint of it in Steven for Anne. Memory, loss, guilt, shame figure prominently in these characters’ lives; it’s difficult to believe that they’ll ever live wholly and well again. But O’Keefe, without white-washing who they became and what they did in the “fog of war,” domestic or otherwise, chips away at their hardened, saddened cores to reveal soft and tender vulnerabilities. Touch, of flesh on flesh, of hands in the earth that gives and absorbs life, salvation and hope for the future … it’s a mite of a book, but a mighty story.

Miss Bates will get the caveats out of the way first, to follow with the good stuff. Her dilemma with the novel is an uncertain start and abrupt finish. O’Keefe’s narrative felt hesitant to this reader: like someone who’s learning a skill, awkward, tentative. Maybe it was because she was throat-clearing her “historical voice,” maybe her usual metaphoric-rich prose was subdued; maybe she was trying to find her stride? Whatever the reason, Miss Bates was confused with the first few chapters: who was the heroine? Who the hero? And, most importantly, she couldn’t see how the characters, especially Melody, were going to be rid of Jimmy. Jimmy loomed large, a narrative challenge and potential failure. Suffice to say that O’Keefe provided an intriguing resolution and freedom for the romance to grow. It made sense, but it surprised Miss Bates (it shouldn’t have, but it did) and she applauded it because it gave the heroine choice and made the hero a true knight. Miss Bates’ criticism of the end as abrupt is a result of the modest length. She wanted to spend more time with these characters, a purely reader-selfish reason. Lastly, Melody’s choice vis-à-vis Jimmy is not an easy one to accept, maybe an understandable one, but Miss Bates wishes there could have been another way.  At the same time, she cannot throw stones. She leaves it up to you, dear reader, to decide whether you can accept/understand the characters’ actions.

As Miss Bates has said in previous posts, she welcomes religious allusions/symbols/images in non-inspirational romance. She is interested in how a non-proselytizing romance writer uses them. She found a treasure-trove in O’Keefe’s narrative in these intimations to resurrection:

… the sight of Melody lying in those flowers, staring up at the sky as if she’d seen the face of God, that rolled the rock away from his cave and now there was too much light to run from.

… he picked up Steven’s saw and went to work, hoping that with enough effort he might be able to roll the stone back in front of his cave, eliminating the light that made it so hard to see.

O’Keefe builds a beautiful and potent metaphor in telling the story of two broken people returning to life, love, and hope. At first, they are like people in a pitch-dark cave who, suddenly exposed to light, suffer from pain to their eyes. Thus are Melody and Cole as their encounters, even their disagreements, resurrect them, help them rediscover, among the ashes of their former selves, something of themselves. They resist the resurrection because the cave’s darkness is all they’ve known of safety, but they are brave and honest, if flawed, and find their way to love and hope. Moreover, to tell this story of Melody and Cole’s resurrection, O’Keefe alludes to that beautiful moment in the Christian narrative when Mary Magdalene arrives at Christ’s tomb to receive the good news of the resurrection. Mary too is uncertain, grief-stricken, and afraid, as are Melody and Cole, but she’s sown the seeds in her soul for its reception. Seeds and earth, growth and possibility, are key to understanding how Melody and Cole make their way to faith and love. (And the reason for Miss Bates’ mangling of a quotation from L. M. Montgomery’s Anne’s House of Dreams for her post’s subtitle.)

In the end, though Miss Bates questioned certain aspects of O’Keefe’s Seduced, she’s glad she read it for all the good things in it. She looks forward to Anne and Steven’s story. Miss Bates loves O’Keefe’s contemporary romances; if Seduced is evidence of what she can do in the historical sub-genre, then Miss Bates follows her there gladly. She urges you to do so as well. In Seduced, MissB. found evidence of “a mind lively and at ease,” Emma.

Molly O’Keefe’s Seduced is a self-published e-book available, at the usual vendors, since May 30th. Miss Bates is grateful to Ms O’Keefe for an e-ARC.

What romance authors have you read who changed course in their writing? (Julie Garwood comes to mind, of course, or Barbara Samuel.) Did you follow them to their new endeavours? Did/do you enjoy their new work? Or, do you long for a return to the original genre, or sub-genre? How did/do you respond to the change?

 

30 thoughts on “REVIEW: Molly O’Keefe’s SEDUCED, Finding “Rainbows in Little, Wrinkled Brown Seeds”

  1. I loved this book so much, and I think Molly has made a change this year not only with regard to subgenre, but within her writing herself. Between this book and the entire Boys of Bishop series, actually even including her SUMMER RAIN story, I think she has brought her writing to a new level. She has elevated her game and yes, I will follow her wherever she chooses to lead me at this point! 🙂

    One of my favorite authors who changed direction is John Le Carre. I remember reading long ago that the end of the Cold War was going to kill Le Carre’s writing career, since he would no longer be able to write classics like Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy or The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. Of course, since he is a brilliant writer, the Cold War ending did nothing but inspire him to new heights of storytelling. From The Night Manager to Absolute Friends or A Most Wanted Man, Le Carre is still putting out brilliant books, even if he does occasionally beat me over the head with his pessimistic politics. Quite a change for a writer, and such a gift for the reader!

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    • Miss Bates stands with you on the O’Keefe endorsement. She remembers when she read the first categories, the O’Neills, difficult characters to like, difficult circumstances, not everyone black-and-white and neat tied up in a package. The books challenged Miss B., but she knew she was reading a write who cared about what was going on the page, demanded a little more of her readers than to be dubbed a “comfort read.” Miss B. loved that about her, and still does. So, she’s definitely along for the ride too.

      Miss B. loved your comments about Le Carré. She’s only read the early work and is, of course, forever tainted by Richard Burton’s performance in The Spy Who Came In From the Cold, though Ralph Fiennes did a fine fine job in The Secret Garden. She really ought to read the later works, and not rely on film versions. 😉 As for pessimistic politics, more like clear-seeing, Mr. Le Carré.

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  2. I’m a big (but new) fan of Molly O’Keefe though I’ve only read two of her contemporaries (Crazy Thing Called Love and Between The Sheets). I loved CTCL despite it being contemporary (I lean heavily toward historicals, though I seem to be transitioning toward more contemporaries lately), a show biz heroine (I have trouble identifying with someone wanting/craving the spotlight/being on stage/in front of a camera) and a hero in a sports field (just an unreasonable thing on my part; I’m not really sure why I avoid them). I loved the writing, the way she tackled some serious issues, and the depth of characterization. She writes with emotion and humor and, at times, such beautiful imagery that I was both hooked immediately and ashamed I had left this book in the TBR stack so long.

    Between The Sheets was also really good, too, although I wish it had a different title and not so much the half-nekkid clinch on the cover. I expected “light and fluffy”, but got something meatier and deeper and that packed quite a punch. Having been a caregiver for my mom who also had Alzheimer’s as Shelby’s mom did touched such a tender place in my heart that I couldn’t help shedding a few tears and nodding sympathetically with Shelby. I’m going to UBS this weekend to try to find more Molly O’Keefe, and I’ll definitely read this one. Thanks for a great review.

    I tried to follow Lisa Kleypas into contemporaries, but stopped after reading Sugar Daddy and then struggling through Blue-Eyed Devil. The strength for me in SD was in the first half with Liberty’s coming of age story. I cheered for her and the challenges she met head on in taking care of her sister. But the romance was just meh to me. I think some people liked Blue-Eyed Devil a lot, but I just never quite connected with Haven. I saw recently on Twitter that Lisa Kleypas is coming back to historicals. I’m a little nervous about that because the last three or four she wrote while also writing contemporaries lacked a spark those wonderful ones like Dreaming Of You and Devil In Winter had in spades.

    I did follow Linda Howard from category to full-length romantic suspense. There have been a few stinkers, but I still love the way she can deliver emotional intensity with such an economy of words. Cry No More was excellent as are Dream Man, Mr. Perfect, All The Queen’s Men, and Death Angel to name a few. Up Close and Dangerous was more a survival story and light on the romance, but both main characters were fascinating, and Prey had this weird POV from a bear (yes, a bear.) She wrote a few historicals which were pretty good, but her one time travel/historical – Son of the Morning – is one I’ve read many times.

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    • Miss B. is so glad that you found Molly O’Keefe’s work; she’s been reading her for a long time and rejoices that you’ve got so many to discover and read for the first time. The categories are how Miss B. discovered her and they still rank as some of her favourite category romances ever, especially And Baby Makes Three (a church bazaar find/coup) and Wife For One Night. Moreover, the first two books in the Crooked Creek Ranch trilogy, Can’t Hurry Love and Can’t Buy Me Love are stupendous, so Miss Bates hopes you read those! (Miss B. hopes you read them all!)

      She’s so sorry to hear about your mom; your were a good daughter to take care of her, a loving mission and an important one in one’s life, to care for children and the elderly. Sarah Mayberry has a great category, The Last Good-Bye about the hero taking care of his ailing father. She doesn’t pull any punches on that relationship and, in that way, ensures that you don’t easily forget that aspect of the novel. The romance is lovely too. 😉

      Miss Bates too is a Kleypas and Howard fan! As a matter of fact, Mr. Perfect was the first romantic suspense she ever read and she loved it. She loved Dream Man and, as a result of these two novels, she has every Howard book, including the categories, in the Tottering TBR … not the more recent stuff, but A LOT! She loved Mackenzie’s Mountain. She really ought to do a Howard post one of these days. She’s wanted to read Son Of the Morning for ages and now that you’ve endorsed it …

      Miss B., like you, has read ALL of the Kleypas historicals: Dreaming Of You, Because You’re Mine, and The Wallflowers, especially Devil In Winter are favourites. She tried to read Sugar Daddy and gave up on it half-way, but the series she really couldn’t abide was that Lake Something magical realism one. She’s cautiously optimistic about Kleypas’ return to historicals, hoping that the time away has renewed her and we’ll see the likes of Sebastian again. *fingers crossed*

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      • I have Can’t Hurry Love and Can’t Buy Love ready to go on Kindle. I’m adding And Baby Makes Three and Wife For One Night under my Molly O’Keefe wish list because of your endorsement. 🙂 as well as adding Sarah Mayberry’s The Last Good-Bye.

        Oh, Mackenzie’s Mountain … what a wonderful book that is, so good! It was my first Linda Howard book, and I followed it with Mackenzie’s Mission, Mackenzie’s Pleasure, Mackenzie’s Magic, and the last, A Game of Chance. All excellent, but Wolf and Mary’s story is my favorite in the series. I didn’t realize until I was reorganizing my bookcases last year how big a fan I am of Linda Howard – an entire shelf all her own! A Linda Howard post would be wonderful, and I’ll be looking forward to it. Thank you for all the recommendations.

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        • You’re most welcome! Miss B. also read Mackenzie’s Mission and loved it, but yes, Mountain is the favourite, it’s obvious to see why. Wolf and Mary, both such wonderful characters. Miss B. accidentally bumped into a lady in the romance section of our soon-to-close bookstore downtown and we got into quite the convo about Howard’s Mackenzie’s Mountain. She told me about how she was 80 and lost her husband last year, how romance has comforted her and served as companion and … sorry, MissB’s all teary writing this … how she started reading romance when he put one in her Christmas stocking. Wow, what a story.

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      • I’m with you on the Kleypas. I couldn’t get into the Sugar Daddy series books at all and I thought the magical realism ones were competent, but could have been written by almost anyone. Whereas the Wallflowers & her other historicals are glued onto my keeper shelf. Devil in Winter is probably my favorite historical of all time. Random lines from it will run through my head at the oddest moments! “That will be half a crown.” being the most frequent one. 🙂

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        • Miss Bates doesn’t know what it is, but Kleypas historical romances are just so wonderful. She thinks that Kleypas is fearless about emotional intensity and she’s not afraid of melodrama. And it’s all very very sexy too.

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  3. I really like Molly O’Keefe’s contemporaries, so I may give her historical a try.

    I’ve had mixed results with romance authors who have changed course — especially those who moved out romance into mysteries and thrillers. For example back in the day, I found Janet Evanovich’s early Loveswepts categories okay, but I became really tired, really fast of her Stephanie Plum mysteries.I had the same problem with Sandra Brown. I’ve had more success with authors who switch back and forth between romance sub-genres. Jayne Ann Krentz’s early Amanda Quick historicals were great fun, light reads. I’ve enjoy some of Lisa Kleypas’s contemporaries (although I liked her historicals more) and I think Nalini Singh is a far better writer of paranormal romances than she is of category contemporaries (so I’m glad she changed course). And Georgette Heyer was a far better writer of Georgian/Regency romances than she was of “serious” historical fiction (especially historical fiction set in the Middle Ages) or serious “literary” fiction or even mysteries (although I do like many of the mysteries).

    And I love Prof. David Blight’s podcasts on the US Civil War. He’s a prof at Yale and his intro course lectures on the war are on iTunes U. (The course is called: The Civil War and the Reconstruction Era, 1845-1877.) He’s a gifted lecturer and the course gives you a very good overview into one of the most important and confusing events in US history — 150 years after the war, the USA is still trying to come to terms with its effects.

    And just a small correction, the US Civil War ended in 1865, not in 1885 (so 20 years before Riel’s execution).

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    • Thank you so much for pointing that out! Miss Bates is really really bad with numbers, always mixing them up and such. She made the correction, phew. Sadly, Miss B-Blogger doesn’t have an post-editor to point these things out. 🙂

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    • Miss Bates hopes you do give O’Keefe’s historical a try. She also hopes that O’Keefe writes a meatier one next time; she can see that it would benefit from some scope.

      Miss Bates hasn’t read Evanovich (though she’s read a lot of mysteries, she likes them with a bit more gravitas; a big fan of Julia Spencer-Fleming, for example), nor Brown. She’s also never read Amanda Quick/Jayne Anne Krentz, but she really appreciated and agreed with your comment about switching between genres. Those are the writers she’s enjoyed the most too: case in point being the most obvious and successful, Nora Roberts/J. D. Robb. She’s definitely a Kleypas fan herself, but the contemporaries and especially the magic realism left her cold. As for Heyer, she’s likely to read the mysteries, but historical fiction, though she used to love it, she doesn’t enjoy as much any more.

      Thank you very much for the podcast rec. Miss B. is always on the lookout for something to listen to that would teach her new things. She’s a great fan of Ideas on CBC Radio One.

      She’d highly highly recommend one of her favourite 2013 American-Civil-War-set romances, Emma Barry’s Brave In Heart. Barry really knows and brings the setting to life, with all its complications and tragedies and the romance is divine.

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  4. I am a bit sad about one of my very favourite category romance writers, Sarah Morgan, whose career is now more focussed on single title romances. The single titles are fine and I enjoy them, but I really miss her categories. I think she is still supposed to be writing the occasional one, but it’s been a while since she had one come out.

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    • You know, Miss B. hasn’t tried Morgan’s single-title romance yet, though they are there, winking at her from the Tottering TBR. But if Morgan isn’t going to write category as much anymore, she’s going to really really miss her HPs. 😦

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  5. Thank you for that lovely review! As you know, I am also a big fan of Molly O’Keefe books, and I definitely notice a difference in the emotional content of her stories between her Crooked Creek Ranch Series and the Boys of Bishop series. I found Seduced to be very interesting in terms of looking at the civil war with a much more serious eye, and I am also looking forward to Steven and Anne’s book. I have yet to read any of her category books, as I only discovered her in the last year, with my return to reading romance novels.

    I was a huge fan of Stephanie James category titles in Silhouette Desire and Silhouette Intimate Moments (if you remember those!) in the early 90s. Then I discovered this wonderful author Amanda Quick who wrote delightful historical romances. Following that I found a contemporary romance author who wrote romantic suspense named Jayne Ann Krentz. Lo and behold – all the same person!! (who incidentally also wrote paranormals as Jayne Castle). The link between all of the books were plots filled with sexual tension ,strong and often quirky female leads (especially in the historicals) and alpha male heroes, which was why I loved them all, but didn’t really find the plots to be all that different. Therefore it was easy to follow her from one genre to another 🙂 She is one of my all time favourite authors.

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    • Miss Bates found what you said about O’Keefe’s development very interesting because it echoed what Amy Jo Cousins said as well. Those are the most compelling and worthy writers, those who hone their craft and take risks, are willing to change, try out a new sub-genre. However, she has noticed that when romance writers leave the genre altogether, they are less likely to be followed and endorsed by their romance readers. We like what we like and we like to be surprised and see variety in the genre (and many of us read mysteries as well), but not a complete abandonment. Those who have the greatest success, on the other hand, are the writers who criss-cross into a variety of sub-genres.

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  6. I loved this book. I appreciated the way O’Keefe used the historical setting — it was integral to the story, and yet specific real events and personages didn’t need to appear, except as backstory. Broken people trying to rebuild is what the post-War era was largely about, and trying to start over in the West was not uncommon. I thought the level of detail/recall was just right; it helped make sense of the characters without overwhelming them.

    I think I most liked something that you didn’t — the uncertainty at the beginning. I loved being outside of the “formula”! I wasn’t sure who the hero and heroine were right away, and I enjoyed that. We are each the main character of our own story, after all, and I liked that the possibility was there for any of these people to step forward, make choices, change and grow, and fall in love. And I purely loved the way that Jimmy was dealt with.

    As an aside on Canadian history, I once played John MacDonald in a play about the aftermath of the 1837 rebellions. I found a lot in that play that reminded me of the effects of the Civil War in the US, albeit on a smaller scale.

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    • Miss Bates agrees with your take on the balance of historical setting/time, character development in light of, and a neatly contained plot, what we might call a closed-room romance, which was a great use of the shorter length. To echo your apt description of what the novella does so well, even though it wasn’t in Miss B.’s review, she loved the following exchange between Cole and Melody: ” ‘The history of our country should not be written in the blood of slaves. It is an abomination.’ ‘Without slaves there will be no cotton,’ she said. ‘Then there will be no cotton. It won’t be the end of the country.’ ‘It may be the end of the South,’ she said and he could not argue.” Now, that sums up the whole mess quite succinctly with some great dialogue, which also furthers the relationship. As for Jimmy, O’Keefe dealt with him in the Best Way Possible and most unconventionally to what we often see of the hero taking over a situation instead of handing it over.

      Miss Bates loves the alternate perspective you brought to the start of the novella. It helped her see it in a different light. It does do that, what you described.

      How cool!! 🙂 that you were John MacDonald, our first prime minister and NOT a beloved figure to Quebecers who sided and side with Louis Riel, yes, a smaller scale … but still feeding the fires of disunity.

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  7. I just finished this one (because if you tell me to read a book, I do it quickly), and you’re right: it’s lovely. And I’m with you on that surprising thing… I should have expected it, but it still shocked me. (But you know what? I thought it was perfect, and I’m so glad it happened that way. I think a lot about heroines’ agency in romance novels… if there’s one thing Melody’s got in this book, it’s agency, and that’s wonderful, all things considered.)

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    • You are spot on. And gave Miss Bates a full-belly-chuckle at the your “quick reading” of her rec. Miss Bates was shocked as well and she thinks that natural, but she’ll leave it be in her review that she wishes it could have happened otherwise. In retrospect, what “otherwise” was there? Cole? Or, a deux ex machina lumbering in and dealing with Jimmy, falling into a ravine, or off a horse. MissB’d have hated that. And since one of her great feminist heroes is Judge Bertha Wilson, who wrote the Canadian Supreme Court decision which struck down the law regulating abortion, as well as the one on “battered person syndrome,” well, O’Keefe did exactly what she had to do to make her novella apt, woman-positive, and hero-perfect. Many kudos to what could have just been another instance of vigilante justice, but wasn’t.

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  8. I stumbled across O’Keefe entirely by accident – when she e-mailed me about reviewing Wife For One Night. I loved that book so much, I was totally irrational for days afterward. When I heard she wrote a historical western I literally started twirling around in circles and flapping my hands. There might have been squee’ing on Twitter involved.

    I’m not proud of any of this.

    And man, I really liked this story. I loved the uncertainty in the beginning (for the same reason it resonated with SonomaLass) and I loved the internal angst of it all. It reminded me so much of why I love historical western romances – the “second chances,” the redemptive story lines, the life-and-death conflict. Hey, small towns can be great – but just like contemporary romances, they tend to overrun westerns. I’m always on the lookout for the exact opposite – which is what O’Keefe did here.

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    • Miss Bates is of the opinion that you should be proud of this! She’s been an O’Keefe fan for a long, long time; O’Keefe is one of the few romance authors of whom she NEVER tires. She’s always doing something new and interesting and she is a stylist: the writing matters. So she deserves all the love and accolades. (Also, Miss Bates just finished the second Boys of Bishop book and loved it).

      Seduced is not more and no less that everything O’Keefe does so well. Miss Bates admits she had her doubts about it: not all writers can make such a cross-over and do it so well. But O’Keefe totally does so here. There was a true beauty to the ideas of the story: that planting the earth is redemptive, that love is possible even in the worst of places and circumstances. Miss Bates’ only beef is that she thought it was too SHORT!

      She totally gets your reaction to Wife For One Night; she’d plan to read it anyway, but your review sent Miss B. over the edge to “Right NOW!” She felt that way about O’Keefe’s Baby Makes Three: she loved that book to pieces and flogs it right, left, and centre whenever she can. She’s going to assume you’ve read it.

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  9. Pingback: REVIEW: Molly O’Keefe’s NEVER BEEN KISSED, Or The Flower and The Watering-Can | Miss Bates Reads Romance

  10. I just had to tell you that I picked up Molly’s His Wife For One Night and Tyler O’Neills Redemption today at HQN as they were having a buy one get one free sale (if you need any more HQN books, the checkout code is BG822NB today only Aug 22/14). I also bought 2 Victoria Dahl ones (you can buy as many as you want but it’s the lower priced books that will be free of course). I picked these ones of Molly because I know you’ve mentioned them as some of your favourites 🙂

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    • Miss Bates cannot WAIT to hear what you think about them: His Wife For One Night is one of her favourite categories: so original, well-written, and such real people. Loved it. Also loved the mood of the O’Neills. But Miss B. won’t say too much not to ruin the novels for you.

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