MINI-REVIEW: Trish Milburn’s THE TEXAN’S COWGIRL BRIDE

Texan's_Cowgirl_BrideMiss Bates is always interested in a romance novel portraying an ill hero, or heroine (though it’s interesting that she has yet to read an ill hero). As Fitzgerald’s narrator, Nick Carraway, said in The Great Gatsby, ” … there was no difference between men, in intelligence or race, so profound as the difference between the sick and the well.” This has made for some great romance novels; in both cases, the heroine is ill, or recovering from a life-threatening illness: Donna Alward’s How A Cowboy Stole Her Heart and Karina Bliss’ Here Comes the Groom. Indeed, how a romance writer treats the topic (sorry for the pun) makes for compelling reading, especially the hero and heroine’s navigation of their relationship in mortality’s crosshairs. It’s the only reason Miss Bates made it through the sole J. R. Ward Blackdagger Brotherhood novel she ever read, Lover Eternal. (She quite liked it, but one was enough, thank you.) Trish Milburn’s The Texan’s Cowgirl Bride, a mouthful of a title, held that promise for Miss Bates. She really, really wanted to like the story of Savannah Baron, peach-pie-baker par excellence and store-owner, faced with a life-threatening illness, and soldier-turned-private-investigator, widowed hero, Travis Shepard. Milburn’s romance novel is set up with interesting premises: its problems lie in their execution. Continue reading

REVIEW: Irene Hannon’s TRAPPED, Or An Honourable Man Can’t Be Thwarted

TrappedMiss Bates never recovered from Jonathan Demme’s brilliant Silence Of the Lambs as the thriller par excellence, despite the critical controversy it garnered then and since.  And if Miss Bates hasn’t rallied (her discombobulation matched only by the effect of the Dutch film, The Vanishing … kept her sleepless for three nights) from Demme’s horror/thriller film, thriller writers haven’t either.  Irene Hannon’s contemporary, inspirational thriller, Trapped, runs in this vein.  It does not reach Silence‘s heights of horror frissons, portray the killer’s and pursuer’s psychological make-up with the same astuteness and precision, or wow us with penetratingly chilly dialogue, but it kept Miss Bates engaged and … poised and tense for the next scene.  The faith content was relatively minor; the romance, on the other hand, was more interesting than the suspense.  Hannon’s ideas about redemption, second chances, forgiveness, and hope are powerful, but their execution is clichéd. She could have told a more original story, but she did not fail to tell an interesting one.  Continue reading for Miss Bates’s verdict on Hannon’s romantic, Christian thriller