Cheryl St. John’s and Sherri Shackelford’s COWBOY CREEK CHRISTMAS

Cowboy_Creek_ChristmasMissB’s been very busy at the day-job and preparing for Pascha to get a lot of reading done. Though it’s seasonally months-late and incongruous given the Paschal season, she thought she’d try one of her not-yet-reviewed Christmas romances. Maybe get that warm glow of hope going. And … novellas, short reads are good when your time is at a premium. Yet it still took her ages to get through them, despite being possessed of some of Miss B’s favourite tropes. St. John’s “Mistletoe Reunion” has a proto-feminist, no-nonsense alternative medicine doctor-heroine, Dr. Marlys Boyd, and the man she left to be educated and practice her profession, newspaperman and widowed father, Sam Mason. Theirs is a reunited-fiancé(e)s romance with doubt and hurt on the hero’s part and a reassessment of her life-choices on the heroine’s. Shackelford’s “Mistletoe Bride” is a marriage-of-convenience romance, Miss B’s favourite histrom trope. Newly-arrived Austrian immigrant mail-order bride, Beatrix Haas, arrives in Cowboy Creek, Kansas, only to be told that the man she was to marry, Sheriff Quincy Davis, was killed by a local gang. When farrier-hero Colton Werner meets her, it’s because he’s been summoned by the mid-wife to help translate from Beatrix’s German as she labors to give birth. Beatrix travelled to Kansas to give her baby a name and Quincy Davis, it seems, was willing to do so. Now, the realization that she’s near-death and her baby to be born thus and left without a care-giver is devastating. Until Colton offers to marry her, even knowing she might die and he left with an infant’s care.  Continue reading

Review: Elizabeth Camden’s INTO THE WHIRLWIND “Do Not Go Gently”

Into The WhirlwindAfter two lemons, Miss Bates finally scored a peach in Elizabeth Camden’s Into The Whirlwind. It’s not sweet, but it’s refreshing and substantial. Miss Bates sought to read Camden’s effort after the recommendation that Against The Tide received from Dear Author. There is much to love about this story, says Miss Bates, but there are caveats and warnings for the unsuspecting reader. The narrative is sweeping, interesting, and well-written. The hero and heroine are admirable, likeable, and real. This novel is designated as “inspirational” and “romantic,” but exhibits a dearth of both, which is not to say that you shouldn’t read it. You should; pleasure awaits you. It is a novel that requires patience and understanding as character is revealed, internal worlds unfold, as we come to know and love our hero and heroine and all who surround them. We have to enter “into the whirlwind” with Zack and Mollie, the people they interact with, and the stalwart, hard-working, resilient, teeming city of Chicago at one of the most difficult and triumphant moments in its history; Chicago is as much a character as the fictive figures who make their lives in it. Read on, for Miss Bates’s further assessment of this complex novel