This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.
This book was simply a delight to read! I was completely swept away by this wonderful story filled with characters that will stay with me. I used to read a lot of western historical romances but haven't picked up in years. I really decided to read this book on a whim and what a good decision that turned out to be. This was a book that was nearly impossible for me to put down once I started reading and I ended up finishing it in less than 24 hours. This book had so many wonderful elements that just seemed to work together flawlessly.
Duel McClain is a character that I won't be forgetting anytime soon. At the start of the story, Duel wins a little girl in a poker game. It quickly becomes obvious that while he has good intentions, he has no idea what he is doing. As luck would have it, Jessie finds her way to his campsite needing help. She is able to help Duel care for Marley Rose while he works to keep her safe. They have all been through some really tough times but together they seem to be stronger and really make a wonderful family.
I fell in love with these characters. Duel was such a good man. He was always trying to do the honorable thing and put other people's needs above his own. Jessie went through some horrible things before meeting Duel. She is a survivor and doesn't make excuses. She is honest with Duel from the very beginning despite what she thought it might cost her. She was such a caring person and her strength never ceased to amaze me. Marley Rose really helped to bring them together. The love the three of them shared really melted my heart.
I thought this story was really original. I am always looking for something that is a little different when I pick up a book. This one was a pleasant surprise. Duel and Jessie had such vivid and heartbreaking backstories that I was immediately hooked. Their romance was built on trust and respect and was at a much slower pace than I would have expected. There was plenty of excitement to keep the story interesting and the end of the book turned out to be quite intense.
I would highly recommend this book to fans of historical romance. I am really excited that this is the beginning of a new series because I can't wait to read more. This is the first book by Linda Broday that I have read but she has definitely captured my attention with this one.
I received an advance reader edition of this book from Sourcebooks Casablanca via NetGalley.
What a wonderful story this was! Duel and Jessie were wonderful together and Marley Rose was too cute for words. It has been a really long time since I picked up a western historical novel and I am really wondering why that is because I loved reading this book.