Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Book Review: Engaging Western Romance

      I received a complimentary copy of A River to Cross from Bethany House Publishing. A River to Cross by Yvonne Harris captures your heart immediately. In this historical western romance set in 1886, the reader is transported to El Paso, Texas when tensions ran high between the still-blossoming United States and Mexico. Manuel Diego, a scoundrel-of-a-general,  wants to take over the Mexican government.  Diego motivated by vengeance due to an article naming him suspect in the goings-on of El Paso kills Lloyd Madison, newspaper publisher. Elizabeth Evans witnesses the murder of her brother, Madison, and becomes a pawn in Diego's scheme.  Consequently, Elizabeth, a senator's daughter is kidnapped by Diego's men, as he tries to build hostility between the two countries.
     And now the romance comes in for the romantic-at-heart. Jake Nelson, Texas Ranger, comes to Elizabeth's rescue and in the process rescues her heart. As a widow, Elizabeth is bent on not allowing any man capture her heart. Love ensues as the Rangers grab Elizabeth in the middle of the night and head back for the border to the United States. When all is said and done, A River to Cross ends on a happy note.
     Yvonne Harris evidently put a lot of time into her writing. I was impressed with the historical accuracy and research used in this volume. There is an inherent cultural flair to the book from beginning to end. She vividly paints the scene for the reader without bei\ng overly wordy. " From a distance, the whitewashed mud houses looked swept together against the mountain, their tile roofs touching. A sandstone church with a modest cross stood at one end of a large arcaded square; the school the two Romero boys attended, at the other."
      The character portrayal is consistent throughout the chapters, though you can identify the characters' development and growth. Elizabeth Evans begins as a widowed woman, out of her element who is thrown into a dangerous situation, causing her to draw on her own strength. In the process she finds her heart opening to a man she intended not to love. She began searching for herself in timidity and came out strong and assured.
     The only aspect I found odd while reading, was that in the middle Harris seemed so focused on the development of the romance between Jake and Elizabeth, I almost forgot about the surrounding political story. Then in the last third of the book when the Mexican general and military come into play, it seemed like a surprise. That said, Harris did a lovely job and the history of the book made up for any shortcomings. A River to Cross is filled with realistic characters, historical accuracy and a romance that would make any woman swoon. If you are die-hard, gooey, romance addict this volume probably isn't for you. However, if you are like me and can appreciate a romance novel without the fluff, then A River to Cross would certainly benefit your shelf. Happy reading!

Click here to purchase A River to Cross from Barnes & Noble.

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