Tuesday, October 7, 2008

This Girl Recommends - The Rustler (Linda Lael Miller)

The Rustler by Linda Lael Miller

I have a self-acknowledge obsession with Western Romance Novels. In the previous years, the amount of WRNs available has dropped to a depressingly low number but I THINK we are starting to see a rise (fingers crossed).

But I can always count on Linda Lael Miller (and forgive her for straying into contemporary territory  which I also enjoy  as long as she comes back to the West). And once again, she has not disappointed. The Rustler opens as Wyatt Yarbro contemplates a herd of cattle and the gang of outlaws hes recently joined up with. Does he REALLY want to rustle these steers? Before he can make a true decision, lightening strikes (literally!) and his life is forever changed. Wyatt comes to Stone Creek at the invitation of his brother Rowdy 

(lets pause for a moment and ponder the name Rowdy  Rowdy? Really? Its not the WORST name in the history of WRN but its pretty close. I propose a petition to put an end to all really horrible/overused names for romance heroes. Rafe must go  Chance too. Maverick. I could go on, but that would be boring and possibly damaging to the eyes.)

 Where was I? Right. So Wyatt comes to Stone Creek in the middle of a religious revival. Who should he see pounding away at the organ but Sarah Tamlin. And he just knows, she is the one. A great strength of Millers? The connection she establishes between her characters right away.

Miss Tamlin, daughter to a banker, isnt all sweetness and light either, something Wyatt is just fine with. She has secrets (which she writes down in a little book and keeps it with her at all times)  namely an illigetimate son with a prominent Philadelphia businessman. Enter THE BAD GUY  Charles Langstreet rides into town on the noon train bringing Sarahs boy, Owen with him and a whole list of things to accomplish. What ensues is a fast-paced novel with deeply drawn characters (Sarahs father Ephriam, Doc, Kitty Steel) who really get you to FEEL their pain and understand their decisions.

Things I Liked:

  • The Rustler has an interesting premise as Miller takes on a reformed outlaw. She doesnt make excuses for Wyatt. The things he did were bad and he was punished for them. But then again, she doesnt delve too deep. A perfect combination. I was able to like him and believe he wanted to change.
  • Wyatt makes his feelings for Sarah known from the very beginning. He does not shrink from his past, hes straight up honest  a perfect contrast to Sarahs need to lie about everything.
  • The novel is a very fast read but Miller doesnt skimp on the emotional details. With the weavings of an experienced writer, she manages to combine action and emotion into one compact story.
  • Owen  romance writers have a tendency to fall into the children trap as I like to call it and make kids in the story WAAAAAAY too sweet and lovable. Owen was sweet and lovable but there was not an overdose of the perfect child syndrome. And Wyatts reaction to Owen (I wish he were my boy) added another layer of contentment for me.
  • I felt as though the majority of the novel was told from Wyatts point of view which is a nice change of pace.

Things I Disliked:

  • The booked ended abruptly, I felt as though it were rushed.
  • I just KNEW what was going to happen to Charles as soon as the book started rushing toward the end.
  • There were some cliches but I can overlook those in light of such a good read.


Released ~ Oct 1, 2008

Price ~ $7.99

Series ~ Stone Creek Series also includes The Man From Stone Creek, A Wanted Man, A Stone Creek Christmas (available December 1, 2008)

Favorite Linda Lael Miller Book: McKettrick's Choice

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