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– whichI also enjoy– aslong as she comes back to the West). And once again, she has notdisappointed. The Rustler opens as WyattYarbro contemplates a herd of cattle and the gang of outlaws he’s 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 attheinvitation of his brother Rowdy…
(let’s pause for a moment and ponder thename Rowdy… Rowdy? Really?It’snot the WORST name in the history of WRN but it’spretty 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 couldgo 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. Whoshouldhe see pounding away at the organ but Sarah Tamlin. And he just knows, she is the one. A great strength of Miller’s? The connection she establishes between her characters right away.
Miss Tamlin, daughter toa banker, isn’t all sweetness and light either,somethingWyatt is just fine with. She has secrets (which she writes down in a little book and keeps it with her at all times)– namelyan illigetimate son with a prominent Philadelphia businessman. Enter THE BAD GUY–Charles Langstreet rides into town on the noon train bringing Sarah’s boy, Owen with him and a whole list of things to accomplish. What ensues is a fast-paced novel with deeply drawn characters (Sarah’s father Ephriam, Doc, Kitty Steel)who really get you to FEEL their pain and understand their decisions.
Things I Liked:
The Rustler has an interestingpremise as Miller takes on a reformed outlaw.She doesn’t make excuses forWyatt. The things he did were bad and he was punished for them. Butthen again, she doesn’t 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 fromthevery beginning. He does not shrink from his past, he’s straight up honest– a perfect contrast to Sarah’sneed to lie about everything.
The novel is a very fast read but Miller doesn’t skimp on the emotional details. With the weavings of an experienced writer, she manages to combine action and emotion into one compactstory.
Owen– romancewriters 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 butthere was not an overdose of the perfect child syndrome. And Wyatt’s reaction to Owen (“I wish he were my boy”) added another layer of contentment for me.
I felt as though the majority ofthenovel was told from Wyatt’s point of view which is a nice change of pace.
Things I Disliked:
Thebooked ended abruptly, I felt as though it were rushed.
I just KNEW what was going to happen to Charlesas soon asthebook started rushing towardtheend.
There were some clichesbut I can overlook those in light of such a good read.
Released ~ Oct 1, 2008
Series ~ Stone Creek Series also includesThe Man From Stone Creek, A Wanted Man,A Stone Creek Christmas (availableDecember 1, 2008)
Favorite Linda Lael Miller Book: McKettrick's Choice
Just a Midwest girl with a slightly neurotic twist and a crazy dream of becoming a working writer. Why?
1. I'm a Hopeless Romantic
2. There are voices in my head
3. There is nothing more appealing than a good story.
But aspiring writers can't buy groceries with unread manuscript pages so first, I must go to work. And do my dreaming there.
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