3 stars and a half

Historical Romance Review: Texas Storm by Deana James

Texas Storm, Deana James, Zebra 1986, Pino cover art

SPOLIER ALERT ⚠

3 1/2 stars

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Plot

It’s the mid-1830’s and Scottish immigrant Reiver MacPherson has been granted lands by the new Texas government. The dilapidated property he acquired belonged to an old Spanish family, but the place is now abandoned. Or at least Reiver thinks it is, because to his surprise, there he finds an emaciated young wisp of a girl, Mercedes-Maria, whose family once owned the lands but has fled to Mexico, leaving her behind. So begins Deana James’ Texas Storm.

Mercedes is a bit of a wild child, and at first, Reiver has no patience for her. She insists the land is hers; he claims it’s is. The two butt heads but eventually agree to work together. Slowly, a romance unfolds as the pair get to know one another—sexual attraction forms. With James’ trademark earthy sensuality describing the passages, their passion results in vivid lovemaking sessions.

Mercedes & Reiver get married more out of convenience than love. However, their love grows as they experience adventure after adventure.

They tame wild horses across the Llano Estacado (The Staked Plains) & amass a substantial sum of money, turning Reiver into a respected patron.

Later on in the book, Mercedes is kidnapped by Comanches and must use her wits to survive, while Reiver rounds up people to save her. She meets and takes in an orphaned “half-breed” Comanche boy who’s an outcast from his tribe. This young boy will show up in a later Deana James book Texas Tempest as the hero, MacPherson. With her smarts and Reiver’s will, Mercedes is eventually rescued.

Life out West will always be filled with hardship, but together, Reiver and Mercedes-Maria can overcome the obstacle that comes their way.

Final Analysis of Texas Storm

If you’re a lover of hardcore westerns, Texas Storm will make a fine addition to your collection. Deana James is to westerns was Roberta Gellis is to medievals. I was absolutely immersed in the history and feel of the times. Reiver didn’t lack brave or heroic qualities as a leading man, but this was Mercedes-Maria’s story. As usual with James, she writes amazing, multi-faceted heroines, each woman different and strong in her own way.

Unfortunately, I lost this book somewhere along the halfway point, and for that reason, the rhythm of the story was disturbed as I read it. So for me, Texas Storm wasn’t an “Oh my gosh, I love this book” read, but a satisfactory western romance about two hard-driven people and dangers the early American frontier people faced.

All in all, though, it’s much better than many other Zebra romances I’ve read over the years.

3 replies »

  1. Hi, Jacqueline.

    Love your review, as always. You bring up a very good point about “Texas Storm”. I too found myself losing a bit of interest at a point in the book, perhaps further along than you did. It was really the only bad thing about the book. This, sadly, was something I found to be the case in most of the books in the “Texas” series with the exception of “Captive Angel”, where the book would hit a point where the plot got lost and never found its way back to where it needed to be.

    • I truly appreciate how you and I share similar feelings on certain reads, and also that we can differ in what appeals to us and respect those differences!

      A book like Captive Angel is rather hard to enjoy if one is looking for a rosy romance. You and I were able to put aside that misgiving and accept the emotional intensity the novel provided. On the other hand, you disliked James’ Texas Star because of the Stockholm syndrome trope, while I overlooked that because I was drawn to the heroine’s character arc. I haven’t reviewed that book yet, but I’d like to do a “dueling reviews” special where one reviewer’s opinion contrasts with another. One person’s all-time favorite might be another one’s dud, and I think it’s fair to post both perspectives. The reviews provided on this site are for fun, not to tell anyone what they should or shouldn’t read.

  2. Hi, Jacqueline.

    I agree that it is nice to find someone who shares some similar views to mine in regard to books and that we can respect each other’s differences. That doesn’t happen much in society these days.

    I LOVE the :dueling reviews” concept (as i read that line, “Dueling Banjos” by Eric Weissberg starts playing in my head). We would have to find a book we both have read (possibly “Texas Star”. You rated it 5 stars, I gave it 1 star). You are also absolutely correct about the reviews posted are for fun. I would never say “Don’t buy this book” or anything like that. People like what they like, and people have a right to their opinions, as long as they are not hurting anyone else directly.

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