Beloved Betrayal by Carol Finch is a Zebra historical rom-com that demonstrates the healing power of love–and laughter.Beloved Betrayal by Carol Finch
Imprint or Line: Zebra Lovegram
Published by: Kensington
Genres: Historical Romance, Western Romance
Buy on: Amazon, AbeBooks
Reviewed by: Blue Falcon
TOTAL SPOILER ALERT ⚠
This review is of Beloved Betrayal, a standalone Zebra Lovegram historical romance by Carol Finch. With strong characterization and a wonderful sense of fun, Carole Finch creates a fantastic historical rom-com.
Beloved Betrayal starts in Chicago in February 1836. It is here that Sabrina Spencer, the book’s heroine, has just completed a stage performance.
Sabrina is an actress/dancer/singer with a performing company. After her performance, Sabrina gets a telegram stating her father, Ivan, a Major in the U.S. Army, was killed at Fort Camby, New Mexico, where he was stationed.
Sabrina is convinced that Ivan’s death is the result of foul play, so she leaves the repertory and decides to travel to New Mexico to investigate her father’s death herself.
Fast forward nearly two months. Sabrina has made her way to Independence, Missouri, to request a military escort to New Mexico. She doesn’t receive it but does get an escort from Ridge Tanner, the hero of the book.
Ridge is an Indian agent at the fort, albeit reluctantly, as he vehemently disagrees with the government’s treatment of the Navajo Indian tribes.
Sabrina disguises herself as an old woman named Samantha Stewart–because Ridge is a womanizer–and she and Ridge set off for New Mexico.
Sabrina rips Ridge up one side and down the other before he gets revenge, first by getting her drunk. Then literally stripping her of her disguise before they become lovers.
As they make their way to New Mexico, they help an old man and his daughter fight off outlaws. This, however, creates more problems for Sabrina and Ridge as the old man, Noel Foster, is a lecher. His granddaughter, Clarice–although she portrays herself as sweet and innocent–is a predatory female who tries to force Ridge into marriage.
Ridge does get married…to Sabrina/Samantha, as Clarice forces them to marry at gunpoint.
After a misunderstanding, Sabrina leaves Ridge and heads on her own to Fort Canby, New Mexico.
There, she finds two soldiers, Army Paymaster George Winship and fort Commander Lorimer Bowen, who assumed command after Ivan’s death. They are the people Sabrina and Ridge believe killed Ivan. Sabrina thinks it’s Winship, while Ridge, who has also arrived in New Mexico, believes Bowen is the killer.
They’re both right and wrong.
While Bowen and Winship were involved in Ivan’s death, there was one other person whom Sabrina and Ridge didn’t suspect was the mastermind. That person is killed, and the others are brought to justice.
Sabrina and Ridge break up, however, after he gets angry at her. Later, she discovers she’s pregnant with his child. Sabrina later gives birth to a son and resumes her acting career.
The scene shifts to Washington, D.C., where Sabrina is performing. At a party she’s at, Ridge shows up. After arguing and making love, Sabrina and Ridge resolve their differences, marry, and spend their lives in New Mexico enjoying their Happily Ever After.
Sabrina and Ridge are both strong characters. Ms. Finch does a great job mixing “rom-com” elements with traditional historical romance in Beloved Betrayal.
Sabrina’s experience as an actress gives her knowledge of costumes, hair, and makeup. She puts these skills to good–and highly amusing–use throughout the book. Ms. Finch knows how to write a funny romance novel.
Those skills also mask Sabrina’s inner pain, as she is the product of a five-time married mother who didn’t care at all for her daughter and a father whom she loved but lost when she was 15. She starts the book very cynical toward males, who only want her for her beauty and body. Sabrina has to learn how to love, which she does.
Ridge also evolves during the book. He starts out as a womanizer who is only interested in women for their bodies and nothing else.
Like Sabrina, he is also hiding his pain. Ridge grew up with the Navajo Indians, and now he sees them losing their land and their heritage, and he can’t do anything to change that. With Sabrina’s help, Ridge learns how to love, too.
Not much in Beloved Betrayal. But the unmasking of the villains could have been more exciting.
Ms. Finch’s love scenes are neither descriptive, exciting, nor erotic.
What they do have, however, is violet-level purple prose.
Sabrina slaps Ridge twice. There are also shootings and killings. None of the violence is graphic.
Bottom Line on Beloved Betrayal
Readers who like a bit of humor to go with their romance novels will find much to like in Connie Finch’s Beloved Betrayal.
|Rating Report Card|
SHE LOOKED LIKE A WITCH
Despite the dangers, Sabrina Spencer was determined to go to New Mexico and find her father’s killer. To protect herself from unwanted advances, the shapely blond actress donned a gray wig and veiled hat and swaddled herself in a padded gown before blackmailing rugged Ridge Tanner into guiding her to Fort Canby. But the costume soon became her prison – for the passionate beauty had fallen head over heels for her virile companion!
SHE FELT LIKE AN ANGELBELOVED BETRAYAL by CAROLE FINCH
Ridge Tanner knew something was amiss. So when the mysterious woman fell asleep one night, the jet-haired frontiersman took a good look at the baggage he was escorting West. Her satiny flesh enchanted him, her alabaster curves lured him. Right then and there, Ridge vowed that before they reached Santa Fe, he’d strip away her unsightly disguise and make her surrender to her heart’s Beloved Betrayal.