MILD SPOILERS 😉
2 1/2 Stars
Reviewed by Blue Falcon
Heroine: Laureli Cade, 23, Auburn hair, blue eyes. Heiress to the Wildwood ranch empire.
Hero: Court McKennon, 35. Black hair. Gray eyes. Former detective at Scotland Yard, later Texas Rancher.
This review is of Texas Fire by Caroline Bourne. This book, published by Zebra/Kensington in March 1989, is the sequel to her book Texas Conquest.
The book begins in London, 1850, and will span 17 years. A woman is raped, and while trying to escape her attacker, falls and suffers serious injuries. This will set the tone for the rest of the book.
The scene then shifts to Brazoria, Texas, where Laureli Cade, the heroine of the book, lives on a sprawling ranch. Laureli is the only member of her immediate family in Texas right now; her father, Matthew, and mother, Mariah (the hero and heroine of Texas Conquest are in Europe, and Laureli’s younger brother, Timothy, is at West Point.
As she is introduced, Laureli is trying to catch a wild stallion. She will come into contact with two Englishmen, One is Court McKennon, the hero of the book, who arrives with a woman who Laureli erroneously believes is his wife; and the other, Wynn Garrett, a man with many secrets.
Laureli and Court clash, but they are also very attracted to each other and become lovers. However, there is a major dark cloud hanging over their relationship, namely Garrett and Laureli and Cour’s disparate views of him. Lies and deception soon tear Laureli and Court apart, leading to Court leaving Texas.
After leaving Laureli and Texas, Court goes to San Francisco, then to London. We learn a bit about Court’s family, including his high-in-the-instep relatives. He then decides to return to Texas and Laureli. They marry and start a family. However, their happiness is threatened by a vengeful man who wants to do both harm.
In the end, the threat is neutralized. Laureli and Court become parents again, and they have their Happily Ever After.
Laureli and Court are a well-matched couple and the love between them is written in a very genuine way.
Ms. Bourne tries very hard to write an emotional book, but doesn’t quite get there. Among the issues preventing this: Laureli and Court aren’t well-developed or particularly interesting characters; the supporting characters are in a similar vein. Ditto for the storylines.
A few love scenes between Laureli and Court, which don’t generate a lot of heat. Ms. Bourne is more focused on the emotional aspects of lovemaking and not the act itself.
Assault, attempted rape, battery, shootings, and killings all take place during Texas Fire. None of the violence is graphic.
Texas Fire generates all the heat of one lit match. It’s a better book than Texas Conquest, but that’s not a particularly high bar to get over. 2.67 stars.
Locations: London, England. Brazoria, Texas. 1850-1967.
Tropes: Enemies-to-lovers. Historical romance. Texas.