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meant to be married

Category Romance Review: Meant To Be Married by Ruth Wind

category romance
Meant to Be Married by Ruth Wind
Rating: five-stars
Published: 1998
Illustrator: TBD
Imprint or Line: Silhouette Special Edition #1194
Published by: Silhouette
Genres: Category Romance, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 248
Format: Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader


Category Romance Review: Meant To Be Married by Ruth Wind

MILD SPOILERS 😉

The Book

Meant To Be Married by Ruth Wind (aka Barbara Samuels) is a powerful romance that brought tears to my eyes. This second-chance-at-love story is underscored by superb characterization and a sensitive writer’s hand.

The Characters and Setup

Meant To Be Married begins a decade in the past when Elias Santiago and Sarah Greenwood defied their families to become lovers. The teenage Romeo and Juliet were precisely that: two youths from feuding clans who fell in love with one another and had to keep their relationship secret.

For over a century, Santiago and Greenwood blood has been shed via lynchings, murders, and suicides. Legend says the feud began when a Santiago male violated a Greenwood female. The Greenwoods hanged the Santiago man, and in turn, the Greenwood woman killed herself. Was it due to shame or could it have been heartbreak?

Whatever the reason, the enmity between the families has grown stronger over time.

The high school sweethearts are on their way out of state to elope. Then a change of heart makes them turn back to contact their parents. Sarah’s father is a police officer, and to their dismay, they are met on the road with sirens and flashing red and blue lights.

Elias, who is a couple of years older than Sarah, is taken away and arrested. Sarah is whisked off to a home for pregnant girls. There she languishes for months, with no word from Elias. But how can he contact her when he’s trapped in jail for months before being released and has no idea where Sarah is? After she gives birth, Sarah’s parents put the baby up for a closed adoption.

Sarah goes to New York to become an acclaimed photographer, snapping pics of models and celebrities. Elias stays behind in their hometown of Taos, New Mexico, and opens a thriving tea business. Time and distance separate them, but they have a bond that will unite them.

The Plot

After Sarah’s father has a heart attack, she receives a call from her mother, begging her to return home. Through the years, Sarah has visited her parents, but never for more than a day at a time. However, it’s time to put old ghosts to rest. Sarah returns to Taos. It’s no surprise when she sees Elias again, and their attraction is as vibrant as it was in the past. Even more so in the present time.

Years ago, there had been many obstacles in their way. They were too young. Their families were involved in a generations-long feud. The Greenwoods were upper class, and the Santiagos, although upwardly mobile, weren’t quite there yet The Greenwoods are Anglo-European; the Santiagos are Hispanic, a mix of Spanish and Amerindian heritage.

Now, some circumstances have changed, while some things remain as they always have. But fate will play a guiding hand, forcing Elias and Sarah to cross paths. Elias has a teenage niece with aspirations of being a model. He reaches out to Sarah, offering to pay her to photograph the girl and create a portfolio. Sarah reluctantly agrees.

As the two meet up again and again, they cannot deny their feelings for one another. How can they mend the wounds of the past when the wounds are still raw and gaping open?

Ruth Wind’s beautiful prose had me immersed in the semi-tragic love story. There were points when the suffering was overwhelming. She had me hissing at the contemptuous attitudes of the senior generations. I was enthusiastically rooting for Elias and Sarah to make it as a forever couple.

Final Analysis of Meant to Be Married

The ending of Meant to Be Married was a bittersweet conclusion. For although Elias and Sarah are finally reunited, theirs is an incomplete joining. A vital piece is missing, and their happily-ever-after is not a perfect one.

And then, the epilogue comes along and gives them a ray of hope. That was a real punch-in-the-gut moment. I truly felt Elias and Sarah’s joy and pain.

This book was a beautifully written romance. Meant to Be Married is so close to perfection. It’s a keeper, although, at times, the anguish was too much to bear. I get misty-eyed simply thinking about Elias and Sarah’s torment. Regardless of what they endured, the power of love proves paramount.

Even if the ending isn’t wrapped up in a pretty ribbon, the pair have found each other again. They will finally get married, as was meant to be.

Rating Report Card
Plot
5
Characters
5
Writing
5
Chemistry
5
Fun Factor
4.5
Cover
4
Overall: 4.8

Synopsis

If only they had married, all those years ago…

But their warring families did everything in their power to keep Elias and Sarah apart — short of destroying their love for each other. And soon enough the Santiagos and the Greenwoods succeeded in tearing the young beauty from her darkly handsome — and forbidden — groom-to-be…

Now Sarah was back in town, but she was unprepared to see the bitterness in Elias’s eyes — or the desire that still simmered there. If only for a moment they could forget the past, they could have it all — the love, the family, the future they once dreamed of….

Meant To Be Married by Ruth Wind
kiss of the night wind

Historical Romance Review: Kiss of the Night Wind by Janelle Taylor

Reviewed by Blue Falcon

Kiss of the Night Wind, Janelle Taylor, Zebra, 1989

MILD SPOILERS 😉

This review is of Kiss of the Night Wind, #3 in the “Western Wind” series by Janelle Taylor published by Zebra.

The Plot

Kiss of the Night Wind opens with the heroine of the book, Carrie Sue Stover, trying to outrun her past Carrie Sue’s brother, Darby, is the leader of an outlaw gang, which she also ran with.

Tired of looking over her shoulder and worrying about being arrested, jailed, or worse, Carrie Sue decides to take on the persona of Carolyn Sarah Starns, a schoolteacher on her way to Tucson, Arizona.

The real Carolyn was killed in an accident caused by the Stover gang attacking the stagecoach she was on.

As Carrie Sue makes her way to Arizona, the stagecoach she’s on is attacked. Saving her is T.J. Rogue, the hero of the book, who is also going to Arizona. His reasons, however, are different than Carrie Sue’s.

Carrie Sue arrives in Tucson and soon finds herself having to fend off Martin Ferris, a wealthy, lecherous businessman who believes the new schoolmarm owes him more than gratitude. Before she can begin teaching, however, Carrie Sue’s past catches up with her, and she and T.J. are on the run. They also become lovers.

As the book goes along, we learn a great deal about both Carrie Sue and T.J.’s pasts, both of which are filled with tragedy. We also learn that they have a common enemy, evil rancher Quade Harding.

T.J. and Carrie Sue leave Arizona after wanted posters of her emerge. They are pursued by Ferris, who is later killed by T.J. As they make their way to Texas, Carrie Sue becomes suspicious of T.J.; especially since he asks lots of questions about Darby.

Carrie Sue reunites with Darby and discovers that a copycat gang, led by the villain she and Darby are trying to defeat, is committing crimes claiming to be the Stover gang. That gang is led by the man the Stover siblings have been trying to defeat for years.

Carries Sue tries to get Darby to go straight. The efforts fail, and when Darby and most of his gang are captured, Carrie Sue is shot and seriously wounded. After Carrie Sue’s wounding, T.J. fakes her death and plans to take her to Montana and marry her to start a new life.

In the end, the plans change. Carrie Sue and T.J. marry, decide to go to Colorado instead-the reasons are germane to the plot, so I won’t reveal them- and have their Happily Ever After.

Upside

Mrs. Taylor has written a book with a strong hero and heroine in T.J. and Carrie Sue, both of whom are well-developed characters. Mrs. Taylor is also a great atmospheric writer; she puts me into her situations with her characters, as opposed to making me feel that I’m simply reading about them.

Downside

While Mrs. Taylor is a great situational writer, at times during this book, I felt like she was writing to a word count, as the descriptions went on and on and on.

The bigger issue for me was the fact that there are A LOT of similarities between Kiss of the Night Wind and the book that preceded it, Passions Wild and Free. To wit:

The heroines both have unisex names; in Passions Wild and Free, the heroine’s name was Randee; in Kiss of the Night Wind, it’s Carrie Sue.

The heroines believe the heroes–Marshall Logan Jr. in Passions Wild and Free, T.J. Rogue in Kiss of the Night Wind–are simply gunslingers. They’re not. Their childhood backgrounds are slightly different, but their adult lives are very similar to each other.

Both Randee and Carrie Sue were chased from their lives by rich, licentious males who want to possess them, only to find more trouble upon running. Both want revenge against their tormentors, but neither directly gets their revenge.

It is not realistic to expect any artistically inclined person not to ever repeat themselves. Doing it in the very next work you do, however, is not a good look.

I also wasn’t in love with Carrie Sue’s claim that she and Darby were “forced” to become criminals. This is completely a lie. Yes, a lot of bad things happened to the Stover siblings, but they were NOT “forced” into criminal behavior. They CHOSE to become lawbreakers. Claiming noble reasons does not absolve someone from criminal responsibility.

Sex

Multiple love scenes between Carrie Sue and T.J. Like all of Mrs. Taylor’s books, the love scenes are more about the feelings engendered during the act rather than the esoterics of the act.

Violence

Some “on-screen” shootings, but most of the violence takes place “off-screen”. “Kiss of the Night Wind” is not a violent book.

Bottom Line

Kiss of the Night Wind is a good book but has too many issues to be great.

3.72 stars