Tag Archives: Caroline Bourne

texas fire

Historical Romance Review: Texas Fire by Caroline Bourne

Texas Fire, Caroline Bourne, Zebra, 1989 Melissa Duillo-Gallo art, Fabio cover model

MILD SPOILERS 😉

2 1/2 Stars

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

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 Plot

Part I

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.

Part II

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.

Part III

In the end, the threat is neutralized. Laureli and Court become parents again, and they have their Happily Ever After.

Upside

Laureli and Court are a well-matched couple and the love between them is written in a very genuine way.

Downside

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.

Sex

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.

Violence

Assault, attempted rape, battery, shootings, and killings all take place during Texas Fire. None of the violence is graphic.

Bottom Line

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.

texas conquest

Historical Romance Review: Texas Conquest by Caroline Bourne

Texas Conquest, Caroline Bourne, Zebra, 1988, Robert Sabin cover art

SPOILER ALERT ⚠

2 Stars

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Reviewed by Blue Falcon

This review is of Texas Conquest by Caroline Bourne. This historical romance is a Zebra Lovegram, published in 1988.

The Plot

Part II

The book starts in London, England, in 1810. Elsa Palmer is searching for her sister, Claretta, who became a prostitute after the death of her husband. He was a man their father didn’t approve of. Elsa convinces Claretta to travel to America with her and Elsa’s husband, William.

Fast forward 22 years. In Texas, on the Brazos River lives Mariah Palmer, 22, Elsa and William’s daughter and the heroine of the book. Mariah lives with Elsa (William has now passed away) and a younger brother, Jessie, who is away but coming home.

Mariah is a steadfast supporter of Texas independence from Mexico, which will place her squarely at odds with her new neighbor, Matthew Cade, the book’s hero. Even though he is an American, Matthew is the right-hand man for General Antonio Lopez y Santa Anna. Santa Anna has ordered Matthew to buy the home of Mariah’s neighbor, Francisco Gomez. He also ordered him to buy the Palmer land and push them out. Naturally, Mariah plans to put a stop to that.

Santa Anna has other plans for Mariah as well. He orders her brought to Mexico to become his latest mistress. Matthew escorts her to Mexico, and on the trip, they become lovers.

Part I

Mariah and Matthew return to Texas and soon travel to New York, where Elsa is having surgery (Elsa is blind from an illness she contracted years ago). While in New York, Mariah attends a party at West Point and is shocked to see Matthew there with another woman. They argue, and Matthew rapes Mariah. Further tragedy follows when Elsa passes away.

Despite these tragedies, Mariah and Matthew marry. She later finds out she is pregnant and discovers family secrets that Elsa kept before her passing. Happiness and tragedy follow as Mariah and Matthew become parents to a daughter, Laureli (pronounced Lorelei). However, another death occurs as Jessie is killed at the Alamo. Or so they think, as Jessie returns alive.

By the end of the book, all secrets are revealed, Mariah and Matthew have their Happily Ever After, and 5-year-old Laureli sings of future love. Will she find it? You’ll have to read the sequel to Texas Conquest, Texas Fire to find out.

Upside

Ms. Bourne is clearly a soap opera fan as she has about ten storylines going in this book, and she does a decent job keeping them going.

Downside

That, however, is also one of the issues I have with Texas Conquest. Most of the storylines appear to be filler to reach a page count (the book is 508 pages), and most of the storylines are unfinished and abandoned.

Mariah and Matthew make for an okay hero and heroine. Mariah is supposed to be a fiery personality, but that is rarely shown. Once Matthew rapes Mariah, he is dead to me. No matter how much Ms. Bourne tries to rehabilitate him–and she does–there is no redemption for a rapist hero. Ms. Bourne never made me care about Mariah, Matthew, or any other character in the book.

Sex

Mariah and Matthew have several love scenes. The scenes are neither graphic, exciting nor erotic.

Violence

There is violence at the Alamo, and Santa Anna threatens to whip Mariah after discovering that she and Matthew are lovers. Most of the violence is “off-screen.”

Bottom Line

Texas Conquest is a frustrating book because there are good elements, but Ms. Bourne doesn’t put them together. Hopefully, she can address these issues in future books.