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lone star surrender

Historical Romance Review: Lone Star Surrender by Carol Finch

historical romance review
Lone Star Surrender by Carol Finch
Rating: five-stars
Published: 1988
Illustrator: Pino
Imprint or Line: Zebra Lovegram
Published by: Kensington
Genres: Historical Romance, Western Romance
Pages: 512
Format: Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Blue Falcon

Historical Romance Review: Lone Star Surrender by Carol Finch


The Book

This review is of Lone Star Surrender by Carol Finch, a standalone Zebra historical romance.

The Plot

Part 1 of Lone Star Surrender

Lone Star Surrender starts in Texas, circa 1885. Tara Winslow, the heroine, has come southwest from St. Louis to spend the summer with her father, Terrance, a newspaper publisher. She hasn’t seen him in three years.

Tara had been living in St. Louis with her grandfather, Ryan O’Donnovan, a wealthy businessman, and her mother, Libby. Terrance and Libby are separated, in large part because of her inability (or unwillingness) to stand up to her father. Tara is also engaged, unhappily, to Joseph Rutherford, one of Ryan’s business associates.

On Tara’s first day in Texas, she witnesses a murder, and is rescued by Sloane Prescott.

She meets Sloane again at the home of her friend, Julia Russel, the daughter of Merrick Russel, Sloane’s “boss.”

Sloane works for Russel as his head wrangler at Russel’s ranch, the Diamond R. Sloane isn’t working for Russel because he needs to. He has other reasons for working there: to expose Merrick as a criminal. He was also hired by Ryan and Joseph, who are investors in the Diamond R and are concerned with illegal activities they believe Merrick is involved in.

Julia wants Tara to work with Sloane to teach him manners so Julia can invite him to a dance. Unbeknownst to Julia, Tara and Sloane have a raging attraction to each other and will become lovers.

As time goes on, Tara discovers Sloane’s secrets, they marry–after she gets into trouble–and she finds out a secret he doesn’t know.

Merrick tries to kill Tara, and nearly succeeds, but she survives. Merrick later dies trying to flee Sloane after Merrick confesses his misdeeds.

Part 2 of Lone Star Surrender

After Merrick’s death, Tara thinks she and Sloane will have a clear path to happiness. She would be wrong.

Ryan and Joseph show up in Texas and forcibly take her back to St. Louis, where Ryan plans to marry her off to Joseph.

Upon hearing of her abduction, Sloane and Terrance head for St. Louis. Sloane goes to give his report and get Tara back, and Terrance to try to reconcile with Libby. Both Sloane and Terrance succeed in their endeavors to reunite with their loves.

Although, Sloane faces some token resistance from Joseph, who shows his true colors: yellow. To put it another way, Sloane was more of a man when he was born than Joseph is now.

In the end, Tara and Sloane, with Libby and Terrance–and Ryan–decide to go to Texas. The two couples have their Happily Ever After.

The Upside

When she writes under the names Carol Finch and Gina Robins, Connie Feddersen has a template she uses for her books. That template: feisty, spirited heroines, bad-boys-but-good-men heroes, and lots of humor. All of these are on display in Lone Star Surrender.

Tara and Sloane are a very well-matched couple. Their chemistry jumps off the pages and sizzles throughout the book. They are a likeable pair and the story is well-plotted and engaging. The romantic suspense element is strong, and there is a twist at the end of that part of the book.

Ms. Finch goes into her characters’ emotions and gives both of them free rein to be who they are.

I never felt as if I was reading a book; I felt like I was watching their lives in front of me, and those are the kind of books I really enjoy.

I also like the way Ms. Finch uses humor in her books. While Lone Star Surrender isn’t as funny as Beloved Betrayal–which was hilarious–there are a lot of funny moments here, especially toward the end.

Way too many romance novels have an ultra-serious tone to them. It’s a romance novel, authors! Humor is a much-underutilized feature in romance novels.

The Downside

If I had to nitpick, it would be that Ms. Finch tends to be a little hero and heroine heavy in her writing. Meaning she focuses almost entirely on her main characters.

The supporting cast in her books serves two purposes: to move storylines along and to act as foils for the protagonists. I find it nice sometimes when supporting characters have scenes when the hero and heroine aren’t in them.


Ms. Finch’s love scenes focus more on the feelings of the act than the esoterics of it. There are lots of purple prose and spiritual New Age writing about the deed.


Although people draw guns in the book, no one fires them. There are several scenes of assault and battery. The violence is not graphic.

Bottom Line on The Book

Readers who like humor and romance with high-spirited heroines and strong heroes will find lots to like in Carol Finch’s Lone Star Surrender.

5 Stars

Rating Report Card
Fun Factor
Overall: 4.8


When the rugged cowboy found a gorgeous, unconscious woman and her dead companion along a Texas dirt road, he knew he had to try everything to save the unlucky lady. He spirited her off to his mountain shack, gave her a potion to deaden the pain, and slashed away her bloody bodice to expose the wound. But when the virile horseman saw only her creamy, flawless flesh, he realized the blood was not hers — and that the vulnerable female needed saving only from himself!

When golden-haired Tara Winslow awoke in he father’s canyon retreat, she couldn’t remember how she’d gotten there. What was even more baffling were the sensual dreams, that plagued her every waking moment. As she fantasized a muscular Texas lover showing her the myriad mysteries of pleasure, the innocent adventuress realized it was too vivid to not be true! Now that she knew she’d been with the only man who could win her heart, the determined beauty vowed he’d track him down and enslave him forever with the wild rapture of her Lone Star Surrender.

Lonestar Surrender by Carol Finch

National Tell A Joke Day Story

National Tell a Joke Day: Romance Jokes


Romance Can Be Ridiculous

We all could use some good jokes to cheer us up when we’re down in the dumps. Sometimes we take life–and romance–too seriously. Ok, well, maybe here at Sweet Savage Flame, we always don’t. We know the romance genre can get a bit ridiculous at times.

So it’s perfect that today, August 16, is National Tell a Joke Day here in the United States. It’s a great opportunity to laugh about love and relationships and romance novels.

couple laughing romance jokes
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Some Jokes About Romance I Found on the Internet

Please note, that I did not create any of these jokes on my own. I might have tweaked one or two, but I found them on the internet so cannot claim them as my own.

While I credited the sites from where I obtained them, I doubt they are originals, as I’ve heard many of these before. Some can be attributed to comedians, such as Henny Youngman.

These jokes are being shared to spread laughter and joy, not for me to take someone else’s credit.

Romance Jokes

  • What do you call an evil wizard who gives good hickeys?
    • A neck romancer.

  • Do you know how to romance a country girl?.
    • You gotta do something sexy to a tractor.

  • What do you get when you cross hard alcohol with a trashy romance novel?
    • Fifty Shades of Grey Goose.

  • Do you have a date for Valentine’s Day?
    • Yes, it is February 14th.

  • I got so aroused when I read the last chapter of that novel that I came to a satisfying conclusion.

  • While watching a romantic movie, my wife leans over and whispers in my ear: “I want you to make me sweaty and wet.”
    • So I shut off the air conditioner.

  • I walked into a bookstore and asked if they have any books on gloryholes.
    • The clerk said, “Yes, over there in the mystery romance section.”

  • After 30 years of marriage, people always ask, “What’s the secret of keeping the romance alive?”
    • I always tell them, “We go to the same romantic restaurant every week, twice a week. I go on Tuesday. She goes on Fridays.”

  • For a woman, romance is roses on a piano.
    • For a man, it’s tulips on an organ.

  • Who says romance is dead?
    • A necrophiliac!

  • What do you call a dinosaur that writes romance novels?
    • A Brontësaurus.

  • What do Lady Gaga and Nicholas Sparks have in common?
    • They both wrote bad romance.

  • I wrote a romance novel set in an overcrowded cemetery.
    • But it got rejected because there was no plot.

  • Me: “I’m reading a romance in braille.”
    • You: “Yeah, how is it?”
  • Me: “It’s a real touching story.”

  • Wife: “I shaved down there. You know what that means…”
    • Husband: “Yeah, the drain is clogged again. I’ll get the Drain-O.”


too many husbands

Category Romance Review: Too Many Husbands by Elise Title

category romance
Too Many Husbands by Elise Title
Rating: four-half-stars
Published: 1990
Illustrator: Cinille
Imprint or Line: Harlequin Temptation #282
Published by: Harlequin
Genres: Category Romance, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 212
Format: eBook, Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader

Category Romance Review: Too Many Husbands by Elise Title


A Christmas Romance Filled With Merriment

There are Christmas tales that inspire, ones that make us cry, and others that make us laugh with the joy of being alive. The Harlequin Temptation romance, Too Many Husbands by Elise Title, falls into the latter category. It’s a zany romp of a romance that could have been an old-fashioned screwball comedy on the live screen.

What does a woman do when she has not one, nor even two, but three husbands coming over for Christmas?

No, this is not a remake of the 1940 romantic comedy of the same name starring Fred MacMurray and Jean Arthur. Nor is it related to the similarly-styled film My Favorite Wife, which starred Cary Grant and Irene Dunne. Even so, you can see their influences, as Too Many Husbands is as silly and enjoyable as those films.

The Wacky Plot

At only 28, Casey Croyden’s a hotshot in the commercial real estate market. Due to her laser-beam focus on business, she has one failed marriage behind her. When the largest Japanese hotel chain owner decides to set his sights on the US market, Casey is just the one to make the deal.

The only impediment is that Toho, the owner of the hotel chains, is a “traditional” man. This means he might not accept entering into a deal spearheaded by a single woman whose focus is solely on her career. So Casey concocts a plan to have Toho and his wife Akiko stay with her in a huge rented house in a cozy New England setting with Casey and her husband. That is, an actor hired to play her husband.

Enter John Gallagher. He’s Casey’s new next-door neighbor. His unexpected arrival on her doorstep has Casey mistaking him for the actor she hired. She plants a big kiss on him, to John’s bewilderment, and acts as if they’re madly in love. John, to his benefit, plays along.

It Gets Even Wackier

Things take a wacky turn when David, the real actor, shows up. Caught in a trap of her own making, what’s Casey to do? What would any good actor do? Improvise! David is relegated to Casey’s brother, who’s also spending Christmas with them.

Remember, though, this is called Too Many Husbands, not One Husband Too Many. Who else turns up? Casey’s ex-husband, Wes. Casey and her ex aren’t on bad terms, but his appearance is bound to cause confusion. As a result, he’s given the role of a family friend.

To make the situation even more insane, John’s ex-wife, Brenda, appears. An ex-wife would muddy the waters more, so she’s presented as Casey’s best friend.

If you’re counting, that’s three husbands and two wives, not including Toho & Akiko. That makes for a winning combination as a full house beats out a three-of-a-kind hand!

It’s a full house indeed when Casey’s PA drops by to check on how the merriment is progressing. She’s shocked to find her normally cool-headed boss all distressed. What’s with this Christmas tomfoolery?

Somehow Casey should be out of her mind trying to broker a deal with Toho, all while trying to keep up appearances. John is her solid rock, and she can’t help but rely upon and be attracted to him. The pair are forced to share rooms and matching robes. “The Walls of Jericho” (a reference to the famous 1930’s comedic romance It Happened One Night) are raised to keep things platonic.

John is even described as looking like Clark Gable. (Although he looks nothing like him on the cover!) John remains a man of mystery, as we never learn much about him. We do know that he has no feelings for Brenda, their divorce was amicable, and he only has eyes for Casey.

Final Analysis of Too Many Husbands

Too Many Husbands is a hilarious romance. Nothing is meant to be taken seriously except the love story. As said, this book is a screwball comedy in the style of films from the 1930s and 1940s.

Have you ever seen the Frasier episode “The Two Mrs. Cranes,” where Daphne, wanting to fend off an old boyfriend, pretends to be married to Niles? Then Roz shows up and pretends to be Nile’s wife, “Maris,” who is “married” to Frasier. And the cop father pretends to be an astronaut? That was one of the funniest moments on television, and that’s what this book is like. One bit of slapstick silliness followed by another!

An epilogue wrapping up this story would have been the perfect bow to add to this gift of a Christmas romance. There are some loose ends, so it’s not perfection. But whether it’s Christmas or any time of year, Too Many Husbands is an exceptional, sidesplitting tale that will keep you smiling for a long time.

Rating Report Card
Fun Factor
Overall: 4.8


Naughty and Nice…

All Casey Croyden wanted for Christmas was a husband. Not a permanent one – just a man to play the part and help her impress the traditional Japanese businessman she was entertaining over the holidays. Sounded simple enough. Hire one from Actor’s Equity.

When John Gallagher arrived on her doorstep, the attraction between them was no act. And the debonair Mr Gallagher was no actor! Casey didn’t have the faintest idea who he was, but she had no time to trifle over details. Especially over the other minor glitch in her plan…what to do with him when the lights went out!

Too Many Husbands by ELISE TITLE