Tag Archives: heroine uptight

a lady bought with rifles jeanne williams

Historical Romance Review: A Lady Bought with Rifles by Jeanne Williams

historical romance review
A Lady Bought With Rifles by Jeanne Williams
Rating: three-half-stars
Published: 1977
Illustrator: Ron Lesser
Published by: Pocket Books
Genres: Historical Romance, Bodice Ripper, Western Romance
Pages: 352
Format: eBook, Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader


Historical Romance Review: A Lady Bought with Rifles by Jeanne Williams

Spoiler Alert ⚠

The Book

A Lady Bought With Rifles by Jeanne Williamsis an amalgam of great writing and stupid characterization.

I was extremely frustrated reading it because it could have been one of those legendary bodice rippers that old-school fans would be talking about to this day.

The Heroine

Upon her father’s death, the British-raised Miranda is called back to her father’s ranch in Mexico. There she meets two strikingly different American men, Trace, a tall, dark, and mysterious pistolero, and Court Saunders, the foreman of Miranda’s newly inherited mines and lover to her resentful half-sister, Reina. Blond, panther-like, and roguish, his sensual presence is almost irresistible.

The sisters both inherit the ranch. Miranda, being a foreigner, is aghast by the circumstances of the ranch and mines, particularly how the indigenous Mexicans are treated, how the evil Reina treats her, how gorgeous hunk Court pursues her…and just about every other thing she can find to complain about, rightly or wrongly.

The most frustrating aspect of A Lady Bought With Rifles is that I absolutely loathed the heroine. She ruined what could have been a fun read into painful torture at times.

Never have wanted to smack a protagonist as much as I have Miranda. She is ignorant of the new lands but thinks she knows better than everyone else before asking for advice. She is inflexible, a misguided do-gooder, the type who’s always offended on someone else’s behalf. Moreover–the worst about her–she has terrible taste in men.

The Two Men

Trace

Both Court and Trace take an interest in Miranda, but while Trace maintains an enigmatic distance, it’s Court who vows to make her his woman. Miranda quickly decides she loves Trace, the noble yet inscrutable gunman. Me, I’ll take wicked, sexy Court.

Sure, Trace is appealing with his darkly handsome cowboy looks, but it is Court who offers her genuine help. It’s Court who sticks around, who cares for her and her lands.

Meanwhile, it’s Trace who goes off on escapades of his own. He’s not even half as charismatic as Court. Plus, he has a sexual relationship with a young Native woman he and Miranda cared for when she was a child!

Court

Court offers marriage to Miranda after Trace runs off. Miranda flees, yet Court eventually finds her, and she vows to resist him at every turn, doing everything to deny her attraction to his intense magnetism.

“When I heard you were almost surely dead, that’s when I knew what you were to me. My woman. You rode back to me from the dead. I’ll never let you go again.”

Weak and spent, I said desperately, as if I were shouting at him in a foreign language, “You don’t love me or you’d care what I feel!”

“I do care. In a year you’ll love me.”

Even at that moment, when I hated him, my blood quickened as he smiled. I cried defiance as much to my treacherous body as to him. “I won’t. I’ll hate you more than I do know. “

“We’ll see.” He cupped my chin and raised my face. “You’re tired darling. Sleep now. You can give me your answer in the morning.”

I couldn’t let him kill Trace. But to submit to those muscular, golden-haired arms? Let him do the things Trace had? And it wouldn’t be for one time only, I was sure of that. Court might after a season let me go, but I had a frightening dread that if he possessed me long enough, he would drain me till I became his thing, his creature—that I wouldn’t go, even if he allowed it and Trace would t
ake me.

And this super charismatic hunk is the villain???

Breaking the Mold

Several points. Most romances in 1977, when A Lady Bought With Rifles was written, had heroes who acted exactly as Court did. Heroines responded to their true loves (and yes, sometimes villains) just as Miranda does: “with her treacherous body betraying her.”

I’m a bit familiar with Williams’ writing style as I’ve read other of her books. If she had written romances in the current era, her values would be more in line with the genre as it is today.

I’m guessing that Williams purposely turned the tables on how historical romance novels (i.e., the bodice ripper) were written during the 1970s.

She wanted to write a bodice ripper that subverted expectations to make it compelling, but she just “Rian Johnsoned” it instead. (Yeah, The Last Jedi fans, I went there.)

Rather than ending up with wildly sexual and devoted Court, a man who would walk through the fires of hell and back to get his woman, whose fatal flaw was more “macho” than “sensitive,” it’s the tough but tender guy, a guy who abandons his woman and child to fight a war that isn’t his, who gets the heroine.

The two men are not so distinctly different as perhaps the author meant for the reader to feel: Court is evil, and Trace is good. It’s more nuanced than that, and it’s a risky line for the writer to tread because then the villain becomes more intriguing than the hero.

The Wrong Guy

I compare A Lady Bought With Rifles to Drusilla Campbell’s The Frost and the Flame and Anita Mills’ Lady of Fire because the villains in those books were more compelling than the heroes.

ALBWR is less fun than The Frost and the Flame, and in Lady of Fire, I actually liked the hero. The main difference is in those other two books, the villain was indeed villainous.

Here, Court is the antagonist, although I wouldn’t call him the villain. For example, despite major doubts that his son is actually his–he’s not, Trace is the dad–Court treats the boy with love and care. That is until Miranda cruelly throws it into Court’s face that he is not the father.

Then Court ignores him, simply counting the days until Trace’s son is to be sent off to boarding school.

This leaves Miranda upset and befuddled. “Why, oh why has Court’s behavior changed?”

Gee, what could it be, you stupid cow? Court knew the kid wasn’t really his son, as Court could do basic math. Still, he was willing to pretend that the son of another man—a man he despised—was his, so long as Miranda went along with the pretense.

When she viciously admits to Court that he wasn’t the father, did she really expect Court to react with glee?

I can’t emphasize enough how I hated her stupid, self-centered, sanctimonious character. Court was way too good for her. He warranted his own story with a happy ending.

Williams didn’t want that. As the author, that was her decision. As the reader, it was not one I appreciated.

Final Analysis of A Lady Bought With Rifles

Like many older romance novels, this is truly a romance in the complete meaning of the word: an epic of great scope. Ostensibly the main part should be the love story between Trace and Miranda, yet it’s actually a much smaller part of the story that makes up the book.

In summary, as I wrote in my notes:

Take one exasperating, young, self-righteous heroine.

Add one hero who spends 50 pages max with the heroine, disappears halfway through, and is reunited 10 pages from the end with the heroine.

Then add a plethora of side characters whose deaths are used to manipulate sympathy for the annoying heroine. Finally, add one sexy-as-hell, multifaceted antagonist/anti-hero whose downfall brought me to tears.

Mix with uneven pacing and plotting.

End result: über disappointing 3.5 star read. I would have rated this 2.5 stars, but the writing is quite exceptional.

And Court (sigh)! Wonderfully erotic, tragically misunderstood Court deserved so much better than he got.

3.5 Stars

Rating Report Card
Plot
3.5
Characters
3.5
Writing
4.5
Chemistry
3.5
Fun Factor
3.5
Cover
3.5
Overall: 3.7

Synopsis:

Court Sanders… Yankee adventurer, tawny lion of a man whose obsession for gold and beautiful women was second only to his lust for Miranda.

Trace Windslade… Dashing Texan pistolero with eyes of blue fire. Miranda was his – no matter how many times Court Sanders possessed her.

Miranda… from a frail, convent-bread girl she blossomed into a woman as fierce as the rebels she befriended. Men lived and dies for her. She was… A lady bought with rifles!

A lady bought with rifles by Jeanne Williams

Category Romance Review: Ready, Willing and Abel by Nancy Martin

SPOILER ALERT ⚠

The Book

Ready, Willing and Abel was my first foray into the Silhouette Desire line. Nancy Martin penned a ridiculous, sexy romp that made me fall in love with the series. Featuring an Indiana Jones-like hero and a button-downed heroine working in fast-paced Washington DC, this story was not based at all in reality. It was so over-the-top and silly; I adored it.

The Hero

Abel Fletcher has just come back from a recent archaeological expedition. He carries with him a sacred totem that supposedly is imbued with magical powers. Namely the power to make a person fall madly in love after touching it and gazing upon a special someone. The charm is supposed to work both ways, but Abel believes it’s all nonsense. That is until he falls madly in love at first sight with Samantha Wyatt.

He first sees Samantha at a softball game, swinging away at a pitch, her skirts and hair swirling around her. Abel stares dumbfounded at her as she runs the bases. The love-struck fool stands there as she slams into him, and they roll onto the ground, creating the scene that’s on the cover.

Abel is confounded. Who is this beautiful creature? Why is he so head-over-heels gaga for her? And why doesn’t she reciprocate the feelings?

The Heroine

Samantha Wyatt is a respectable, no-nonsense type. She has a dream job working in politics, and her life is fine, if a little dull. She’s not the wild, adventurous type. In fact, even playing that softball game was completely out of character for her, as some friends had cajoled her into the at-bat. Then she literally runs into this crazy, disheveled, although admittedly handsome man who claims they’re destined to be together.

Abel is determined to convince Samantha he’s the man for her. But what could these two disparate people possibly have in common?

Hmm… What could it be?

Oh, that’s right! This is a red-covered Desire romance. That means some sexy times are ahead!

Despite her misgivings, Samantha can’t help but be charmed by the besotted treasure-hunter. He’s so honest and direct, unlike anyone she’s ever met. As Abel gets to know Samantha, he realizes his love-at-first-sight isn’t skin deep. There’s a warm, passionate, giving woman beneath the icy veneer. Abel is set on proving to her that their love is the real deal!

The Love Story

The characters are older in Ready, Willing and Abel than in the usual romances I had come upon. That is, both the hero AND the heroine were. Abel is in his early 40s, and Samantha is well into her 30s. So it makes sense that Samantha is mature and level-headed. On the other hand, Abel is a kid at heart who is supposed to be like Harrison Ford with charisma.

I know, you’re probably thinking: “What? Harrison Ford was Han Solo and Indiana Jones and the US President kicking ass on Air Force One.” Yes, the roles he’s played are intriguing, but I’m talking about the man. Have you ever seen him do an interview? Total snoozeville.

Anyway, Samanta and Abel make a romantic pairing that is a delight to read about.

Abel decides to return the stone to show Sam what he feels isn’t magic; he truly loves her. So he does just that, going back to the jungles where he found the totem. The natives are straight from an episode of “Gilligan’s Island,” so unclench your butts and take it all in with a sense of humor because this book is played for laughs, not enlightenment.

Final Analysis of Ready, Willing and Abel

Upon finishing Nancy Martin’s Ready, Willing and Abel I tore out the postcard mailer in the middle of the book and filled it out, anxious to read more Desire romances. I found a wonderful variety in that series, some books funny, like this one, some deep and tragic, and most of them were enjoyable, erotic entertainment.

Like all things, the category line has changed over the years. Now it’s basically an imitation of Harlequin Presents but with American billionaires instead of foreign ones.

Eh, keep your jet-setting billionaires. I’ll take the wacky, madly in-love adventure-seekers any day.

4.25 Stars


Synopsis

LOVESTRUCK!

Professor Abel Fletcher didn’t believe in love at first sight. It had to be the sacred love stone he’d recently acquired that was making him act like such a dope. What else could explain his sudden attraction to coolly aloof Samantha Wyatt? And anyway the charm was supposed to turn her into his sex slave. Why wasn’t she tearing off her clothes and falling at his feet?

Samantha knew she should stay far away from dangerously distracting Abel. She kept trying to convince the footloose adventurer that she wasn’t interested in a relationship–especially with a man who traveled halfway around the world in search of lost treasures. But she knew if she wasn’t careful, Abel would realize she was ready and willing!

READY WILLING AND ABEL by NANCY MARTIN
the perfect couple

Category Romance: The Perfect Couple by Maura Seger

maura seger category romance
The Perfect Couple by Maura Seger
Rating: two-stars
Published: 1997
Illustrator: Unknown
Imprint or Line: Silhouette Intimate Moments #775
Published by: Silhouette
Genres: Category Romance, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 250
Format: Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader


Category Romance: The Perfect Couple by Maura Seger

SPOILER FREE REVIEW 😊

The Book

The Perfect Couple by Maura Seger, a Silhouette Intimate Moments series romance, was perfectly… boring. The setup was in this category romance was actually great. Where it faltered was in the execution.

The Plot

Shane and Brenna have been together as a supposedly perfect couple for some time now. But they are two disparate people with distinct wants and needs.

The story flips back through different times in Shane and Brenna’s relationship, the memorable points, the highs, and the lows.

However, the love story was treacly-sweet. If I liked that sort of white-bread perfection, I’d read Nicholas Sparks, the gag-master extraordinaire.

Despite their shared passion, Shane and Brenna’s intrinsic differences threaten their love. Brenna is a down-to-earth type who likes her life carefully planned out. She wants a long-term relationship but no children. Meanwhile, Shane lives on the edge and wants a family.

Then tragedy strikes when Shane’s plane crashes in the snowy mountains. He is presumed dead.

Brenna hopes for the best and looks back on their time together, wondering if they were too dissimilar to be together or if love is enough to overcome all their obstacles, even death.

Shane does his valiant best to get back to Brenna before dying. Even if he’s on death’s doorstep, he vows to see her one more time.

Wil Shane make it back to Brenna? And if he does, can they make it as a less-than-perfect couple?

Final Analysis of The Perfect Couple

Maura Seger attempted to create something unique with The Perfect Couple. This was a tale of a couple in two different and parallel stages of their relationship.

But the problems keeping them apart were mundane. There was never any doubt that Shane would make it back to Brenna.

In the end, you know that they would make compromises to make their union last. The Perfect Couple was an okay Silhouette romance, but nothing exceptional.

2 Stars

Rating Report Card
Plot
3
Characters
2.5
Writing
2.5
Chemistry
2.5
Fun Factor
1.5
Cover
3.5
Overall: 2.6

Synopsis

Will they ever have a chance to say “I love you”?

THEIR FUTURE HANGS IN THE BALANCE….First the argument ripped Shane Dutton and Brenna O’Hare apart. Now a plane crash has stranded Shane in the Alaskan wilderness. Miles apart, all they can do is wait. And hope. And remember…

THEIR PAST IS ALL THEY HAVE…Shane wanted children—Brenna didn’t. Brenna wanted a man who never took risks—Shane did. But they also wanted each other—so badly that their differences hadn’t mattered. Not at first…Reflecting on what went wrong—and right—Shane and Brenna reach the same conclusion. But will they ever get the chance to say “I love you”?

THE PERFECT COUPLE by MAURA SEGER