Willow Springs by Carolyn Steele, AF -Historical Romance, 2014, eARC, 233p, My Rating=3
Source: copy provided by publicist in exchange for an honest review.
Husbands. Crissa had to suppress a shudder at the thought. If I had wanted a husband, I would have stayed in Boston. Indeed, Crissa considered Willow Springs to be the nearest thing to her idea of purgatory. She certainly did not plan to stay here long.
Swedish immigrant Crissa Engleson fled Boston hoping to start a new life, unknown and unencumbered, on the American frontier. The quiet gold mining town of Willow Springs in the Utah desert seemed the perfect spot—until the intrigue of her past and rivalries of the town’s leading families enveloped her.
Unaware that a relentless bounty hunter is pursuing her, Crissa falls in love with Drake Adams, a handsome Pony Express rider and the son of an influential mine owner. While Drake returns Crissa’s interest, their courtship is thwarted by the pursuit of one of Drake’s rivals, who may be motivated more by malice than by love.
To realize her dreams, Crissa must confront her painful past and fight for her future head-on.
If you're into the 1800s, Western frontier kind of setting then this is right up your alley. It's got Pony Express, guns, outlaws, bodices, the prairie, secrets, and even wild romance. Pretty exciting stuff but this novel was tamer of it's time so I believe it may have been its shortcoming. True to the era, rape, sex, and violence was exposed but the account was too domesticated that from time-to-time it didn't feel authentic to me. I wasn't sure if I was in the American frontier or a modern suburb. There wasn't enough angst or fire for my taste. However, the story was captivating. I wanted to see the love triangle through and find out the full story of Crissa's past. I was rewarded with a thrilling twist and interesting supporting characters by book's end. I'm not sure I like the spelling out of the complete story in the end. It felt redundant. Overall, this was a decent romance novel debut.