by Leanne Karella
Carson Kinsey saved Ella from working in a saloon, selling her body to whomever Madame Chloe demanded. Now, four years later, she loves the man who took her away from the life of drunken men and adores the little girl she has been hired to tend. Standing between the love they both secretly feel for the other is Carson’s dark memories of the wife he lost, and Ella’s knowledge that she’s a soiled woman who has nothing to give him but herself.
Hearts Desire by Leanne Karella is so very, unexpectedly delightful. It is not the setting that makes it unique: Colorado in the late nineteenth century. Nor is it the superficial identity of the characters: a typical cowboy and a fallen woman. What makes this work shine is the unexpected depth of those characters. Ella, and her efforts to mother the little girl Hattie. Carson, his heartbreak, and his longings.
This is a short tale, yet reveals a great deal about their personalities and growth as individuals. Karella's attention to the daily chores that made up life in 1865 adds a believable level of detail. This is moving and heartwarming in the best and most classic sense.
Review by Snapdragon