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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Range Queen by Jane Candia Coleman

Range Queen by Jane Candia Coleman
Publisher: Dorchester
Genre: Action/Adventure, Historical
Length: Full Length (300 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 5 books
Reviewed by Aloe

Joanna O’Keefe left her home and all that she held dear to join her husband in New Mexico Territory and pursue his vision of building a ranching empire. When she boarded the train, she was filled with hope. But when she arrived, she found her husband had been murdered and she was on her own. All she had left was the kindness of a handsome blue-eyed stranger and a fierce determination to see those dreams of an empire realized. On a dangerous overland trail drive across hundreds of miles, she would prove that nothing is impossible—and love can come when you least expect it.

Imagine selling your family farm to move west and join your husband on the new ranch he’s homesteading with a partner only to find he’s dead when you get there…

This story is set in early western days in ranch country near the Mexican border. Ms. Coleman does a nice job of expressing the turmoil between Indians, Mexicans, white man, nature, and the land. Building a ranch on a desert is a hard backbreaking job and there is danger everywhere.

Her two main characters are strong, stubborn individuals with their own goals and beliefs. He’s Scottish, she’s the bereaved wife. It doesn’t take long before you are sympathizing with both of them. Life is tough, they are being proper, and the lady has brains. Before long, she has the men on the ranch going on a cattle drive – and she insists on going along! Back in that day, such a thing was unheard of. But she owned part of the ranch, so she had a say. And she got ranch staff support, too.

Cattle drives were a common way to get cattle to market without paying for train transportation. Magdalena, New Mexico was the railroad hub for a long time in New Mexico. Ms. Coleman has researched it well enough to write an authentic account of how it worked and the troubles encountered on the drive. With such realism, it makes you feel like you are personally there with them.

The author also does a good job of showing how all the personalities interact. As usual in a large group there are the good and the bad. Out on the range, someone with evil intent can be even more dangerous.

This story flows well, keeps your interest and the budding romance between Joanna and Angus makes it even more interesting.

I really enjoyed this read and will be looking for more books by this author. Good historical romance is a fun read, and this was good historical romance.