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Friday, April 15, 2011

Wildcat Bride by Lauri Robinson

Wildcat Bride by Lauri Robinson
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (208 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4 books
Reviewed by Camellia

Seeing his long time sweetheart after a long separation, Bug (Brett) Quinter is determined to claim her as his wife. But first he has to wrangle his way out of a New York City jail and travel across the nation on an orphan train. His arrival in Kansas finds his mother and her trusty shotgun are opposed to his wedding plans.

Even with an illustrious career as an artist, the only thing Eva Robertson has ever wanted is Bug Quinter. She’s as shocked as Bug when Ma Quinter refuses to allow them to marry. Not willing to revert to the meek girl the Quinter's first met, Eva must reveal to the entire clan the wildcat buried deep inside her.

Eva Robertson and Bug Quinter’s young love, so pure and true, has been put on hold for three years. Both Eva and Bug have grown up. Now each fears they have grown apart during the hiatus. Bug has done well in the oil business that he loves and wants to start his own business. During the three years he has been gone from Kansas, Eva has become a world renowned artist with the help of her agent, who sees to her every need, and a lawyer who watches over her business. She is no longer the shy girl living in a soddy on the Kansas prairie.

All of the Quinter men and their brides have intriguing, attention-holding stories, but Bug and Eva’s story has a special twist with Ma Quinter and her shotgun. Ma has a unique understanding of human nature and emotions that often elude others. She, along with all the Quinters--blood kin and chosen kin--rally to the cause when any one of them needs assistance. Humor, love, work, and a “can-do” attitude radiates from the mighty army they become when they join forces.

Bug fears he has left things too long when he sees how Jack Houston, Eva’s agent, anticipates and takes care of Eva’s needs. Eva’s heart quakes when she sees pretty, blonde Jenny Staples possessively clinging to Bug’s arm. Eva soon learns Jenny is used to getting what she wants and is not concerned about who gets hurt in the process.

Other characters like the three orphans, Tucker, Reed, and Heather that Bug meets on the Orphan Train and Chester Staples, Jenny’s father, add an undercurrent of “what-is-going-to-happen?” that simmers while other conflicts and obstacles thwart Eva and Bug’s getting back together. However, the uniqueness of Bug and Eva’s story as compared to the other Quinter Bride stories makes Wildcat Bride a compelling, heart-touching story about young love that matures to a richness while holding on to the special joys of first love and friendship. Their love encompasses so many others. It makes the heart happy.

Lauri Robinson creates stories that bubble with life as the characters deal with adversities and rise above them, then move on to be instrumental in the great things happening during the historical time in which the story is set. Wildcat Bride gives a low key but powerful picture of how the oil industry started to flourish in nineteenth century America. The historical references give a strong sense of time and place as they are subtly tucked into the needs, hopes, and dreams of Bug and Eva.

If you have not read the other Quinter Bride stories, Wildcat Bride is a great one to start with then work backward. They take the reader back to the nineteenth century--a robust, energetic time when all things seemed possible, especially when loves like the Quinter men and their brides’ have undergirds the efforts.

Wildcat Bride is good reading.