Stetsons, Spring and Wedding Rings by Jillian Hart
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Goodness, this was a tough book to read, for a number of reasons.
First of all, this was one of the first books I read after my exhilirating experience of reading a book I'd been waiting for a long time and loved. Secondly, the first two stories weren't terribly exciting. I'll break down my review by each story.
Rocky Mountain Courtship by Jillian Hart:
This is actually a good, sweet story. Joseph and Clara are adorable. I like that Joseph fell in love at first sight, and he didn't care that Clara was just a maid. She was the woman for him, and he was going to claim her heart. Clara had misgivings because of her rough life, and having had her heart played with by another man. But love conquers all. And as a nice little bonus, the hero is a virgin! If I rate this story merely based on its quality, and not my mindset at the time (I'm a very moody reader), it's a four star story.
Courting Miss Perfect by Judith Stacy:
I really hate to have to do this, but I didn't care for this story. I tried, hard. I had to pick it up a few times. I'd have moments where I thought, I can like this story, but they got swallowed up by my annoyance of the foolish actions of the heroine. Brynn worked my nerves. She should have told Travis about the jewels that someone stashed in her bag. But, no, she had to lie about it. He was a freaking Pinkerton agent. He was there to help her, and going out of his way to do so. I realize that her past thoughtless actions had caused a social nightmare for her, leading to her being extra-cautious of her reputation, but that didn't warrant making such a bad decision in this case, to cover up for herself. She wasn't guilty. She should have just come clean. So, that's a major reason I didn't care for this story. I spent most of the time wanting to yell at her to tell him about the jewels. Also, I didn't like that they slept together, even though she was so careful about her reputation that she didn't even want to be alone with him for more than a few seconds, for most of the story. Completely inconsistent behavior. Also, Travis slept with a proper virgin and was about to put her on a train to back East. Yeah right. The climax just furthered my dislike for the book. You can know a man enough to have relations with him, but you don't want to marry him right away because you need to get to know each other. Okay, maybe that would work for a modern woman in the 21st Century, but not a woman in the 19th Century who was worried about her reputation, and went on tour with her aunt who wrote etiquette books. Sorry, I couldn't buy that. So, I'm sad to say this story got a rating of 1 star.
Courted by the Cowboy by Stacey Kayne:
I really liked this story. Ms. Kayne has such a way with words. I like how she managed to get quite a bit of western action in this short story, but it didn't get in the way of character development or a believable romance. I could understand Constance's insecurities after being badly burned, on top of a life as an orphan who had to go from place to place to make a living for herself. Oh, I loved Kyle. What a man. He was partly responsible for the fire that burned Constance, and did right by her, arranging for her to get the best care for her burns, and seeing her settled in a convent as she healed. Matchmaking relatives set things up so that she got hired to be the schoolteacher in the township that Kyle ran, and this couple met again. I was rooting for them to find their way together, and deal with a horrible man from their mutual pasts. This was too short, but it was really enjoyable. 4.5 stars.
I was so disappointed with the Judith Stacy story, although I normally like her books. And I had trouble reading the first story (I was too jittery), although it was very good. These factors kept this book from being highly rated. It just came along at a bad time for me, I guess. Overall rating: 3.5/5.0 stars.
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