Thursday, June 27, 2013

New Review: Ellen O’Connell’s BEAUTIFUL BAD MAN – A Great Story of Second Chances from a Wonderful Author of Western Romance!

This is O’Connell’s fourth Western historical romance, and it’s a good one. Set in Kansas in 1880 (except for the prologue set in 1866 and 1871), it tells the story of two people who met one night at a circled wagon train when they were young. He was a thief looking for food and she was his rescuer when some drunken men wanted to hang him. Neither forgot each other, but when they meet years later, all has changed. Caleb Sutton has become a hardened gunslinger, good at killing men; and Norah Hawkins is a broken widow looking for death. When Cal realizes she is “the Girl” who saved him, he can’t leave her without helping. And she needs help, as a land grubbing rancher is using any despicable means he can to steal the settlers’ land.

O’Connell weaves a complex tale of second chances and redemption as lives affected by the evil actions of others are dealt with in the context of love. Cal is a hardened and brutal (but still noble) hero haunted by the ghosts of his past; he believes he is “the devil’s spawn” as he was told as a boy. Though deep down he has a tender heart, he hides it from all but Norah. Norah is a courageous woman who only needs a reason to live, and Cal gives her one.

It’s a great story, well told and with richly developed characters. There’s lots of action, too, and the plot is cleverly woven, the dialog wonderful.

I highly recommend this and all her novels. They are on my Best Western Historical Romances list.

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