Wednesday, September 9, 2015

New Review: Brenda Joyce’s INNOCENT FIRE – Captivating, Action-Packed 1st in Bragg Series

The story begins in 1840, as Miranda, daughter of the Earl of Dragmore, raised in a convent in France, travels to Texas to meet her betrothed, a wealthy Texas rancher and a member of the British nobility, who fell in love with her picture two years ago when she was only 15. Once in America, Derek Bragg, a handsome Texas Ranger, who is half Apache, escorts her to his friend's ranch. Miranda has no idea of the ways of men and women and doesn't even recognize her attraction to the handsome Bragg. Beautiful, with black hair and violet eyes, she is coveted by all men who see her, including a Comanchero named Chavez they meet in a small town.

Original cover
I felt like I was on a fast moving train reading this romance. The story was so intriguing that Joyce had me reading late into the night as Bragg and Miranda crossed the American west, and Miranda encounters the harsh realities of life on the frontier and the rough ways of hard living men. There is much action in the story: Indian attacks, fights, Texas Rangers fighting Indians to protect the settlers and then the ever-threatening Chavez and his Indians. Derek is a wonderful hero, a man who could be both tough and tender, as he comes to grips with his feelings for Miranda. And Miranda, who had a lot of innate spunk, went from being a naïve girl to a strong woman.

I’m not sure that Joyce could have told this story without the rape scene. Not to give away the plot but it isn't gratuitous violence; it very much reflects the times and the threat every woman faced on the frontier. Although at times the heroine’s life looked a bit like the Perils of Pauline only with more dire consequences, it was still believable. I am so glad I ignored the critical reviews and read this, the first in in the Bragg Saga (see list below).

It's a captivating story and I commend Joyce for being brave enough to tell it.

The Bragg Saga:

Innocent Fire (Derek Bragg and Miranda)
Firestorm (Storm Bragg and Brett)
Violet Fire (Rathe Bragg and Grace
Dark Fires (Nicholas Bragg and Jane)… a keeper and my favorite.
The Fires of Paradise (Lucy Bragg and Shoz)
Scandalous Love (Nicole Bragg Shelton and Hadrian)

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