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Rhine Trilogy, #2

“Breathless” by Beverly Jenkins combines interesting facts with a sobering look at the challenges faced by people of color in a society that did not appreciate their contributions or their potential. I was saddened to discover that even those who were fighting for the rights of women demonstrated their own bigotry against females who had a different skin color.

The sense of family that gives the Carmichaels their success and their determination to thrive in a society that isn’t always fair and equitable toward minorities permeates this story. The characterization is vivid and paints these figures as larger-than-life and admirable even as the author brings to life the struggles and hazards of life during these times.

It was wonderful to watch the heat build between Kent, who has made peace with his past and the decisions that shaped him, and Portia, who is almost afraid to strive for her dreams. I like that both characters travel an arc through the story and I hope Portia’s sister gets her own time in the spotlight. Their aunt and uncle are a wonderful example for the girls to live up to and the family’s proactive approach to changing society’s ills is inspirational. I am not normally a big fan of historical westerns, but I was very glad to have chosen to read this story because I enjoy romances that are thought-provoking and informative without being preachy and this was a perfect combination of that. I will be on the lookout for other great stories by this author.

This western historical romance centers around Portia Carmichael, whose inauspicious childhood was marred by several life-changing events, not least of which was fleeing bigotry in an 1870s Nevada town. She and her sister are an integral part of their aunt and uncle’s family and help make the family’s hotel and accompanying activities a success. Her re-acquaintance with footloose cowboy Kent Randolph makes her reevaluate what she wants from life. There are plenty of dangers and obstacles to overcome, particularly if one is an ambitious and intelligent black woman, but Kent has grown up in the years since he gave young Portia her nickname, and he’s finally making plans for the future—and he wants Portia to be part of those plans. Together, maybe they can change the world.

Book Blurb for Breathless

A strong-willed beauty finds herself in the arms of the handsome drifter from her past, in this second book in the sizzling series set in the Old West, from USA Today Bestselling Author Beverly Jenkins

As manager of one of the finest hotels in Arizona Territory, Portia Carmichael has respect and stability—qualities sorely missing from her harsh childhood. She refuses to jeopardize that by hitching herself to the wrong man. Suitors are plentiful, but none of them has ever looked quite as tempting as the family friend who just rode into town…and none has looked at her with such intensity and heat.

Duchess. That’s the nickname Kent Randolph gave Portia when she was a young girl. Now she’s a stunning, intelligent woman—and Kent has learned his share of hard lessons. After drifting through the West, he’s learned the value of a place to settle down, and in Portia’s arms he’s found that and more. But convincing her to trust him with her heart, not just her passion, will be the greatest challenge he’s known—and one he intends to win…

Night Owl Reviews Oct, 2017 4.50