Colorado Dawn

A Runaway Brides Novel, #2

Maddie Wallace isn’t your typical Victorian lady. She married a younger son of a Scottish earl, Angus, who was a carrier cavalry officer. Maddie went to live with his family in the highlands and felt out of place and unwanted. She particularly felt unwanted by her husband who in 6 years visited her once and wrote a total of 3 letters. When her parents die, Maddie decides to follow her dreams, dreams of being a photographer. She even gets a position from a London periodical and heads to the American Wild West to take pictures from the female perspective.

Unknown to Maddie, Angus was horribly wounded in an explosion and has retired from the cavalry. For the past year and a half he’s been searching for his wife. When he finds her, he plans on taking her back to Scotland. He has responsibilities he hadn’t planned on. A fever has killed most of his family and he is now next in line for the earldom. It’s his responsibility to learn how to take over and to provide the next heir. To do that though, he needs his wife!

Maddie isn’t the same woman Angus remembers. She has a passion for what she does and has no desire to become a “lady”. Maddie also has no plans on returning to Scotland.

Can these two come up with a compromise or is a divorce the only way to go?

This is the second book in Ms. Warner’s Runaway Brides series. You do not have to read the first book to love this one though all the characters from the first are in this one. Maddie made a very interesting secondary character in the first book and she shines in this one.

In fact, the main characters are exceptionally well done. Maddie is trying to make her way in a world that is predominately male and doing a good job of it. She’s feisty yet loyal to those she believes deserves her loyalty. When this story starts, she’s positive Angus does not deserve much of anything. Angus is trying to find his way in a role he hadn’t expected. Actually, a couple of roles, he didn’t expect. He thought Maddie was patiently waiting for his return at his family home so finding her being so independent has him refiguring his role in his wife’s world. He also never expected to be in line to be the earl. After all, he had two older brothers. Now, he has responsibilities and Angus always takes care of his responsibilities weather he wants to or not.

The secondary characters were also well done. Most were part of the first book so for readers of this series their background would be well known. For those that are not, there is enough background given so you can get an essence of each character. There are also some era biases that come out. Thomas is Native American and so not welcome everywhere though he is well liked and respected in Heartbreak Creek. Pru is an educated Negro woman who happens to be the half-sister of a white woman.

The town and era that are portrayed are done realistically. Heartbreak Creek is a mining town whose mine has run out. It’s dying unless someone or something gives it new purpose. There is a chance that a railroad might come through if the water is tested as clean. The mine waste has made it full of minerals which will mess up the trains. Gold claims are being found up in the mountains and some men will do anything to get one, even kill. And, territories trying for statehood are a huge deal and delegates from all over would come together. Denver was considered a rough town and it definitely didn’t cater to families or women.

I completely loved this book. There characters were alive and interesting. The situations that developed were not only realistic but they captured my imagination. Things didn’t always go according to plan and Ms. Warner put plenty of twists and turns in this story so you were kept guessing. I loved how the same cast of characters was still in this story and that though Maddie and Angus’s story was the main one, there was more than their story in this one.

If you like a unique western historical, give this series a chance. These runaway brides aren’t your typical women and the men who fall in love with them are just as unique.

Book Blurb for Colorado Dawn

The next in Kaki Warner's sweeping new series about unlikely brides who make their way west-discovering newfound freedom and rediscovering love...

After only three letters and one visit during her six-year marriage to a Scottish Cavalry Officer, Maddie Wallace decides to build a life without him. Accepting an assignment from a London periodical to photograph the West from a female perspective, she sails from England, determined to build a new life as an independent woman.

After injury ends his military career, Angus Wallace returns home to find his wife gone, his family decimated by fever, and himself next in line to an earldom. His new mission is clear--find his wife and sire heirs. His search takes him across an ocean and half a continent, but he finally tracks her to Heartbreak Creek, Colorado. There his biggest challenge awaits--to convince his headstrong wife to return home as his viscountess.

Amidst statehood struggles, claim jumping, and railroad disputes their passionate battle rages...until word comes that Angus has become the earl. Now they must decide between a life in the mountains of Colorado, or in the glittering ballrooms of London...and between duty and desire.

Night Owl Reviews Jan, 2012 4.75