Open Country

Blood Rose Trilogy, Book 2

Molly McFarlane is desperate. Her dying sister begged her to take her two children and flee from her husband, the children’s stepfather. She left that very night, boarding a train that would take her to California. There she felt she could get a job assisting one of her father’s physician friends, much like she had assisted her father. In the meantime, money is tight and they’re being followed. Could it be the children’s stepfather, Fletcher?

Things change when the train derails and the railroad offers $300 to each dead man’s family. Molly quickly says she is the fiancée of a man expected to die. This $300 will allow Molly and the children the possibility of a good start. The railroad won’t pay fiancées though, forcing Molly to convince the local preacher to marry her to an unconscious man.
Despite Molly’s need for money, she can’t let this man die if she can help him. She takes over nursing him even when his older brother shows up threatening her. In the end, the man who his brother says is Hank Wilkins lives. Now, what is Molly going to do? She’s married to a man she doesn’t know and she still has someone following her!
This is the second book in the Blood Rose Trilogy. You do not need to read the first to appreciate the second though it is an excellent story. The main characters in the first book are an astragal part of the second, which allows the readers of these books to keep up with what is going on in the Wilkins’ family.
I really like the characters in this book. Hank, though he’s lost some of his memory, wants to do the right thing. He doesn’t remember Molly so he agrees to court her though he’d much rather just take her to bed. Charlie, Molly’s young nephew, wants so hard to be grown but he’s still a boy. Molly dislikes doctoring but she’s good at it. With the west needing doctors, her skills are needed. Each character has some endearing characteristic that you can’t help but like.
The mystery, suspense, whatever you want to call it or in other words the guys following Molly and the children give the story a grounding in the post Civil War era that its set in. The resentment of some southerners in loosing the war would give some the thought of a new rebellion. A book with military weapons and methods of warfare would be important to them. These men would be driven and could be driven to murder. Keeping away from them would be hard. It’s also a great place for monsters, just ask Charlie and his sister.
Texas and New Mexico come alive through the descriptions in this book. It’s not easy to get to town so it takes hours. It does snow in the high altitudes of the mountains of New Mexico and blizzards wouldn’t be uncommon. Unexpected gullies and other hazards would have been a way of life. Ms Warner does an excellent job giving such graphic descriptions that you know the land, town and other places because you can see them in your mind.
This book is a thoroughly enjoyable historical romance. Though the men are tough, the women are smart.   They have to be to keep up with the Wilkins brothers. Now, to wait until the last book of this trilogy. If its as good as the first two, this series will have to be a must read for anyone who enjoys historical western romance.

Book Blurb for Open Country

The award-winning Blood Rose trilogy continues in a bold romance of the Old West by the author of Pieces of Sky. 
From a "truly original new voice in historical fiction"* (New York Times bestselling author Jodi Thomas) comes the second novel in a passionate new saga of the three Wilkins brothers, living and loving on the dangerous American frontier. It's a tale of unlikely romance in an unforgiving land, where the greatest reward awaits those with the will to overcome all obstacles.
Penniless and on the run, Molly marries a man she has never met and who is dying from injuries sustained in a train derailment.  She hopes the insurance settlement will help her and her late sister’s two children evade their vicious stepfather, who has had men tracking them for three months.  Except the stranger, Hank Wilkins, doesn’t die.  And when he awakens to a wife and two stepchildren he doesn’t remember, Molly finds herself being coerced by Hank’s overbearing older brother to continue the charade.  Fearing for Hank’s life and knowing Molly is a nurse, he wants her to tend Hank at their ranch until he’s fully recovered.  Molly might be a gifted healer, but she knows little about children and even less about men—especially big, silent, brooding types like Hank.  But as he slowly recovers, the threat of the  children’s stepfather seems distant and the idea of a real marriage becomes more appealing to Molly.  Soon, though, Hank learns his marriage is a lie and the past begins to catch up with her…and everything starts to unravel.
Pieces of Sky
available January 5, 2010
Open Country
available June 2010
Chasing the Wind
available January 2011

Night Owl Reviews Apr, 2010 4.75