This is a new feature on my blog called Sample Reading. This is where I will talk about book samples that I've gotten online. I'll read the sample and will answer the very important question:
Will I buy it?
Romance Reviews Today recently blogged about their Perfect 10s for 2012 and Kaki Warner's Colorado Dawn was one of two Historical Romances listed (the other one was Sweet Enemy by Heather Snow).
I've never read Kaki Warner but I'm familiar with her name because she's been nominated for the RITAs several times and has won for First Book (for Pieces of Sky) -- so I decided to check out Colorado Dawn, which is the second book in her Runaway Brides series.
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.
- from Kaki Warner's website
I got the sample from: Amazon, Kindle
# of Pages: Prologue and Chapter 1 of a 368-page book (23 chapters)
Runaway Brides is one of my favorite romance tropes. There are so many different reasons why a bride would bolt and there are so many different ways for the story to end: will she be "caught" by her groom and will they end up together and how will that come about? Will she find someone else? etc.
(For reference: I love, love, love Celeste Bradley's Runaway Brides Trilogy and Madeline Hunter's The Rarest Blooms series has one runaway bride. ^_^)
In Kaki Warner's Colorado Dawn, Maddie Wallace has grown tired of waiting for her husband Angus, a soldier, to come back. Her husband's indifference and his family's coldness (and then her own parents' death) have pushed Maddie to strike out on her own and pursue her own dreams. On impulse, she submits her tintypes to The Illustrated London News -- and is delighted to have been hired. What surprises her is that her new boss assigns her to take photos of the American West.
Maddie jumps at the chance to have an adventure of her own.
Almost two years later, Angus, who is now Viscount Ashby, has arrived in Colorado to find his wife.
From the sample, I fell in love with Warner's writing. She presents incredible insight into society and has given her characters very distinct voices. I especially loved the part where Angus arrives in Heartbreak Creek and the sheriff introduces him to some people:
... "See that table in the back corner?" He pointed across the hall to the open door that led into the dining room. "The one with the ladies?"
Ash followed his direction and saw the blond woman seated with a dark-skinned woman and a pregnant sandy-haired woman. All three were staring their way. And frowning. "Aye, I see them."
"The blond is Lucinda Hathaway," the sheriff explained in a friendly tone. "Owns the hotel. Yankee. Smart. Carries a pepperbox pistol. Far as I know, she hasn't killed anyone with it. The dark-skinned woman is Prudence Lincoln. She lives at the school the ladies set up for the ex-slaves and anyone else who wants to come to learn. Whether she likes it or not, she's under the protection of a Cheyenne Dog Soldier. Ever heard of them?"
Ash had. ...
"Now that blue-eyed beauty," the man went on, his voice softening as he looked at the sandy-haired woman. "She's Edwina Brodie. She might fool some with her southern charm, but she's pretty handy with a shovel and once even faced down a mountain lion with a bucket of salad greens. And if that's not enough to give a man pause ..." Swinging his gaze back to Ash, he gave him a hard look. "There's me."
... "And who are you?"
The sheriff touched the tips of two fingers to the brim of his hat. "Declan Brodie. I'm temporary sheriff here at Heartbreak Creek. And her husband." ... "As you can see," he went on, glancing back toward the women, "the ladies are upset. It's not good when they get upset."
"Which of us is in trouble?" Ash asked, although he had a fair idea.
- pp 13-14
The sample ends with Angus deciding to chase after Maddie, who is at Alamosa River taking pictures.
I have so, so many questions! Why did they get married? (She's English and he's Scottish.) How will Maddie react to seeing Angus after almost six years?
Price: $10.20 for print (Used copies start at $1.59), $11.69 for Kindle (International?)
Will I buy it?
After I finished reading this sample, I went and read the samples of the first book, Heartbreak Creek and the third book, Bride of the High Country
and this looks like a really, really, really great series based on the samples.
So, yes, I will be getting these books. (Will most likely get them from the Amazon marketplace to get them at a better price.)