Review: The Promise of Jenny Jones by Maggie Osborne

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Warner Books
Hero: Ty Sanders
Heroine: Jenny Jones
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication:  April 1, 1997
Started On: August 22, 2010
Finished On: August 23, 2010

Maggie Osborne certainly doesn’t write about your conventional heroines. Her books always center around those women who are uneducated and shoulder the responsibilities usually carried out by men for survival’s sake. The story moves on in such a manner that you can see the heroine transform herself into something better because all along, even though the heroine may cuss and drink like the best of men, she always has redeeming qualities that shine in the end.

The Promise of Jenny Jones centers around one such heroine. Jenny Jones is a woman who had had to fend for herself from the tender age of around 8 when her mother had kicked her out of her home. Jenny had never shied away from hard tough work, because it was either that or starve to death. Big boned and reaching a height of around 6 ft, Jenny defies the convention of dainty figured women. Her one encounter with a man had soured her of having any sort of relationship with a man, and in Jenny’s mind, no man in his right mind would look at her twice. But the one remarkable quality of Jenny was that when she gave someone her word, she never went back on it. Jenny figures that being truthful was the only thing she had left in this world.

So it is this quality that lands her in a Mexican jail, sentenced to meet her maker by a firing squad. The stench, filth and the lice that seemed to have taken permanent residence in her long red hair almost made her long for the death that would inevitably arrive come morning. Salvation comes in the form of the hauntingly beautiful Senora Margarita Sanders who was terminally ill. She arrives in Jenny’s prison cell and proposes that she take Jenny’s place in front of the firing squad. In return, Jenny had to promise that she would take Margarita’s young daughter Graciela to her father and Margarita’s husband Robert Sanders in Northern California. Margarita feared for her daughter’s life, that her cousins would attempt to kill Graciela and remove the only obstacle that stood in their way of the family fortune, because Margarita’s father, who had disowned her on her marriage to Robert Sanders was filthy rich.

Jenny who had never had the responsibility of looking after a child before is skeptical at best. But a promise given has to be kept and thus Jenny finds out just how tiresome and irksome a six year old can be. Graciela hates Jenny on sight and keeps on praying to God for her death because according to Graciela her mother was killed because of Jenny. And Graciela wants nothing more than to return to what is familiar, unaware of the danger that her cousins now posed.

Ty Sanders had been asked by his brother Robert, upon the death of their father to travel to Mexico and fetch Margarita and his child. Ty unknowingly encounters Jenny and Graciela and Graciela’s two gun toting cousins who are hellbent on removing Graciela from Jenny’s keep. The first encounter itself, though Jenny looks less than flattering with her manly clothes and shortly cropped hair, Ty feels the first stir of awareness and a deep respect for the woman who fiercely guarded her child.

But when Ty finds out later that the woman who had been occupying his thoughts all too frequently since, might have kidnapped Graciela, he swears that he would rescue his niece and return her to her father, regardless of whatever misgivings  he might have about Mexicans.

Thus starts the encounters between these three. Graciela is hardly the docile child you would imagine a woman like Margarita would have reared. But she is spoiled, willful and wants her way or the high way. Graciela reluctantly starts to admire Jenny and Jenny too learns from the girl who slowly starts to creep her way into her heart. And Graciela’s uncle has the most unimaginable effect on Jenny, that she can’t believe that the blue-green eyed, lithe and handsome cowboy was really interested in bedding her, Jenny Jones that no man ever glanced at twice. But when Ty’s smoldering gaze rests on her, Jenny feels beautiful, sexy and all those things that she had never hoped she would feel.

The coming together of Jenny and Ty is explosive amongst the sultry heat of Mexico, amongst a journey that is fraught with danger for the threesome that try to make their way out of Mexico. In the end, Ty gets shot and has to be left behind so that Jenny can keep her promise to the woman who had been brave enough to die for the one person who mattered to her more than anything else.

The epilogue of the story is wonderful, describing the wedding of Graciela and how Ty and Jenny had weathered after marriage. Beautifully done story that kept the pages turning and kept me up into the wee hours of the night, just so I could immerse myself in the beautiful sensuality created by Ms. Osborne.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble

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Review: A Stranger’s Wife by Maggie Osborne

Format: E-bookstranger
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Hero: Quinn Westin
Heroine: Lily Dale
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication:  April 1, 2001
Started On: August 21, 2010
Finished On: August 22, 2010

When you curl up with a novel by Maggie Osborne, you certainly don’t end up reading the usual flavor of romances out there. A Stranger’s Wife certainly fits that category and more and I devoured up the book with the fascination that Ms. Osborne’s books always invoke.

Lily Dale spent the last 5 years of her life at Yuma Women’s Prison. Lily had been sentenced to prison for 10 years for partnering up with her then boyfriend Cy in robbing one of the gambling halls in Tombstone, Cy had convinced Lily with all his talk that he was doing this for Lily and their new born daughter Rose so that they could all start off with a better life somewhere else. But things had gone awfully wrong and Lily had ended up firing the pistol in her hand, which the prosecutors had been convinced that she had done deliberately. Whilst Cy had been hanged to death, Lily had barely escaped with her life and paid for her participation in crime with five years of her life inside the walls of prison where hard labor, torture, beatings and starvation had been part of daily life. The one thing that got Lily through was the hope of reuniting with her daughter Rose in Missouri.

When Lily is released from prison before her sentence is completed, little does she know that it has something to do with the recent visit to the prison by a Mr. Paul Kazinski who had spent a significant amount of time studying and watching her, which had made Lily pretty uncomfortable. And when Lily hears that Paul, who is a Kingmaker wanted to meet with her Lily knows that once again she is going to be coerced into doing something she doesn’t want to do.

When Lily steps inside the coach that Paul asks her to take a ride in with him, the last thing she expected was to come face to face with larger than life Quinn Westin. And when she hears the foolhardy plan that Paul proposes, that she Lily who had never played by the rules of the society pretend to be the wife of the magnificent man who sat in front of her sent shivers of foreboding up and down her spine.

Quinn Westin was a man who thought ahead of his time. With his idealistic views about how society should be shaped up and moved into the future, Quinn was hellbent on being the first governor of the newly created state of Colorado. Quinn was determined that nothing would stay in his path towards being governor. His long term friend and Kingmaker Paul was equally determined that even the disappearance of Miriam, Quinn’s wife wouldn’t cause any glitches in the campaign which had about seven months left.

Thus finding a woman who had an uncanny resemblance to Miriam was disconcerting to say the least. When Quinn lays his eyes on the rough around the edges convict woman who loves a shot of whiskey and smokes and cusses like any man, Quinn is surprised at the immense tug of attraction he feels for Lily. Likewise Lily cannot believe that the smoldering gaze of Quinn could turn everything she had believed in for so long upside down.

Backed into a corner, Lily reluctantly agrees to the plan and thus starts her journey from a commoner into a refined lady of the society. Paul coaches her in all the ways she needs to change in order to become the woman worthy of being Miriam. But what even Paul can’t tamp down is the sensuality and provocative nature of the woman who is to impersonate a woman who was shy and laid back at best.

From the moment Lily embraces the role of becoming Miriam, Lily craves to find out what actually happened to the woman she is pretending to be. The more she tries to pry information from her enigmatic pretend husband and Paul, the more they shut her out and when she does find out Miriam’s story, Lily at first detests Quinn for being the unfeeling man he shows to be.

But little by little, Lily finds out the truth, the truth of actually what went between Quinn and Miriam and how forces outside who wanted to see Quinn fail in the election had contrived to use Miriam’s vulnerability against Quinn and end his political career once and for all.

The epilogue is certainly different not because it was a letter from Lily addressed to Paul but because of how life shaped out in the end for Lily, Miriam and Quinn. Though many a people may not agree with what takes place in this story, Ms. Osborne makes it work with charm, wit and enough sensuality to knock your socks off.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard

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Review: Prairie Moon by Maggie Osborne

Format: E-bookpraire
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Hero: James Cameron
Heroine: Della Ward
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: October 29, 2002
Started On: August 19, 2010
Finished On: August 21, 2010

Maggie Osborne never fails to invoke a massive torrent of emotions in the reader with her books, and this book is in no way an exception to the rule.

Dell Ward, the widow of Clarence Ward who died during the confederates war, now lived in a rundown farm at the edge of a small Texas town. With the small number of animals she keeps and the garden she cultivates to give her a reason to get up each morning, Della is a mere ghost of the woman who married Clarence at the tender age of 16, with dreams of being the idyllic wife of a war veteran.

Lawman James Cameron has been carrying around Della’s photograph with him for the past 10 years. There was not an inch of the woman in the photograph he wasn’t familiar with, and he has once again come to see her so that she would finally know the truth about how her husband had died.

The woman that greets him stirs everything deep within this strong, silent lawman, whom every outlaw in the West was gunning for. Cameron knows that he ought to tell Della outright that he was the reason that Della was a widow and that she had had to fend for herself for the past 10 years. But once Della receives the letter that Clarence had penned for her and never completed before his death, the guilt that Della had been harboring since her husband’s death comes rushing back. The guilt that the last words that her husband had ever read from her were “I hate you”. Della would give anything in her life to take back those words and prevent Clarence from dying thinking that she had hated him.

No matter how much Cameron wants to come out with the truth, he is a man bent on storing up memories for the long lonely life ahead of him of the one woman who had effectively managed to capture his heart. So Cameron comes up with reasons to delay telling Della  the truth and let Della go on assuming that he had been Clarence’s friend. When Cameron finds out that Della was forced to give up her baby girl Claire to the Wards, Cameron knows that returning Claire to Della would be the last thing he does for her before walking away from her life forever.

Della is at first resistant to the idea of going to find Claire, but a part of her can’t help but jump with joy every time she thinks about seeing her baby girl again. Thus starts the long journey these two take, a journey during which the sensual awareness that has always been there between these two bursts to the surface threatening the little control that Cameron has over his feelings when it comes to Della.

The road to happiness for Della and Cameron is not an easy one. Both Cameron and Della have to face their pasts, learn to forgive themselves and one another before they could embrace their happily ever after.

I absolutely loved Cameron as a hero. He definitely is one sigh worthy hero and makes a girl long for one battle scarred brooding war hero of her own. Della complements this strong silent man in every way and though  the immense betrayal she feels when she finds the truth devastates her, the love that she feels for Cameron triumphed over it which made me admire Della as the heroine.

Wonderful story once again by Ms. Osborne. Its a damn shame that she stopped writing romances. Damn shame indeed!

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble

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Review: The Wives of Bowie Stone by Maggie Osborne

Format: E-bookwives
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Hero: Bowie Stone
Heroine: Rosie Mary Mulvehey
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: December 1, 1994
Started On: August 18, 2010
Finished On: August 19, 2010

This book has been on my TBR pile for quite sometime now. It landed on my pile after I came across Sliver Lining by Ms. Osborne and fell in love with her writing style. So after finishing up my last book, I was mulling over which book to start with when I read through a thread on Amazon discussing Maggie Osborne and Pamela Morsi. Readers were discussing which of the books by the two authors they liked and I suddenly had the urge to go through the list of books I have by Ms. Osborne and indulge myself in a wonderful story created by one of the most talented writers in romance.

As soon as I started reading this book the first thing that struck me was the odd title. Then I realized that the hero in question must have more than one wife in this book and it was as I expected. Bowie Stone is an ex-cavalry officer, wrongly convicted for murder when he had only killed in self defense. Dishonorably discharged from the cavalry for going against his superior’s orders which had entailed that he lead his officers and shoot down defenseless women and children in an Indian village whilst their men were out hunting, Bowie Stone had resigned himself to the death that awaited him.

In Gulliver County, Kansas, there was an ordinance that stated that men who were sentenced to death would escape their fate if one of the women in the county chooses the convict as her husband. This was due to the scarcity of available men in the county after the war had started. Desperate times called for desperate measures and this is how Bowie Stone escapes his unjust punishment when Rosie Mulvehey picks him up as her husband.

Bowie cannot believe his eyes at first when he lays his eyes on the woman who stands in front of him who looked and acted more like a man than a woman, reeking to the high heavens of whiskey, smoking and cussing all the way. All that Rosie needs from a man is someone to work on her derelict farm to harvest the crop that would serve as the revenge she has been seeking on her stepfather ever since his untimely death.

Rosie doesn’t expect things to change much just because she has taken on a husband. Going into town, getting drunk and raising a ruckus bad enough to land her in jail is a weekly occurrence for Rosie. Rosie lived with John Hawkins an ex-Indian and Lodisha an ex-slave to whom she was loyal to a fault and vice versa. Rosie relied on the steady intake of whiskey at night to keep her nightmares at bay, the nightmares of the sexual and mental abuse that she underwent when her mother died, leaving her stepfather in charge of her affairs. John and Lodisha had tried to help her, but the threat by her stepfather that he would have them killed if they so much as whispered what was going on in his household to the county effectively bought their silence. Thus Rosie hid from the world her femininity and strutted around like a man, wanting nothing more than to yield a profit from the harvest reaped from the harsh landscape that is her stepfather’s home, just so she could best him in the one thing he had failed during his life.

Bowie doesn’t realize that there are complex layers to the woman he has got himself married to. Though Bowie has obligations back home, like a wife and a son, he knows that he owes Rosie and vows to stay on to repay his debt to her for the one harvest season. So it comes more than a surprise to Bowie when he first lays eyes on his wife, minus the dirt and grime that continuously cling to her skin and the unflattering clothes she prefers and feels a tug of desire unlike anything he has experienced before. And when Bowie finds the truth about the abuse she underwent with her stepfather, a clearer picture starts to form of the woman who donates so charitably towards those more needful than her but never gets acknowledged for it, a woman who was fiercely loyal to those whom she considered hers and a woman who craved the bottle so that she would feel less and forget her dark past.

Unwillingly, Bowie falls in love with Rosie, knowing that his duty lay with his wife Susan and son Nate back at home. Bowie had taken Susan as his wife when his brother had died after a freak accident, eliciting the promise from Bowie that he would take care of his pregnant girlfriend. So Bowie had married Susan out of a sense of duty and left her in the care of his father, Senator Stone. Knowing that they would be well cared for, until Bowie can make his way back to them is the only consolation he has whilst he works the harsh fields trying to give Rosie the one thing she desires above anything else.

It was beautiful the way Rosie slowly comes to trust and admire the man she marries and how this vulnerable woman opens up to the possibility of love and fiery passion with a man who seems to understand her every desire. Little by little, Rosie changes her ways, earns the respect of members of her county and finally ceases to be the drunk she is, just so she could be the wife who is worthy of the man she married.

This story moves along side by side with the story of Susan, Bowie’s actual wife and son Nate. Susan is basically thrown out into the streets as per the will of Senator Stone, who blames Susan for all that had befallen his son. Susan who had always relied on a man to make the tough decisions in life, a woman who had never had to lift a finger in all her life suddenly finds herself ladled with the daunting task of faring for herself for the first time in her life.

Her lawyer upon her desolate cry advises her to head west and that is how Susan finds herself answering the ad placed by Gresham Harte from Wyoming for a wife. Appearing with her son in tow, garbed in mourning attire doesn’t win Gresham over, and when he finds out that Susan had never had to work a day in her life, Gresham regretfully turns Susan away, though her beauty captivates the man inside of him.

It was riveting to read of how Susan overcomes the obstacles in her life, with the support and help of the community in Wyoming. Through hard found courage, Susan manages to attain the teacher’s position and from there onwards, life becomes more meaningful for a woman who had had nothing more major to do most days than to pick out the menu for the day. Inch by inch, Susan manages to overcome her fears and in the process fall in love with Gresham who reluctantly feels a responsibility towards her and finally succumbs to falling in love with her as well. However tragedy strikes when Nate is killed in a boating accident on the July fourth activities which devastates Susan more than anything else that had happened in her life.

So it is the promise that Bowie made to Nate that has him walking away from the one woman whom he holds dear to his heart more than anything else in this world and trudging onwards towards a future which looked bleak at best.

The Wives of Bowie Stone is a wonderful story, made more so by the fact that this tale depicts the lives of two equally brave women and the men who irrevocably falls in love with them. I loved the way Bowie slowly erased whatever fears that lurked within Rosie, how he slowly seduces her to fall in love with him and ultimately surrender to be the passionate woman she is meant to be.

Susan’s story too is beautiful in its own way, and made me admire her for the reserves of courage she finds within herself to face the harsh realities of life and overcome them to become a woman much stronger and more desirable for the fact.

Needless to say, I loved this novel and am looking forward to reading more from Ms. Osborne.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard

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Maggie Osborne

Review: Silver Lining by Maggie Osborne

Format: E-book
Read with: Mobipocket Reader
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Ivy Books
Hero: Max McCord
Heroine: Low Down (Louise Downe)
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: January 4, 2000
Started On: June 1, 2010
Finished On: June 2, 2010

I have to say its been a while since I read a romance that truly touched my heart. This book is that and so much more. I have always loved romances where the characters slowly find themselves falling in love with another by identifying qualities within one another deserving of their love and devotion to the other. This novel by Maggie Osborne offers all that and more in the story of how Louise Downe nicknamed Low Down for the luck she had had in life finds herself hitched to the blue eyed Max McCord who is in love with his fiance back home.

Max becomes honor bound to marry Louise when she nurses him and all the other men who were in Piney Creek to hunt for gold from smallpox taking all their lives. The men promise amongst themselves that Low Down would have anything that her heart desires for not turning her back on them in their hour of need. To their discomfiture and surprise, Low Down announces that her heart’s desire is to have a baby of her own to love and cherish. For someone who has never had a family of her own it has always been Low Down’s dream to one day have a loving a family of her own.

Its not surprising that none of the men present are too keen on the idea of bedding the bedraggled creature standing in front of them. Although Low Down has on her mind to just get the act over and done with which would plant the baby inside her, the priest present convinces the man who draws the marble with the scratched cross on it to marry Low Down. Though Low Down has got plenty to say against being united in marriage to a man, her protests go unheeded as the men are determined to do right by her.

Max McCord has never shied from responsibility in his life and he isn’t about to start now. Though his angelic bride-to-be Philadelphia is waiting for him back home and their marriage is to  take place within two weeks time, Max doesn’t want to be labeled as the guy who turned his back on repaying a debt he owed. And he can’t believe his bad luck when he is the one who ends up getting hitched to Low Down, when the mere thought of bedding her sends shivers up and down his spine.

Though neither Low Down nor Max wants to be married to one another they have no choice but to go on ahead with the marriage as Max takes his responsibilities to head and Low Down really wants that baby badly. Coming to an arrangement that they would stay married till Low Down became pregnant with a child, these two set off to make a temporary life for themselves in Max’s hometown where Max has to face the music of facing his jilted fiance and her all powerful father.

Max cannot believe his ears when Philadelphia professes to be pregnant with his child, and Wally Max’s brother has to step up and marry Philadelphia to save both families from being ruined by scandal. The story that ensues is one that would stay with me for a long time to come. How Low Down is slowly transformed into Louise Downe, a woman who doesn’t fully understand her self worth, a woman who hopelessly falls in love with her husband against her will and who slowly steals the hearts of all those that surround her.

Very highly recommended as a book that cannot be put down easily once started.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble

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