Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Loving Lucas by AnnMarie Oakes

The Basics:

Loving Lucas by AnnMarie Oakes
eXcessica Publishing
Book One in the Ladies of Cascade Creek
Western Romance

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


Audra Canton's suitors have an odd way of making their case: they keep shooting at her. The Colorado Territory of the 1870s is tough on women alone; the two Canton sisters have no one but each other after the death of their father. All the locals want to marry Audra for the Canton homestead, and they're not above scaring her into it. Audra needs help learning to protect herself and her sister.

That's when Lucas Blake drifts into Audra's life. She takes him on as a hired hand, though he's anything but. He's a lawman hot on the trail of a hardened criminal, and working the Canton homestead is the perfect cover.

But just when Audra thinks she's out of the line of fire, Lucas accidentally puts her straight into the sights of a new, more deadly gun that makes her drunken suitors look like toy soldiers. Now Lucas and Audra must fight for their lives—and each other.

What worked for me:

This was a workable western romance. I haven't read a western romance in a while, so it was nice to dip a toe into that subgenre. 

The romance here is plausible, and there's some seeds of interesting things - two sisters trying to live alone while being harassed by local men who want access to their land (and them!) and the manly man who swoops in to help them.  

I did like the way that Lilah was written in terms of her flirtatiousness, and going after what she wanted. She was believable as a young adult trying to figure out her place in the world. She was the most interesting character in the book for me.

What didn't work for me:

Possibly because this is a short romance, there are some really abrupt shifts from chapter to chapter. The most jarring changes happen when the new chapter starts with a romantic scene. 

Audra comes across as pretty hypocritical as she lectures Lilah against falling for Lucas, while at the same time sneaking away to kiss him herself. 

I also didn't quite understand why Lucas had to lie about his last name to Audra and her sister. Not announcing his intentions to hunt down the outlaws made sense, but the women were so isolated that hiding his identity so carefully with them was really strange. 

Overall, it felt as though this was selected/edited from a longer novel, and I think it would have benefited from another 20-30 pages to flesh out the development of Audra and Lucas' romance and to give some more meat to Lucas' hunt for the outlaws.

Bottom Line:

A short read that passes the time, but doesn't leave a lasting impression. It read a little flat and workmanlike, but I didn't dislike it. My problem was that nothing developed at a pace to really draw me into the story.

2.5 stars
For fans of (short) western romances.

No comments:

Post a Comment