Friday, May 31, 2013

Kaki Warner -- Chasing The Sun

Khaki Warner -- Chasing The Sun

Rated: ♥ ♥ ♥ . ♥   {3.85}
Action: ♠♠♠ / Emotion: ♣♣♣♣.♣ / Romance: ♥♥♥ / Sensuous: ♦ / Suspense: ♠♠
Action: 3.0 / Emotion: 4.5 / Romance: 3.0 / Sensuous: 1.0 / Suspense: 2.0  //  Historical Flavor: 4.0 // Laughter: 5 // Tears: 7 / Teary: 5

  2011 : RT Book Reviews Nominee: American-set Historical Romance
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Setting:     San Francisco, California
                  The New Mexico Territory
Era:           1873
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Chasing The Sun, the third book in Khaki Warner's The Blood Rose Trilogy was an attention grabbing, interest keeping read even though it did not carry the same powerful punch as the two previous books in the series.   This book is definitely not a standalone read, but needs to be read only after reading book one (Pieces of Sky) and book two (Open Country) of the trilogy.   You see, this book is not only Jack and Daisy's story, but it is also the story of how Brady and Jessica (Pieces of Sky) and Hank and Molly (Open Country) grow right along with Jack and Daisy.   And -- this is the story of how the three brothers finally find acceptance and a resolution of their differences with each other in their own unique way.

Apologizes are in order before beginning this review because rather than wanting to read another "chick lit" emotional kind of book, I was more in the mood for a suspenseful, action-packed adventurous kind of read that featured some great sensuality.   Knowing that Warner's storytelling skill set was not in line with those desires, I picked up Chasing The Sun to finish the trilogy anyway.   The apology is necessary because I knew before even opening the front cover that this book was not going to meet my whimsical reading needs.   So for doing that, I apologize.

Chasing The Sun features the carefree, world-traveling youngest brother, Andrew Jackson "Jack" Wilkins, and how he finds his own stubborn, hard-headed, strong-willed woman, Daisy Etheridge.   Daisy is introduced auditioning at San Francisco's Elysium Theater for a role as a vocalist after losing her singing job at the Silver Spur Saloon for her reaction when the mayor's wife's second cousin's son put his hand down her dress.   (It is because Warner inserts tiny little details like this that makes her books feel so realistic.)   Daisy has always dreamed of singing on a real stage and her dreams were about to be realized when Peter Markham, manager of the Elysium Theater, arranges for Daisy to audition for Madame Sophia Scarlatti, "The Sicilian Songbird," the most famous soprano who ever lived.

Daisy's dreams are hampered because even though The Sicilian Songbird would like for Daisy to travel to Rome to train with her, the pay was insufficient to cover the cost of hiring a nanny to care for Kate, her twenty-two month old daughter.   Warner is very talented when it comes to drawing the reader quickly into the tale as she begins building a fascinating sequence of events that forces her characters to move towards the RosaRoja Ranch.   On the way home from the audition, Daisy runs into her friend, Lucy Frisk, one of Stump Heffington's girls, who fortuitously helps Daisy cover up the fact that she had to kill Bill Johnson who was trying to abduct Kate.   As Lucy hustles Daisy to Saint Michael's to hide until she could leave town, she suggests that Daisy appeal to Kate's father's family for money to realize her dream.

Daisy is not the only person heading to New Mexico.   Sister Elena Maria Ramirez returned to RosaRoja Rancho to say goodbye to the family of her heart before she took her final vows.   And when Jack went to the Catholic Abbey and learned that Elena had returned home before beginning her service at Kalawao, a settlement on the Island of Molokai, part of the Islands of Hawaii, Jack rushed to the ranch to convince Elena not to serve the rest of her life in a leper colony.

Now that Warner has moved the characters to the RosaRoja Ranch, she begins to delve into the relationships between each of them.   One of the skills at which Warner is so gifted is her ability to create an emotional connection between the reader and the characters featured on the pages of her books.   That skill is evident in Chasing The Sun.   An easy way to measure whether an author draws a connection to the characters in the story is whether said author causes the reader to shed tears as the story unfolds.   And, yes, Warner did bring forth tears during the telling of Jack and Daisy's story, but they were not what one would expect.   Most of the tears shed in this book were brought forth whenever Elena was interacting with the main characters.

And even though Warner failed to richly develop Elena's personality (just as she did in Pieces of Sky), it was Elena's relationship and interactions with Jack, Brady and Daisy that brought forth the tears.   Elena had to explain to Jack why she chose to serve God rather than marry him.   Three years ago Jack had followed Elena to San Francisco when she went to Dr. Sheedy so he could operate on the hip that Sancho Ramirez, her brother, had damaged.   The surgery failed.   In spite of not delving into the mind of Elena, Warner brought forth tears when Elena explained to Jack that she could not have marital relations without pain, nor could she bear children.

And even though this was, supposedly, Jack's story, somehow it seemed to be Brady's story as well.   Brady was the heart and soul of the Wilkins family -- the glue that held them together -- in spite of his controlling, interfering ways.   But beneath Brady's harsh, gruff exterior was the heart of a man who loved his family -- and Elena was as much his sister as Hank and Jack were his brothers.   So, yes, it was impossible not to cry when Elena said good-bye to Brady.

And, finally, who could not help but cry as Daisy and Elena developed a bond as they waited for news on Jack's status when a flash flood washed away the bridge he was standing upon.

the two women who most loved Jack held each other and wept   (page 216)

Warner is insightful as she portrays the picture of the Wilkins women waiting while the Wilkins men searched for Jack.

It was a unique kind of suffering that only females had the strength to endure.   The ability to wait -- for the last breath, for the fever to break, for the summons to come or the news to arrive.   Such patience in the face of crisis was unbearable to men, who were ever driven to action.   But females tolerated it well, Molly had found, especially when there were other women with whom to share the endless hours.   It was a silent bonding wherein each was the glue that kept the others from falling apart.   Alone, a woman might crumble.   But together, women could withstand anything.   (page 234)

But here's the rub.   Warner failed to develop that same deep emotional connection to Jack and Daisy that she managed to instill deep in the heart of readers when she told Brady and Jessica's story and then Hank and Molly's story.   It was impossible to warm up to Jack and Daisy.   It might be because Warner spent quite a bit of time entertaining readers with the events happening in the lives of the previous heros and heroines in this trilogy so she didn't spend as much time developing the personalities of Jack and Daisy.   (Or it could be because Jack's and Daisy's wanderlust attitudes are so entirely foreign to my homebody tendencies.)

Warner is quite successful, however, when it comes to writing humorous scenes that inspire the heroines to hit a particular Wilkins brother (an event that happened in all three books of this trilogy).   The scene where Jack walks into the house when Daisy arrives was particularly engaging.

He replayed the scene in his mind.   The woman -- Daisy -- glaring at him, even after he gave her his best smile.   Brady looking thunderous, which wasn't that unusual, and Jessica over at the window with a baby in her arms.   His baby?
How could that be?
Feeling a trickle, he lifted the kerchief to his split lip.   "Why didn't she just tell me, instead of hitting me?
"Hell, you're lucky I don't hit you too," Brady said.
"Why?   What did I do, . . . ?"   (Jack, page 84)

Another skill that Warner excels at is understanding, and beautifully presenting, the psychology of Jack -- of being the youngest brother of two such strong men like Brady and Hank.   Although it was difficult to connect with Jack, Warner painted a realistic, intriguing picture of Jack and why he became the irresponsible charming prankster of the family.   Warner did a great job of presenting Jack's development -- even going back in time to show Jack interacting with his father and brothers when he was seven years old and saw RosaRoja and Elena for the first time.   Jack may have gotten by on his charm and wit, but his insecurities were ever bit as real as Daisy's.

He liked the way she made him laugh, and how she kept him guessing, and how she held him accountable when he made mistakes -- rather than dismissing him as not worth the effort to keep him in line, like he suspected Brady often did.   He liked that she expected more from him than carefully practiced smiles and easy charm, and that she seemed to genuinely admire the man he usually kept hidden behind the laughing mask.   She understood him as no other person ever had, yet seemed to care for him anyway.   (Jack, page 152)

The romance that developed between Jack and Daisy was a bit lackluster for two simple reasons.   First, Daisy had already fallen in love with Jack three years ago (and even though she convinced herself she no longer loved Jack, she didn't convince readers).   Daisy's two main reasons for trying to distance herself from Jack were {1} that he still loved Elena and {2} her dream of singing on stage would not allow Jack's freedom-seeking nature to find a permanent place in her life.   Second, Jack's attitude towards Daisy and love was too lackadaisical.   He couldn't have the woman he had loved his entire life, so why not tie himself to a woman he had apparently physically loved (his daughter being proof positive).

The attraction between Jack and Daisy did not have the necessary kick to emit that powerful feeling of lust and desire that should have emanated from the pages of the book.   Jack's courtship of Daisy involved his typically charming innuendo rather than delivering that sense of a deep, heartfelt, soulful connection to Daisy.   And Daisy's response to Jack was always about not letting Jack back in her heart to break it open once again (when it was obvious that Jack never left her heart in the first place).   Thankfully, Warner did explain to readers how such a driven woman such as Daisy ended up falling in love with a free-spirited scoundrel such as Jack in the first place.

When Jack looked at a woman, his attention was total, as if she were the only person in the room, the only person of importance.   (Daisy, page 99)

He was broken and she could fix him.
And God help, her she had tried, only to get her own heart broken in the process.   (Daisy, page 128)

Just as the romance was not up to par for a romance book, the sensuality was even more lacking.   Yes, Warner has expressed her feelings on writing graphically entertaining love scenes, but even the thrill of the mutual lustful attraction between Jack and Daisy was missing from this book.   The passion and fire in the few kisses that Jack bestowed upon Daisy was absent.   And the one scene where Daisy decided she would be with Jack was even less detailed than in her previous books.   Sorry, but for a romance book to be truly outstanding, it needs to include spicy, heated love scenes!

Warner kept readers tied to the story by introducing a slight degree of suspense into the tale.   One has to admire Warner's skill at using actual historical events to put the Wilkins Cattle and Mining company in financial difficulties.   First, President Grant signed the Coinage Bill (using gold rather than silver to mint coins), thus making the Wilkins' mines worthless.   Second, Brady was quarantining his specially bred horses to keep them from being infected with the horse flu that was racing throughout the country (called The Great Epizootic).

In the talented way she has with describing and developing her supporting characters, Warner introduced the less than honorable Franklin Blake, who had been trying to buy the Wilkins' silver mines for years.   Not only did Blake underhandedly pressure Harold Lockley, the Val Rosa bank manager, to sell him the loan papers on the smelter Brady and several other mine owners built, but he joined forces with the embezzling and Wilkins-hating railroad agent introduced in Pieces of Sky, Mr. Charles Ashford.

Warner fed the need to see the bad guys get their comeuppance at the hands of the good guys when she entertained readers with the scene when Jack went hunting Franklin Blake at the Palace Cantina in Val Rosa near the close of the book.   But she left the thread of Ashford's comeuppance hanging in the wind.   Sure Ashford's smarmy character was a necessary plot-moving tool to reveal to Jessica that Brady did not come to her when she could have helped with the financial difficulties facing the ranch.   But why go to all the trouble to paint such a vivid picture of Ashford's animosity towards Brady and Jessica and then, just as quickly, paint him out of the picture.   This tread of the story just felt so unraveled.

But the true meat of the story was resolving the differences between the Wilkins brothers so that they could be one big happy family -- even if they did not all live under one great big roof.   Really enjoyed the way that Warner used the differences between the male and female mind to deepen the relationship between the brothers.   Daisy eventually joins forces with Jessica and Molly in confusing their men about how the female psyche works.

"Women are . . . nothing but trouble.   Be helpful if they made sense once in a while so a fellow could figure out what to do."   (Jack, page 145)

The women in his life confounded him.   He didn't understand them, couldn't fathom how their minds worked, and hadn't a clue on how to negotiate the emotional quagmire that surrounded them.   (Hank, page, 185)

Well, that's typical.   Brady rubbed a hand over his bristly chin to hide his look of disgust.   Keeping a fellow totally in the dark, then getting mad at him for not doing what she thought he should do, or for what she thought he might do if she had ever bothered to tell him what she expected in the first place.   (Brady, page, 268)

Another skill that Warner utilizes with great success is the unspoken snarky thoughts of her characters as they wade through the events occurring around them.   Just loved the irreverent thoughts that Warner inserted into the mind of Jack as he dealt with Hank, Brady and Daisy.

"I do believe you're even dumber about women than Brady is."   (Hank)
"Surely, not that dumb."   If so, Jack might have to shoot himself.   (page 145)

Watching her tears fall made his own eyes sting.   Christ, I'm turning into a woman.   Next thing, he'd be hugging his brothers and trading recipes.   (Jack, page 360)

One under-developed character introduced into the story was Sheriff Foley of Val Rosa.   Having just read Open Country in which Angus Foley was portrayed as "a hard-lined lawman with heart of stone," it was hard to reconcile the actions of this Sheriff Foley, as he stood by while Jack has his little chat with Franklin Blake, to the same man who "would run roughshod over anyone who got in his path."   And, for some reason, it seemed like Warner left another thread to the trilogy unraveled because of the way she featured Foley's interest in the syringe he found in the Epilogue of Open Country.

To summarize, Kaki Warner again displayed her talent at spinning a tale that drew the reader into the lives of her characters as she painted a vivid picture of the New Mexico Territory in the 1870s.   She successfully entertained readers with her ability to tell a story about Jack and Daisy, two free-spirited people who found a way to find love in spite of their differences.   But, more importantly, Warner intrigued readers as she further developed the relationships between the growing Wilkins family as she healed the rift between Brady and Jack.   She utilized her skills at {1} creating a few exciting adventurous episodes to kept the story from faltering; {2} inspiring tears and laughter as she navigated the treacherous familial emotional waters; {3} developing unique personalities for the hero and heroine; {4} writing amazing dialogue as Brady, Hank and Jack sat around drinking whiskey and exchanging typically masculine barbs; and {5} strengthening the bond between readers and the Wilkins clan.

Even though Kaki Warner has {1} another gripping, emotional, laughter-inducing story on her hands with Chasing The Sun, the third book in The Blood Rose Trilogy, and {2} it was absolutely wonderful to visit with Brady, Jessica, Hank and Molly again, it did not become a favorite for several reasons.   {1} There was a definite lack of 'romance' because did not feel the love and attraction that was supposed to be flowing between Jack and Daisy.   {2} Did not feel a closeness to either Jack nor Daisy as their personalities did not inspire a feeling of true emotional connected-ness.   {3} Was in the mood for a more wild, wild west type of action adventure story than this emotional 'chick lit' type story that was told.   {4} The lack of sensuality and the total lack of actual lovemaking scenes in the book was extremely disappointing.   So while this book is definitely worth reading because it is a fitting and well-written ending to the saga of the Wilkins brothers, it will not find it's way onto my 'to be re-read' list.
--Vonda M. Reid (Tuesday, May 21, 2013 : 3:19 p.m.)     [313]

Books In The Series: "The Blood Rose Trilogy"
# Date Title Hero Heroine
01.01-2010Pieces of SkyBrady Wilkins, eldest brother, rancherJessica Abigail Rebecca Thornton, Englishwoman
02.06-2010Open CountryPatrick Henry "Hank" Wilkins, middle brother, rancher, oversaw mineMolly McFarlane, Civil War nurse
03.01-2011Chasing The SunAndrew Jackson "Jack" Wilkins, youngest brother, wandererDaisy Etheridge, aspiring opera singer

Characters Found In "Chasing The Sun"
Character Description
Andrew Jackson "Jack" Wilkins[Hero] left for Australia 2½ years ago (3) won palm-sized, double-barreled .41-caliber rim fire pistol in poker game (7) youngest Wilkins brother (16) Jack spent years traveling the South Pacific; on crutches (44) broken foot (46) 29-y-o (61) a talker (68) warm eyes with smoky hue around irises, framed by dark brows and lashes; sun-browned skin; wheat-colored hair (80) easy rolling gait; flashing smile that had been her ruination (81) honed muscle; same smoky blue, dark-ringed eyes as his daughter (82) the wild one; the irresponsible one (85) instinctively knew how to charm; smiled with entire face; tangy, musky morning scent (98) incapable of dissembling; not always wise or deliberate in his thinking; sometimes to ready to take chances or follow his whims; always honest in his emotions; moved with strength and grace; wide sloping shoulders; muscular; lean (99) eyes that missed nothing (101) liked women (107) volatile nature; restless spirit; raised by Brady (117) greatest gift was his passion for life; every new experience was a joyful challenge; enthusiasm was compelling (126) handsome; ready smile and laughing eyes made him irresistible to women; clean-shaven; dark brows and lashes; sandy, sun-bleached hair; eyes the color of storm clouds, changeable as smoke, irises edged with dark bands that made them distinctive; moved with controlled assurance of man comfortable in his own skin; didn't smoke; not a heavy drinker; good-natured enthusiasm (127) investments in cargo and shipping; part owner of clipper came in on (149) high-spirited; openly affectionate (191) ajw (193) charmed his ways out of chores and responsibilities; chasing rainbows; talking dreams; something about Jack that made you forgive him (230) energy and vitality filled the room (258) shares in two ships working the China trade (337)
Daisy Etheridge[Heroine] farm girl from Quebec; 21-y-o; unwed mother (2) Desiree = stage name (3) a vocalist; can read music; can play piano; four-octave range (3) arrived in San Francisco when 15-y-o; lost parents to mudslide; fallen in love; heart broken; bore a child (5) carried Remington Double Derringer given to her by Jack (6) big boobs (7) long light brown hair (8) hazel eyes (9) gifted voice (12) strange yellow-hazel eyes (89) as tall as Jack's chin; small, fine boned; delicate wrists; long-fingered graceful hands (112) beautiful; liveliness in her face (115)
. . . . . .
Annie[No Appearance] Jessica's sister; lived at Bickersham Hall (116)
Stanley Ashford[Brief Appearances] advance man for El Paso & Pacific Railroad; fastidious; little dandy; cold-blooded; thin cheroot clamped between his teeth; oily pomade plastered every sparse hair against his bony skull; pockmarks cratered his cheeks; cold dark brown eyes (119) thin lips; manicured fingers (120) hated Brady (225) education; refinement; experience (225) liked looking his best; liked living well and enjoying fine things (226) bald spot (227) thinning blond hair; precisely trimmed mustache; bitter eyes; down-turned mouth; deeply cratered scars on once handsome face (237) small-minded, ineffectual little man (240)
Major Billingsly[Brief Appearances] Army buyer; straightforward, honest fellow; decisive handshake; stiff bearing; weathered countenance of a career soldier (311)
Bishop[One Appearance] Wilkins ranch hand; watching small herd of horse at box canyon; stuttered (51)
Franklin Blake[Secondary Character] bank sold him loan papers on smelter Brady and several other mine owners built as cooperative enterprise; trying to buy Wilkins successful mines for a while; reputation for dodgy deals (40) well dressed; broad brimmed hat; small eyes, set a bit too close together (71) an abundance of small crooked teeth, the color of aged ivory; smooth-shaven; middle-aged man; hands of a banker; authority in his voice; mannerly; clean (72) surly; mean-spirited (237) not respectful to women (238) easy living put belly on him (326) small eyes; puffy face of heavy drinker (327)
Charles Loring Brace[Actual Historical Character / No Appearance] of the Children's Aid Society (275)
Bernard Bridgeport[Brief Appearance] short, round man; muttonchop sideburns; Elysium Theater music director (10)
Buck[No Appearance] Iantha's husband; runaway slave; with Wilkins family since acquired RosaRoja; rheumatism keeps him close to home; had been Brady's right-hand man after pa died; like member of family (57) frail (65)
Buddy[Animal] Charlie's dog (157)
Martha Burnett[Rare Appearances] youngish; well-rounded (48) Jack's favorite Val Rosa whore; now a shop owner (49)
Calvin[One Appearance] Palace Cantina bartender; crooked old man; missing right eye and most of ear; lisped; missing most of his teeth (324) missing part of foot (325) missing two fingers on right hand, thanks to cougar (329)
Charlie [Rare Appearances] Hank and Molly's stepson; 10-y-o; almost as talkative as Hank (21)
Clem [One Appearance] Val Rosa livery owner; muttering, sour-faced elderly man (73)
Consuelo[Secondary Character] housekeeper (57) been with Wilkins family since they took over RosaRoja; quiet a talker (150)
John Crawford[No Appearance] offered handsome reward for Jessica once upon a time; father of Jessica's child (227) raped Jessica; dead now; Jessica's brother in law (242)
Curly[One Appearance] Wilkins ranch hand; watching small herd of horse at box canyon (51)
Dougal[Secondary Character] stern-faced; Scottish fellow; strong accent (54) came to ranch from England with Jessica; chasing after Consuelo (57) talkative (91)
Enrique[One Appearance] working in garden with Jessica (172)
Foley[Brief Appearances] former Deputy U.S. Marshal; current Val Rosa Sheriff (309) graying hair (314)
Lucy Frisk[Brief Appearances] one of Stump Heffington's girls; early 20s; nice to Daisy (5) flowing straw-colored tresses were her best feature (6) bitten nails; nicked knuckles; hard knowledge in sad brown eyes (30) didn't like to be touched (31)
Garcia Sisters[No Appearance] no longer cared for Wilkins' children; went to Santa Fe to work in Uncle's house (21)
Greased Lightning[Animal] ancient kid pony; Kate riding (116)
Stump Heffington[No Appearance] nattily dressed Southern gentleman; ran clean bordello; lost everything in the Rebellion, including greater portion of left leg; treated his girls passably well (5)
Iantha[Rare Appearances] Buck's wife; runaway slave; with Wilkins family since acquired RosaRoja (57) frail (65)
Bill Johnson[One Appearance] keeping company with Edna Tidwell; coldness about him; untrustworthy (6)
Katherine "Kate"[Secondary Character] Daisy's daughter (4) nearing second birthday (6) 22 months old (28) smoky blue eyes (72) Katherine (80) same smoky blue, dark-ringed eyes as father (82)
Melanie Kinderly[NO Appearance] on same stagecoach as Jessica when crashed; developed liking for Hank when her mother recuperated at ranch; married a soldier (93)
Mr. Langdon[One Appearance] Elysium Theater owner (10)
Carl Langley[Rare Appearances] Wilkins ranch hand; one of the most trusted ranch hands; faded blue eyes (17) grizzled features (53) older man (54)
Little Joe[Animal] Jack's boyhood horse (135)
Harold Lockley[Rare Appearances] The People's Bank manager (149) not a robust man; bookish face (314)
Amos Logan[One Appearance] young Wilkins ranch hand; blond; gangly young man (18)
Mr. Lomax[Rare Appearances] The People's Bank teller; thin-necked, bespectacled fellow; wore open-crowned visor on his head and protective cuffs on his sleeves (149) small, perfectly aligned teeth (150)
Peter Markham[Brief Appearances] French mother; manager; cigar chewer (1) 40s; gray in whiskers; gray in curly sideburns; bowler hat; fit enough; slump to shoulders (2) manager of Elysium Theater (4) quite a bit taller than Daisy; solidly built (9) barrel chest (13) whole routine going with cigar (42) kind; touchy ways (43) Peter (304)
Sister Mary Margaret[One Appearance] sister at the convent who told Jack where Elena was (67)
Millie[Rare Appearances] whore working at Palace Cantina; beat up by Blake (325)
Moe[Animal] Hank's boyhood horse (135)
Dr. O'Grady[No Appearance] quack; drunk (187) Doc (188)
Ortega Sisters[Rare Appearances] cared for Wilkins' children (21)
Rosa Ortega[Rare Appearances] cared for Wilkins' children (173)
Pat[Animal] Brady's boyhood horse (135)
Penny[Rare Appearances] Hank and Molly's stepdaughter; 7-y-o (21) blond (60) curious brown eyes (180)
__ Ramirez[No Appearance] Sancho and Elena's father; small; gray hair; old; skinny; foot shorter than Pa; held himself proud; round black eyes; sharp, pointy nose; thin gray mustache; thinner lips; looked mean (139) Spanish, not Mexican (140)
Sister Elena Maria Ramirez[Major Secondary Character] damaged hip; nearing end of her years as novice; would go into retreat next month to prepare to take her final vows (15) grew up at RosaRoja Rancho (16) left RosaRoja 3-y-a to have surgery on hip (16) delicate; damaged; dark almond-shaped eyes (24) surgery didn't work (33) infection set in after surgery, damage to organs that prevented her from being a mother; eyes shimmered like dark glistening pools; heart-shaped face (34) quiet (68) could not share a bed without pain, could bear no children (69) kind; generous (94) one of most beautiful women Daisy had ever seen (103) serene face (115) gentle; meek; unyielding as stone (166) part of family; Sancho crippled her by kicking her nearly to death (194)
Sancho Ramirez [No Appearance] Elena's brother; evil man; did terrible things (35)
Red[One Appearance] ranch hand with Hank at Dead Horse Falls (246)
Red Amy[No Appearance] one of Stump Heffington's girls; youngest in house; hope in lovely brown eyes; killed by Indian (6)
Rikker[No Appearance] former Val Rosa Sheriff; passed away year ago (309)
Rosella[No Appearance] Palace Cantina whore Blake beat up; went missing month ago (326)
Madame Sophia Scarlatti[One Appearance] older woman; bent; white hair pulled severely up in a tight knot perched on top of her head; back curved at the shoulders; used a cane; wrinkled hands (11) black as pitch lively eyes; probing ancient eyes; rusty voice with thick Italian accent; "The Sicilian Songbird"; most famous soprano who ever lived (12)
Dr. Sheedy[No Appearance] San Francisco doctor; operated on Elena's hip; a gifted medical officer in the Irish Brigade of the Union Army (33)
Anna Strobel[One Appearance] taking care of Hank and Daisy in Redemption; Hans wife (344) welcoming grandmotherly woman; excellent cook (345)
Hans Strobel[No Appearance] shift foreman in one of Wilkins mines; keeping eye on machinery (344)
Edna Tidwell[One Appearance] watched Kate while Daisy's worked (4) widow; something about her not right; owned boardinghouse where Daisy stayed; lost daughter to smallpox; raising prices to tend Kate; doing sloppier job; drinking; keeping company with Bill Johnson (6)
Adrian Benjamin "Ben" [Thornton][Rare Appearances] Brady's 3-y-o adopted son (19) Adrian Benjamin (235)
Enid Westerbury[One Appearance] played organ at wedding (364)
Revered Westerbury[One Appearance] from Redemption; married Jack and Daisy (364)
Abigail [Wilkins][Rare Appearances] Brady and Jessica's's 2-y-o daughter (21)
Brady Wilkins[Major Secondary Character] [Hero of Book 1] mustache (19) considered himself to be the pick of the liter (20) unruly mostly black hair; 4 children (21) 37-y-o (23) head of family since 21-y-o; spent most of adult life struggling to protect ranch and 2 remaining brothers; didn't like change; controlling (35) fondness for issuing orders (51) hardheaded; interfering; bossy; excellent judge of horse flesh (52) aversion to confined spaces (53) fit; strong; tall without being gangly; lean; moved in authoritative way; deep groves carved into his leathery cheeks; new lines fanning out towards his temples; almost as much gray as black in his hair and beard stubble; brows and drooping mustache as dark as ever ; same odd coloring as father, sharp turquoise gaze; similar unyielding line to his jaw and chin (56) odd turquoise colored eyes, sharp and cold as ice (80) overly protective; intimidating (101) hoarded his troubles like a miser his gold (109) born and bred to run RosaRoja; fierce rivalry with Jack (117) grin that was part devilment, part humor (118) carries mother's maiden name (193) oldest son; liked that father turned to him; at twelve (in 1848) left in charge of Missouri farm when father went to war; was good at being in charge (229)
[Jacob Nathaniel Wilkins][No Appearance] Jack's father; "If he wanted you to know something, he told you."; sharp face; almost mean; pale, far-seeing eyes that could cut through a person's skull; grew short beard to cover scar got while fighting in Mexican war (136)
Jessica Thornton Wilkins[Major Secondary Character] [Heroine of Book 1] English accent (21) coppery curls; eyes sparkled; proud of family; grew up in gentility in England (22) whiskey brown eyes; beautiful; proper; high decorous (23) stickler for proper behavior (36) "Her Ladyship"; hot-blooded redhead; could filet meat with sharp tongue; content; happy (56) tall (78) more high-strung and emotional than Molly (101) soft brown eyes (172) Thornton (224) springy curls (236) flair for style and color, the fashion plate of the family; always had lace-edged hanky hidden somewhere (248) flowery scent (306) strong, forceful woman; abandonment issues (307)
Molly [McFarlane Wilkins][Major Secondary Character] [Heroine of Book 2] Hank's wife; nurse; delivered Brady and Jessica's twins (19) nervous around strangers; resourceful; intelligent; happily married for almost 1 year (21) traveled as nurse with her surgeon-father; most of her training during the War of the Rebellion below the Mason-Dixon line; hazel eyes; deep interest in mechanics of surgery; practicing surgery made her sick; woman of extremes (33) pretty (54) average-looking woman; trim figure; mass of glossy chestnut hair; intense hazel eyes; when smiled, downright pretty (62) reserved nature; an observer; eyes that missed nothing; highly intelligent; logical (101) sensible; even-tempered (184) 33-y-o; beautiful almost-green eyes (188) always thought before she spoke (213) unremarkable brown hair (236)
Patrick Henry "Hank" Wilkins[Major Secondary Character] [Hero of Book 2] way with animals and children; because of large size, cultivated gentle touch; could turn deadly in a minute if family threatened; analytical mind; inventive mind; astounding way with women; Brady's younger brother (20) 2 stepchildren; stronger than a mule; hardheaded; happily married for almost 1 year (21) did not share his thoughts (35) dark brown hair; shaved now; looked fitter than fit; mule of the family, smart, strong, stubborn (57) huge; middle brother (81) calm, logical tone (85) an observer; eyes that missed nothing; highly intelligent; towering; intense (101) innovator (173) Patrick Henry (193) eyes the color of the richest, darkest chocolate (274) kind eyes, wise and watchful (330)
Sam Adams [Wilkins][No Appearance] Brady's brother; agony at hands of Sancho; Brady's soul-shattering act of mercy 13-y-o (36) Sam Adams; died when 12-y-o; tortured by Sancho; Brady found him (193)
Sam [Wilkins][Rare Appearances] Brady and Jessica's twin son (21)
Thomas Jefferson "TJ" [Wilkins][Rare Appearances] Brady and Jessica's twin son (21) Thomas Jefferson (186)

Locations, Organizations Found In "Chasing The Sun"
Location / Organization Description
Amazonriver in South America (295)
Bickersham HallJessica's profitable estate in England; coal companies mining rich deposits that ran on the land; in family for hundreds of years; passed down to the eldest daughter of each generation (116)
Blue Mesabutte on RosaRoja Ranch (133)
Boba 10' stuffed rank grizzly inhabiting Brady's office; kid repellent (38)
Broadway Streetstreet where Elysium Theater located (7)
Children's Aid Societysponsored Orphan Train (275)
Commercial Streetstreet in San Francisco; Daisy traversing (4)
Coinage BillGrant signed month ago; coins to be made of all gold, no silver; made Wilkins' mines worthless (39)
Dead Horse Fallslocation where Jack ended up after flash flood carried him down river (218)
Elysium Theaterwhere Daisy applied for job as vocalist (4)
The Great Epizootichorse flu; started in Toronto; headed west; 25-80% fatality rate; stopped country's progress (40)
Kalawaowhere Elena planned to serve; settlement on Island of Molokai (44) leper colony (45)
Katoomba in Blue Mountains of AustraliaJack's favorite place (189)
Martha's Miscellany and Millinery SuppliesMartha Burnett's shop (49)
Milford's Emporium and General Storeon left side of Val Rosa's Main Street (146)
Miss ApplePenny's doll (60)
Island of Molokaipart of the Islands of Hawaii; Kalawao located on this island (44)
New Mexico Territorylocation where greatest portion of book took place (15)
New Orleanswhere The Sicilian Songbird's apprentices were to meet in 2 months (14)
New ZealandJack visited during his travels (44)
Norton Street church location that took Daisy, Kate in until could leave town (30)
Orland's French Hair Dressing and RestorativeStanley used on his hair (227)
Overland Stage Officenext door to Val Rosa Hotel (71)
Palace CantinaVal Rosa; where Jack went looking for Blake (324)
The People's Bankin Val Rosa (146)
Powell Streetstreet in San Francisco; Daisy traversing (4)
Redemptionsoutheast of Santa Fe; home of Wilkins Cattle and Mining (46) typical bustling mining town (47)
Romewhere the Sicilian Songbird would take her apprentices (14)
RosaRoja Ranchowhere Elena lived most of her life; destroyed by fire 3-y-a because of Ramirez, Wilkins feud (16) a mustang and Thoroughbred cross-breeding program (40) reminded Jack of feud between his and Elena's family (47) Red Rose Ranch; description (138) granted to Ramirez's great grandfather 100 years ago by King Charles II (141)
RosaRoja Valleyvalley where RosaRoja Ranch located (15)
Saint Michael'schurch in San Francisco where Daisy spent the night in hiding (42)
SamoaJack visited during his travels (44)
San Franciscowhere Daisy lived and worked; overrun with war widows and lost children trying to escape the terrible excesses of the Reconstruction (7)
Silver Spur Saloonsaloon where Daily had been singing (2), 8,
South PacificJack traveled for years (44)
TahitiJack visited during his travels (44)
Texas and Pacific Railroadrailroad Stanley used to work for; he'd been sent to get water rights from Wilkins (225)
Union Pacific RailroadStanley's current employer; embezzled water rights funds to keep up his lifestyle (226)
Val Rosatown closest to RosaRoja Ranch (15) description (146)
Val Rosa Hotelon right side of Main Street (146)
Wilkins Cattle and Miningranching and mining business owned by the Wilkins brothers (46)

"Chasing The Sun" Quotations
68It was laughable.   Jack Wilkins -- a man who could spin a line that women on two continents had gladly hung their clothes on -- and he couldn't think of a thing to say to the only woman that mattered.   (Jack)
92When a man is faced with the dire results of his own baseness and stupidity, it always helped to mentally point a finger at someone else.   (Jack)
145"Women are . . . nothing but trouble.   Be helpful if they made sense once in a while so a fellow could figure out what to do."   (Jack)
185The women in his life confounded him.   He didn't understand them, couldn't fathom how their minds worked, and hadn't a clue on how to negotiate the emotional quagmire that surrounded them.   (Hank)
234It was a unique kind of suffering that only females had the strength to endure.   The ability to wait -- for the last breath, for the fever to break, for the summons to come or the news to arrive.   Such patience in the face of crisis was unbearable to men, who were ever driven to action.   But females tolerated it well, Molly had found, especially when there were other women with whom to share the endless hours.   It was a silent bonding wherein each was the glue that kept the others from falling apart.   Alone, a woman might crumble.   But together, women could withstand anything.   (Molly)
268Well, that's typical.   Brady rubbed a hand over his bristly chin to hide his look of disgust.   Keeping a fellow totally in the dark, then getting mad at him for not doing what she thought he should do, or for what she thought he might do if she had ever bothered to tell him what she expected in the first place.   (Brady)
276She remembered always being on the outside looking in.   She remembered how it hurt to feel like she didn't belong.   (Molly)

"Kaki Warner -- Chasing The Sun" Review and Information Links
Rated Posted Site Notes, Comments, Etc.
----Kaki Warner's WebsiteAuthor
----Kaki Warner's FacebookAuthor
----Kaki Warner's TwitterAuthor
----Kaki Warner's BlogAuthor
----Chasing The Sun TrailerYou Tube
. . . . . . . . .. . .
5.0005-....-2011A Romance Review--Pat // short, unoriginal
B+ / subtle12-17-2010All About Romance--Pat Henshaw // excellent, valid points
4.50 average{22 reviews}Amazonas of: May 30, 2013
3.0001-16-2012At Home With A Good Book and The Cat--Misfit and Mom // {a7} {gr15} / short, excellent
4.50 average{37 ratings}Barnes & Nobleas of: May 31, 2013
----Fantastic FictionList of Kaki Warner's Books
----Favorite Author NotificationList of Kaki Warner's Books with publication dates
----Fict FactList of Books In The "Blood Rose Trilogy"
----Fiction DBList of Kaki Warner's Books
3.91 average{43 reviews}Good Readsas of: May 30, 2013
3.46 average{12 ratings}Library Thingas of: May 31, 2013
5.0 / heat: 2.008-27-2011Once Upon A Chapter--Lisa Jo // {a17} {gr10} {s8} // see review on Good Reads // okay
4.00 average{20 ratings}Paperback Swapas of: May 31, 2013
9/10 : heat: 301-08-2011Reader, I Created Him--Kat Latham // great review
4.5006-01-2012Regan's Romance Reviews--Regan Walker // {gr17} review on Good Reads // excellent
positive02-01-2011Romance Reviews Today--Jane Bowers // light on detail
4.50--RT {Romantic Times} Book Reviews--Kathe Robin // 2011 American-set Historical Romance Nominee
4.375 average{8 reviews}Shelfarias of: May 31, 2013
B01-11-2011Smexy Books--Mandi Schreiner // {gr3} made some good points
A05-26-2011The Good, The Bad and The Unread--Sandy M // {gr11} // okay / upbeat
--07-05-2011The Good, The Bad and The Unread--Sandy M // Interview // Heading West with Kaki Warner
--01-05-2012The Good, The Bad and The UnreadKaki Warner Guest Blog: Creating the Perfect Romantic Hero
5.0001-04-2011The Romance Dish--PJ Ausdenmore // great review, great voice
--01-11-2011The Romance DishInterview
4.0002-20-2011The Romance Reader--Cathy Sova // great review, excellent points
4.50--The Romance Readers Connection--Jeri Neal // a PR blurb // quoted insert in book
8.5 / heat: 301-08-2011The Season For Romance--Katrina C (Kat Latham) // {see: Reader, I Created Him}
3.8505-31-2013Wolf Bear Does Booksshorter post on Amazon, Fiction DB, Good Reads, Library Thing, Shelfari

♥   Disclaimer:   I Purchased This Book
♥   Very Subjective Rating
♣   Will add your Chasing The Sun review link to table, just ask

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