Monday, June 24, 2013

Kaki Warner -- Bride of the High Country

Kaki Warner -- Bride of the High Country

Rated: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ . ♥   {4.65}
Action: ♠♠.♠ / Emotion: ♣♣♣♣.♣ / Romance: ♥♥♥♥.♥ / Sensuous: ♦ / Suspense: ♠♠♠♠
Action: 2.5 / Emotion: 4.25 / Romance: 4.5 / Sensuous: 1.0 / Suspense: 4.0  //  Historical Flavor: 4.5 // Laughter: 6 / Grins: 1 // Tears: 1 / Teary: 2

  My Favorite Romance Novels of 2012 : :: Christine Smith
  Number 7 : Best of 2012 : The Good, The Bad and The Unread :: Sandy Marlowe
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Setting:     Manhattan, New York
                  Heartbreak Creek, Colorado Territory
Era:           1870
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This review presents a lot of storyline detail that could be considered potential spoilers.   (Not great big story-ruining spoilers, but still, enough detail to show readers where Warner is headed with the plot.)  

Book after book, Kaki Warner gives readers the most beautifully written, emotionally engaging romance stories with amazingly strong, feminine heroines and creates the wonderfully honorable and dynamic alpha heros to walk beside them.   Warner has done just that in Bride of the High Country, the third book of The Runaway Brides Trilogy.   This book is an un-put-down-able read that slowly and irrevocably draws one deep into the lives of the characters.

Warner and her publishers are to be commended for their slight of hand as they lead readers down a false trail about the hero of this book.   Thankfully, I make it a practice to shun reviews until after having read a book because {1} some clueless reviewers inadvertently (and sometimes intentionally) insert truly story-spoiling remarks in their reviews, and {2} I want to own my reaction to the book, (i.e., I do not want to be positively or negatively affected by someone else's opinion of the story).   If one reads certain reviews about this book, they will not enjoy the surprising thought when they reach page thirty-four: "Tait Rylander should be the hero of this book, not Doyle Kerrigan!"   Turning to the back of the book and re-reading the synopsis, it's obvious that "yes, Tait could be the hero!"   And, finally, at page forty-three, there was that ah-ha moment -- Tait was going to be our hero.   What a perfect example of Warner's skill when it comes to gifted storytelling?

Would like to say a great big "Thank You" to Kaki Warner, for the way she detailed Lucinda Hathaway's story in Bride of the High County.   After having read the previous two books of The Runaway Brides Trilogy, and absorbing the titillating little bits of information about Lucinda and her flight from New York, it was a relief to read the wonderfully well-written, intensely engaging background story that precipitated that escape.   Quite often authors will try to increase the suspenseful nature of their story by slowing weaving 'past' details throughout the 'present' storyline.   More often than not, this style of piecemeal detail revelation annoys rather than intrigues.   Thankfully, Warner did not use that tool to tell Lucinda's story.

Warner took readers back in time.   Utilizing the prologue, she introduced our heroine when she was Cathleen Donovan, a scared, desperate twelve year old Irish immigrant who had survived two years at the brutal hands of Smythe, the henchman for Mrs. Beale, the owner of a particularly dissolute brothel in Five Points.   When Father O'Rourke found Cathleen watching Mrs. Beale's burn to the ground, he was inspired by Cathleen's will to survive.   Father O'Rourke took the orphaned girl to the home of Judge Harold Throckmorton, a man who owed him a favor.

Fifteen years later, in chapter one, all signs of Cathleen and her Irish-ness have been erased and Margaret Hamilton stands in her place.   Margaret is preparing to attend her high society engagement party at the home of her fiancé, Doyle Kerrigan.   Ida Throckmorton, the judge's widow who raised Margaret (despite being Catholic and Irish) is opposed to the marriage, but cannot dissuade Margaret from marrying the Irish upstart.   Even though Margaret did not love Doyle, he met her need for safety and security, just as she, falsely, met his need for acceptance.  

Ida Throckmorton had . . . created exactly the sort of wife Doyle Kerrigan wanted -- a non-Irish, impoverished but genteel woman on the fringe of the upper class who was willing to marry an immigrant Irishman in exchange for a life of wealth and privilege.   (Margaret, page 8)

"I am what I need to be, Mr. Rylander, to achieve my aims.   Much like yourself, I would guess."
"And what are your aims?"
"Survival.   Safety.   Security.   No matter what grand sentiments or lofty words one couches it in, that's what we all seek.   Especially women."   (Margaret and Tait, page 24)  

Doyle sends his business partner and friend, Tait Rylander, to convey Margaret to his home.   Margaret begins to detail the personalities of her fiancé, the very rich, powerful, charming, suave, debonair, handsome blond Irishman, right along with her dislike of his partner, the mysterious, scowling, silent, Southerner, who was once a bare-knuckled brawler.   Any reader with discernment can see that Ida is right about her assessment of Doyle and that Margaret should be paying attention to her guardian rather than seeking the safety and security she believes this marriage will offer her.

All the hints are there for Margaret to ignore until her wedding day, when she overhears that the man she is about to marry was once a runner.   A runner had fleeced her beloved father and mother as they were leaving the Irish ship that landed in America -- an event which hastened their deaths.   When Tait arrives to walk Margaret down the aisle, she is so distressed he has to almost drag her up front.   Thanks to Ida's keen observation skills and quick thinking, she helps Margaret flee the Fifth Avenue Hotel with Doyle's wedding gift to his bride -- 25 Hudson and Erie Railroad stock certificates.

Finally, Tait was given a voice as he began to search for his partner's missing wife.   As it became more and more evident that this intelligent, kind-hearted, honorable man had been forced into a partnership with a scoundrel like Doyle, you couldn't help but wonder how Tait had endured an entire year of watching Doyle court the woman he was falling for, especially walking her down the aisle.

Tait is just the kind of hero you love.   He was so firm in his beliefs of right and wrong that he fought against his North Carolina neighbors in the Civil War.   After the war, he participated in a venture much to his dislike just to survive.   He was the fighter, while Doyle was the man behind the scenes placing wagers.   Doyle considered himself the leader of the partnership, but Tait was the brain, the voice of reason, and the cement that held Rylander-Kerrigan together.

Warner very cleverly wove several different threads through the story to force Tait and Lucinda (Margaret changed her name when she fled New York) into close proximity.   One of those threads was the introduction of one of Doyle's business acquaintances, Franklin Horne.   When Margaret saw Horne at her engagement party, she remembered him from her years at Mrs. Beale's.   Warner created the most shudderingly vivid descriptions of Horne, giving him a reptilian cast, from his cold black eyes to his pointed pink tongue that darted back and forth across his lower lip.   Because Horne wanted to silence Catherine from ever revealing his unsavory proclivities during his bid for governor, he sent Smythe after Doyle's runaway bride.   For safety, Lucinda had to let Tait join her in the Pullman sleeping compartment when he found her en route to Pittsburgh.

Naturally, Lucinda is drawn to Tait as they talk, each trying to keep their own secrets from the other.   Tait, being all male, is relieved that Lucinda wants to take their relationship to a very physical level.   It is so entertaining the way Tait tries to talk calmly and reasonably with Lucinda as he is stripping down to affix a preventative before making love with her.   Warner is not one to write spicy, hot love scenes, but she does connect the reader emotionally to Tait and Lucinda during their lovemaking.   Warner is so good at throwing innuendo into the telling of her stories that it doesn't seem to make sense that she isn't willing to include spicy details during sex as well.

Warner causes the usually logical Tait to jump to a wrong conclusion, causing him to walk out on Lucinda.   Before Tait can calm down and talk things out with Lucinda, he encounters Smythe and engages in a fight which results in both of them leaving the moving train.   Tait is injured, rescued and returns to New York where he heads to Ida Throckmorton's home to try and locate Lucinda.   Meanwhile, Lucinda believes Tait is like all men and writes him off as disloyal.  

Tait had only strengthened her belief that men were intractable, unforgiving creatures incapable of viewing the world through any perspective other than their own.   (Lucinda, page 201)  

Believe it or not, this is a very clever ploy on Warner's part.   Lucinda meets Madeline "Maddie" Wallace on the St. Louis train and a friendship develops.   As we all know (having read the previous two books of the series), Lucinda and Maddie end up at Heartbreak Creek.   Now Warner begins to recap the stories of {1} Declan and Edwina (Heartbreak Creek) and {2} Ash and Maddie (Colorado Dawn) via letters to Ida.   This is also an opportunity for Warner to showcase her ability to pen humorous snarky thoughts as Tait and Lucinda begin to correspond.

Warner did repeat some scenes that were played out in the previous books of the series, but she kept this duplication of words and deeds to a minimum and displayed events from Lucinda's point of view versus that of Edwina or Maddie.   Warner did a great job of choosing which scenes to replay for readers without disrupting the flow of the story or making the books feel too redundant.   Still, the story began to lag at this point and made one wish Warner had found an alternate route to jump the story from 'pre Heartbreak Creek' to 'the closing page of Colorado Dawn' in a more concise and quicker manner.

Warner did a phenomenal job of connecting readers to Tait and Lucinda on an emotional level.   It was a really different kind of attachment, however, from the deep, heart-felt empathy that promoted tears.   You could not help but feel sympathy and compassion for the little Irish girl forced to endure Mrs. Beale's for two years and then spent the next fifteen years learning to suppress everything that tied her to her heritage.   It was so easy to understand why she would have built walls around her heart and why she would come across as stand-offish and cold.   But underneath all that watchfulness and cynicism was a kind-hearted woman who just wanted to feel safe and secure and be part of a family.

The same understated emotional connection applied to Tait as well.   Warner did not paint a picture of deep anguish and angst as Tait endured the rocks constantly thrown in his path, but you felt his struggle and pain.   It was so easy to admire Tait as he quietly and steadfastly adhered to his value system as he continued to remove every obstacle thrown his way.   He, too, was a survivor.   There was a manliness about Tait that just appealed to a reader's femininity.

Warner's skill at creating interesting well-developed secondary characters is markedly evident in the person of Ida Throckmorton.   She took an opinionated, elderly woman who came across as a curmudgeon and made her loveable.   Look at the humor and realism as Ida tried to dissuade Margaret from marrying the Irish upstart because, heaven forbid, he was, among other things, a Democrat.   It was impossible not to smile when Ida explained why she put up with Pringle.  

"I should turn him out, the old fool.   But he's been in love with me for years, you know, and I haven't the heart to cast him onto the streets like he deserves."   (Ida, page 11)  

And the smiling continues when Ida remarks about her banker, Cyrus Quincy of Merchant Bank:  

"I had Mr. Quincy at the bank make inquiries.   The poor man has been in love with me for years, you know."   (Ida, page 52)  

Pringle, Ida's extremely aged, incompetent butler, who was known for listening at doors and moving slower than a snail was just another example of Warner's ability to develop a minor character whose very presence added so much fun and originality to the story.   Pringle's appearances managed to add smiles as one read about his antics, particularly his greetings to Tait who showed up regularly at the Sixty-Ninth Street home.

Then there is the inclusion of Elder and Ceily Rice, the elderly Negro couple who took care of Tait and his Manhattan home. The inclusion of molasses in Ceily's recipes is just priceless.   Warner's inclusion of little things like this makes her characters feel so real.   The Rices' barely appeared in the book, but they were memorable.

Because Warner spent so much time telling Tait and Lucinda's story while they were away from Heartbreak Creek, she was not able to spend a lot of time featuring new material about the wonderful characters we fell in love with in the previous two books of the series.   However, she did entertain readers with a bit of male camaraderie when Tait met Declan, Ash and Thomas as well as a few 'girl talk' sessions between Lucinda, Edwina, Pru, and Maddie.   There was even a brief scene in which the Brodie children appeared -- and Brin, again, stole the 'Brodie Children's Show.'   (Would so like to read Brin's story when she grows up!)

Even the very minor characters of Mrs. Bradshaw and Buster Quinn were great additions to the story.   And there was the excellent picture that Warner painted of the surprising mini romance building between Abram and Martha Yoder -- the couple that tended Tait when he was injured.

If there was one thing that was missing from this novel, it was the dearth of exciting action-filled scenes.   Yes, there was the incident on the train when Tait fought with Smythe.   But even though the big finale was beautifully written so Lucinda could face her tormentor with gun in hand, it still contained a minimal of build-up and conflict and only spanned a few pages.

After writing such an in-depth, detailed, richly rewarding, enjoyable story about the romance that built between Tait and Lucinda, the quick wedding and reception gave the reader a rushed, 'let's get this over with' feeling.   Sure wished that Warner had finished the book with a sweet or humorous or touching conclusion that was just as memorial as the rest of the story.

Warner did, however, leave readers with a feeling of more to come when she wrote the epilogue featuring the ongoing love between Thomas and Pru.   Rather than tie up loose ends and announce Thomas and Pru's engagement, Warner left readers with a sad feeling in their heart because of Pru's decision.   Thomas and Pru's book just cannot arrive soon enough!

Now for a few piecemeal observations.   {1} Did not understand the events that happened in Denver with Lucinda and her meetings with the railroad men.   What happened that caused the railroad men to suddenly shut Lucinda out of the picture?   {2} Warner still displays her marvelous sense of humor and creates that emotional connection to her characters, but the number of times she brought forth bursts of laughter and inspired moments of tearfulness has lessened book by book.   {3} Love the name and spelling of Tait.   Don't know why, just do!   {4} Loved Edwina in her book, found her kind of irritating in last two. {5} Disliked Maddie in her book, but loved her in other two.

In conclusion, Kaki Warner has gifted her readers with another well-written story that tugs at a romance reader's heart strings.   Bride of the High Country, the third book in The Runaway Brides Trilogy features: {1} Tait Rylander, an honorable, persevering, kind-hearted, manly hero who inspires heart palpitations in the feminine heart; {2} Lucinda Hathaway, nee Margaret Hamilton, nee Catherine Donovan, an intelligent, strong-willed heroine who hides behind a cynical mask; {3} a fast-paced story filled with a moment or two of action; {4} a strong, but subtle emotional connection to Tait and Lucinda; {5} a powerful romance that built between two survivors; {6} an aura of suspense regarding Lucinda's safety and Tait's ability to convince Lucinda of his love; {7} extremely well-written, memorable secondary characters; {8} a brief reunion with characters introduced in previous books of the series; and {9} vast amounts of historical detail when it comes to traveling cross-country in the railroad's early years.   This is definitely a must-read book.
--Vonda M. Reid (Friday, June 21, 2013 : 11:16 p.m.)     [318]

Note: It really is too bad that Warner named the first book in this trilogy Heartbreak Creek.   It is so easy to start getting confused about all the usages of the term Heartbreak Creek.   There are now three separate entities related to "Heartbreak Creek."   First, Heartbreak Creek is a book (the first book in The Runaway Brides Trilogy).   Second, Heartbreak Creek is the town featured in this second series written by Warner.   Third, Warner's next trilogy is entitled The Heros of Heartbreak Creek Trilogy (and one has to assume the setting is Heartbreak Creek).   Thus, one must really pay attention whenever this name is used: is it {1} the book, {2} the town, or {3} the series.

Books In The Series: "The Runaway Brides Trilogy"
# Date Title Hero Heroine
01.07-2011Heartbreak CreekRobert Declan Brodie; rancher, sheriffEdwina Pricilla Whitney Ladoux, southern belle
02.01-2012Colorado DawnAngus Frederick Wallace, Fifth Viscount Ashby; "Ash"; retired Calvary OfficerAlexandra Madeline "Maddie" Gresham Wallace; Viscountess Ashby; expeditionary photographer
03.06-2012Bride of the High CountryTait Rylander; lawyer, railroad mogul, Doyle Kerrigan's business partnerCatherine Donovan; Irish orphan / Margaret Hamilton; Manhattan socialite / Lucinda Hathaway, hotel owner

Characters Found In "Bride of the High Country"
Character Description
Tait Rylander[Hero] Doyle's partner, friend and legal advisor; met during the War of the Rebellion; same age as Doyle, but looked older; scowled rather than smiled; odd hoarse voice (12) frost gray eyes (14) dropped his r's and dragged out his syllables southern style; social polish; fought for the Union; mysterious (15) dark hair; scarred hand; big rough hands with enlarged knuckles that robbed long fingers of elegance; evidence of violent past; pale scar cutting through his top lip; thickening along the arc of bone beside his right eye; a slight bump on ridge of nose; small imperfections gave his chiseled face a dangerous, roughish cast so at odds with his mannered grace; fought for money when first arrived in New York after the war; cold; methodical; austere expression; tiny chips of ice eddying around dark pupils (16) cold, pale gray-blue eyes; black hair; impatience; stern features (17) taller and broader than Doyle (18) long legs (30) dark brows; deep-set eyes (31) knew Doyle 5 years; had all his teeth (32) tall; elegant; dark (41) the real brains behind Doyle; the real power (43) watchful eyes saw everything (45) irritatingly reasonable voice (57) logical way; brilliant mind; soft nature; too easily swayed by sentiment; lacked ruthlessness and ambition to claw a handhold in the highest reaches of the business world; a man of high-minded principles (65) at 27-y-o, survived Gettysburg; owed Doyle for saving his life (71) a big man (92) fierce concentration of his gaze; the brains and brawn of the Rylander-Kerrigan partnership (93) sad half smile that made him seem almost handsome in a sharp-angled, hard-eyed sort of way (95) trained in Camp Curtin; sergeant; hanged (115) impeccably dressed; carried himself with grace and elegance; powerful man (116) raised in small North Carolina town (121) obsessive nature when something interested him or confronted with a puzzle (122) calm steadiness; square jaw (130) wave in hair made it curl over his ears and at the back of his neck; smile slightly one sided and reached his arresting eyes (131) contradictory; complicated; quirky sense of humor; playful; fiercely intelligent; curious; unyielding sense of right and wrong (150) analytical mind (153) town house in fashionable, but quiet area (191) muscled; athleticism (207) knee still weak, had to keep it wrapped, would never run again (213) bold handwriting (244) orphaned at 19 by freak flood (262) all sinew and muscle and long, strong limbs (325)
Cathleen Donovan
Margaret Hamilton
Lucinda Hathaway
[Heroine] 1855: wee, fragile thing; 10 or 12-y-o; smudged and dirty; blond hair; thin back; sheer skimpy dress showed thin legs, naked buttocks; blank, glassy stare (2) sad green eyes; red hands; blistered fingers; orphan (3) // 1870: Ida Throckmorton's ward; Doyle's fiancée; "she would do anything to stay alive" (5) 12-y-o 15-y-a = 27-y-o; craved security; spent 2 years at Mrs. Beale's; looked more English than Irish (7) memory of endless hunger, living in a dark windowless room with 3 other families, and abiding hatred for Irish runner than hastened father's death (8) intelligent (9) didn't like Tait (12) crowds made her uncomfortable (15) slim; petite (64) clever; enigmatic (69) mystery behind careful smile; harsh experience behind those watchful green eyes; pretty face (70) ingenuity (71) straight white teeth; dimple in left cheek (76) distinctive, exotic, flower scent (89) beautiful desirable woman (100) narrow, delicate feet; forceful (102) odd, contradictory woman; brazen; beautiful in a serene, cold sort of way (120) witty; quick-minding; charming (121) unpredictable; headstrong; guarded (122) uncomfortable with compliments (123) elusive; prickly; secretive; hardheaded (127) Attar of Roses (149) solitary childhood spent in lessons, reading; learned business practices from listening to Doyle and Tait (165) aversion to be touched by strangers (167) cynic; exact opposite of Maddie; became fast friends (177) uncomfortable with emotional displays (211) very private person (213) "Luce" (223) kind-hearted woman; Lucinda's first and dearest friend (224) efficient; feminine; tasteful (293) serene smile; logical mind; cooly regal exterior (301)
. . .. . .
Cal Bagley[No Appearance] from mercantile (241)
Mr. Bigelow[No Appearance] manager of Girard Bank; in Baltimore for the week (74)
Billy [Rare Appearances] Heartbreak Creek Hotel bellboy; freckled face (201)
Bingington[No Appearance] Doyle negotiated a right of way with him (22)
Eldridge Blankenship[No Appearance] from Louisiana; asked Edwina to marry him; neither a carpetbagger nor Klansman; beaver teeth (207)
Doc Boyce[One Appearance] doctor of Heartbreak Creek (218)
Janet Boyce[No Appearance] Doc's wife (218)
Mrs. Bradshaw[Secondary Character] Doyle's housekeeper; rather intense middle-aged woman; a superb organizer; met with hotel staff, florists, musicians, photographers, wine stewards, society editors (25) slim, straight back; brownish gray hair in a severe knot; dark brown eyes (26)
Geoffrey Brisbane[One Appearance] Tait's banker; friend (265)
Brin Brodie[Bried Appearances] curious gray eyes shade lighter than Tait's; slouch hat; tattered overalls (286) destined to be a beauty if ever cleaned up (287) born into family with three older brothers and allowed to run wild for four years after her mother disappeared, she was a bit of hand full; indomitable spirit; 7-y-o (306)
Declan Brodie[Major Secondary Character / Hero of Book 1] Edwina's husband-by-proxy; widower with 4 children (204) big man; dark hair; dark eyes; battered sheepskin jacket; unbleached work shirt; denims; 3-day growth of beard; scowling; square jaw (210) "Big Bob"; once a sheriff (211) Robert Declan Brodie; imposing stature; honorable, dependable sort (234) smart; unwilling delegate to Denver statehood convention (249) as big as a house; marginally more talkative than Thomas (270) calm manner (282) owner of Highline Ranch; temporary sheriff of Heartbreak Creek (290) man of such honor was slow to recognize the lack of it in others (322)
Edwina Brodie[Major Secondary Character / Heroine of Book 1] southerner; mail-order bride; desperate to escape reconstruction in Louisiana, answered advertisement in Matrimonial News by a Colorado widower with 4 children (201) gentle bickering with Prudence; Pru's opposite; thin almost to the point of brittleness; blue eyes so filled with life her energy seemed to charge the room (202) impulsive; high-spirited (203) Pru's half sister, shared same father (206) pregnant; convinced madness ran in her family (243) a water douser (246) mercurial nature turned volatile with pregnancy (247) blue eyes (276) "Ed" (291)
Joe Bill Brodie[One Appearance] blond boy; Declan's son; bit of troublemaker; hodgepodge of baby teeth, permanent teeth, missing teeth (291)
Lucas Brodie[One Appearance] fall of brown hair; cowlick; Declan's son (291) solemn eyes that took in everything; wide intelligent forehead; a thinker; a tinkerer (292)
Robert Declan "R.D." Brodie, Junior[One Appearance] R.D.: tall; gangly; sported dark fuzz on top lip; Declan's oldest son; best shot in the family; dark hair; dark eyes; younger, ganglier version of sheriff (291)
Sally Brodie[No Appearance] Declan's first wife; held captive by Lone Tree; dying of consumption (237)
Carter[One Appearance] man guarding back gate to Doyle's home (19)
Mr. Chesterfield[No Appearance] Maddie's publisher at The Illustrated London News (167)
Chick[No Appearance] has peg leg (287)
Chub[No Appearance] boy Lord Ashby hired to drive Maddie and Lucinda in Denver (277)
Driscoll[Brief Appearances] livery owner (302)
Jim Fisk[No Appearance] business acquaintance of Doyle; disreputable; thug; Democrat (6)
Emmet Gebbers[No Appearance] Heartbreak Creek mayor (217) used to be missionary; Heartbreak Creek banker; lost only son in war (218)
Charles Goodyear[Actual Historical Character / No Appearance] invented rubber sheath (207)
Jay Gould[No Appearance] business acquaintance of Doyle; disreputable; thug; Democrat (6) Doyle arranged financing for a branch line off the Erie (22) crafty (23) financial mogul (78)
Grace[One Appearance] Doyle household maid; gossiping about Mrs. O'Reilly (27) defiant (28)
Ulysses Grant[Actual Historical Character / No Appearance] President of the United States (202)
Dr. Alvin Greenwall[One Appearance] East Eighty-Second Street; ex-army surgeon; treated Tait in Harrisburg; early years as a physician coupled with his grisly war experience made him one of most knowledgeable and sought-after doctors in Manhattan; gruff manner; odd sense of humor (194)
Gretchen[One Appearance] Doyle household maid; listening to Grace gossip about Mrs. O'Reilly (26)
Hammond[Brief Appearance] involved in deal over foundry with Doyle (14)
Harry[No Appearance] Doyle gave him black eye (255)
Byron Hilderbrand[One Appearance] scanning travelers entering the Pittsburgh station; Pinkerton detective; supposed to attend first daughter's communion that night (159)
Franklin Horne[Secondary Character] Margaret remembered from Mrs. Beale's; cold black eyes; pointed pink tongue darted back and forth across his lower lip; terrified Cathleen 15-y-a (21) preferred children (39) black eyes; fat, white fingers (43) shared proclivities and children with Smythe (92) drinker; dodgy in business dealings; political ambitions; a beast; user of children (151) unsavory; reptilian; small, close-set eyes that never seemed to blink (190)
Mr. Kahler[No Appearance] hard man; store owner; didn't pay Martha Yoder much (174)
Mrs. Kemble[One Appearance] Denver boarding house owner; Lucinda and family staying at her boarding house (279) kindly enough; autocratic; heavyset woman; set a good table (282)
Doyle Kerrigan[Major Secondary Character] dashing railroad mogul; townhouse in most fashionable area of New York (5) Irish; wanted to marry blue blood (7) uncommonly ambitious; temper; hired Irishmen to build his railroad; blond; hazel eyes; generous; "so full of life he seemed to draw the air from the room"; easily inspired female admiration (9) blond handsomeness; dazzling smile that made women sigh; vibrant animation; ceaseless energy; fine white teeth (12) never did anything in half measures; "in quest for power and wealth, he had also gained a taste for vengeance" (13) charismatic; flamboyant (14) golden appeal; laughing hazel eyes (17) consummate businessman (22) impulsive; temperamental (29) unforgiving; hot-tempered; ruthless (32) moods were difficult to gauge; shared little of himself (32) beautiful hands with faint dusting of golden hair (35) one of McGinty's best runners; the Irish hate him (43) foul reputation, even among the Irish (52) took pride in fact that had enemies, proof of his power (61) uneducated Irish immigrant (63) no time for blind loyalty or faltering excuses; knew the baseness of people (65) provided charm and ruthless ambition of a born survivor to Rylander-Kerrigan partnership; twisted an adversary's weakness to his own advantage (93) afraid of dark and rodents because of time in hold when crossed to America (189) cruel, soulless man (259)
Edgar Kitchner[No Appearance] Lucinda to present proposal; railroad representative (279)
Lissy[One Appearance] Doyle household maid (27)
Prudence Lincoln[Major Secondary Character] southerner; Edwina's traveling companion (201) always fussing with something; low melodious voice; "I read"; gentle bickering with Edwina; Edwina's opposite; calmer; fussy attention to detail betrayed her need for order; more prone to thought than reckless action; highly intelligent; well educated; one of most beautiful women Lucinda had ever seen (202) had never been a slave; carried herself with pride and a lack of illusion; "a woman who knew her place in a white-dominated male world, but rightly placed her self-worth much higher"; thoughtful; fastidious; tightly pinned hair; graceful fingers; full lower lip (203) Edwina's half sister, shared same father (206) excellent and patient teacher (249)
Lone Tree[No Appearance] Arapaho; abducted Pru (236)
Horace Lufkin[One Appearance] assistant manager of Girard Bank; bespectacled man; middle-aged; well-dressed; pride in his job; looked down his nose at Margaret (75) didn't recognize Doyle's name (76) small blue eyes (77)
McGinty[Actual Historical Character / No Appearance] Doyle was his best runner; "helped him make a fortune fleecing the dumb bastards before they even cleared the gangplanks."; killed by Irish mob (43)
Father Michael[One Appearance] priest at St. Columban's Catholic Church; Tait questioned (194)
Mariam[Brief Appearances] Heartbreak Creek Hotel maid, cook's helper, waitress; general workhorse of the hotel (218)
Mr. Olafson[One Appearance] burly farmer; hands the size of hams (160) helped Lucinda get past Pinkertons in Pittsburgh station (161)
Mrs. O'Reilly[Brief Appearance] no coat over faded dress; carrying baby wearing rags; face so thin cheekbones stood in stark relief (19) Irish girl (27)
Paddy O'Reilly[No Appearance] "He told you if the machines weren't repaired, something dire would happen."; dead (19)
Father O'Rourke[Secondary Character] priest; one-man crusade to shut down Mrs. Beale's (1) returned to Ireland every 2 years for 2-3 months (194)
Allen Pinkerton[Actual Historical Character / No Appearance] Chicago-based Pinkerton Detective Agency; dramatic calling card (136)
Pringle[Secondary Character] Ida's butler (10) bushy white brows; expression of disdain for Irish; old fool (11) blade-shaped nose (194) irascible; beyond incompetent (215)
George Pullman[Actual Historical Character / No Appearance] owned Pullman cars (87)
Cyrus Quincy[No Appearance] worked at bank; made inquiries about Doyle for Ida (52) Merchant Bank (53)
Buster Quinn[Brief Appearances] Doyle's butler; retired Pinkerton detective (189)
Rachel[One Appearance] Fifth Avenue Hotel maid; tended Ida (57)
Thomas Redstone[Major Secondary Character] striking Indian gentleman; looks fierce in Dog Soldier regalia; quite taken with Pru (234) "whitewashed attire" trousers rather than leggings, a collarless work shirt and blue army jacket in place of breechcloth and war shirt, instead of a topknot with an eagle feature, his long black hair and narrow temple braids pulled back and tied with a strip of leather; looked fearsome in his Indian garb (274) eyes black as basalt chips; startling smile that curled women's toes; one-quarter white, three-quarters Cheyenne, straddled two cultures, belonging to neither; suffering ordeal of Cheyenne sun dance ceremony (275) coal black eyes; swarthy, expressionless face framed by beaded braids; gaze missed nothing (313)
Mr. Revels[Actual Historical Character / No Appearance] man of color in Congress; never a slave (206)
Ceily Rice[Brief Appearances] Elder's wife; Tait's house servant; elderly Negro Tait found sitting on church steps 3-y-a (191) close relationship with Tait; like family (192)
Elder Rice[Brief Appearances] Ceily's husband; Tait's house servant; elderly Negro Tait found sitting on church steps 3-y-a (191) close relationship with Tait; like family (192)
Biddy Rickman[Brief Appearances] wife of Pastor Rickman (218)
Pastor Rickman[Brief Appearances] pastor of Come All You Sinners Church of Heartbreak Creek (218)
Wilfred "Wall-eyed Willy" Satterwhite[No Appearance] would accompany Maddie on her photographing expeditions; a lively 73-y-o; a nice man (252)
Shelley[No Appearance] Edwina's first husband; marched off to war day after wedding; returned four months later minus a leg and dying of a hideous infection (205)
Silas[No Appearance] simple-minded younger brother of claim jumper; sweet young man; abused by older brother (279)
Smythe[Secondary Character] Mrs. Beale's British henchman (4) English; stocky; bent nose; dark hair turning gray; missing two fingers on left hand; looked like dock worker (86) shared proclivities and children with Horne (92) made raspy wheezing nose when beating Catherine (94) thinning gray hair; gaps in yellowed teeth (155)
Ida Throckmorton[Major Secondary Character] Margaret Hamilton's guardian; widow of the late Judge Harold Throckmorton (5) querulous voice; used ivory-handled cane (6) benign tyrant; did not allow Irish in her home; re-invented Cathleen as some twice-removed cousin of the late judge (7) frail, small, thin frame; gouty foot; long aristocratic nose (8) crafty old woman; watery blue eyes (9) wrinkled cheeks; thin shoulders (10) adventurous spirit; blue-veined hands (40) Lutheran (48) lively company; acerbic remarks (212)
Tricks[Animal] Ash's dog (273) Irish Wolfhound; impressive animal (271)
Boss Tweed [Actual Historical Character / No Appearance] from Tammany Hall; business acquaintance of Doyle; disreputable; thug; Democrat (6) proved that corruption and greed are no deterrent to political office (151)
Angus Wallace
Lord Ashby
[Major Secondary Character / Hero of Book 2] Maddie's husband; soldier; Scottish; officer in British calvary (164) indifferent husband; a lovely man; came from a tiresome family; one visit and 3 letters in six years (167) military officer (180) with the Tenth Hussars (205) third son of Earl (208) tall; overbearing; unpleasant; persistent; determined (248) Lord Ashby; eyes as green as Ireland, a lighter mossier shade (269) almost as tall as Declan; leaner; stiffly erect bearing; handsome; gray hair; dark brows; striking (270) rolling r's in thick brogue (273) "Ash"; ex-calvary officer; new Earl of Kirkwell (290) gray-brown hair shading his forehead; capable; confident man (311)
Donnan [Wallace][No Appearance] Ash's brother (291)
Madeline "Maddie" Wallace[Major Secondary Character / Heroine of Book 2] auburn hair; cultured English accent (162) Lucinda's age; clean; well dressed; round brown eyes; bright smile turned her unremarkable face into one of rare beauty; from Scotland, London (163) natural vivacity; bright outlook; traveling alone across the world; expeditionary photographer (166) engaging, cheerful, artless (168) optimist; exact opposite of Lucinda; became fast friends; unbridled cheerfulness; sharp intelligence beneath bubbly personality; innately kind; could see through the armor that most people wore to see their goodness rather than their ugliness; saw beauty everywhere, showed in her tintypes; needed a keeper; forever forgetting personal items; unaware of life's dangers (177) astute; "showed such a carefree cheerful nature it was easy to assume she harbored few serious thoughts"; quite observant; sharp artist's eye, able to see straight to the heart of a matter; never hid what she felt; let every emotion show on her expressive face (223) stubborn; patient (242) signed work as A.M. Wallace (248)
Wallingfords[No Appearance] Ida, Margaret attended their garden party; first time Margaret saw Tait (132)
Mark Weyland[One Appearance] Pinkerton detective; watching the ladies room in Pittsburgh station (159)
Yancey[Brief Appearances] worked front desk of Heartbreak Creek Hotel (200) gaps in rust-stained teeth (201) bald pate (217) gapped, brown-tinted teeth (286)
Abram Yoder[Brief Appearance] Martha's husband; Amish (169) big; bearded; no mustache; broad shoulders; worn hands; farmer; thick Dutch accent (170) hard face, not cruel, set in stern lines; brown eyes (171) a good man; decent; honorable; shunned; an outcast because married Martha (175)
Levi Yoder[Brief Appearance] Martha's son; found Tait by river; brown hair; around 10-y-o (169)
Martha Yoder[Brief Appearance] tending Tait's injuries; close to Tait's age; might have been pretty once; a hard life left permanent lines around her brown eyes and bracketed her full mouth; hair pulled back into a severe knot, partially covered by a white cap; silver threads in dark hair (169) Abram her second husband (174)

Locations, Organizations Found In "Bride of the High Country"
Location / Organization Description
Prologue1855, New York City (1)
Chapter OneMarch 1870, New York City (5)
Chapter ThirteenHeartbreak Creek {this is where book one started} (199)
Chapter SeventeenSeptember 1870 {this is where book two started} (254)
Allegheny range of the northern AppalachiansTait saw outside the train windows; brought back memories (71)
Altoonanext train stop (119) carved out of wilderness 21-y-a; town existed to serve Pennsylvania Railroad; machine shops; foundries; miles of track (129)
Atlantic and Pacificlaying southern route (228)
Mrs. Beale'slocated in Five Points; well known brothel; catered to the basest tastes of a dissolute clientele; auctioned prostitutes and children; burning (1)
Cardwell's Crossingnext water stop for train Margaret and Tait were on (98)
Central Parkongoing, unfinished project in New York City (6)
ChicagoTait considered this a possibly route for Margaret to take (71)
Columbusif Tait didn't find Margaret by time reached Columbus, he had lost her for good (71)
Come All You Sinners Church of Heartbreak Creekchurch in Heartbreak Creek (218)
Cortland StreetTait had questioned Reb on this street as he followed Margaret's trail (72)
Camp Curtinwhere Tait was trained as soldier (115)
Damnation Creektrestle washed out regularly (278)
Delaware Riverbridge across river took train into Philadelphia (66)
Denver and Rio Grandealready laying tracks south (228)
Denver Pacificcompleted run from Cheyenne (228)
East Eighty-Second Streetstreet where Dr. Alvin Greenwall lived (194)
Fifth Avenue Hotellocation where Doyle and Margaret's wedding was to take place (25)
Five Pointswretched; Irish district of New York; dilapidated tenements (1) deplorable conditions (3)
GeorgePullman porters; all Pullman porters called George in deference to employer, George Pullman (87)
Gettysburg Tait survived battle; owed Doyle for saving his life (71) Tait fought in this deadliest battle of the Civil War when he was 27-y-o (71)
Girard Bank of Philadelphiaimposing structure, elaborate marble facade that sported six huge fluted columns and tall arched doorway; Margaret in bank to establish a line of credit (74) description of bank interior (75)
Grand Hotelin Denver; where Lucinda meeting Kitchner to make her business proposal (279)
Grand Park Hotelin Pittsburgh; Tait rented a room (181)
Hackensack RiverMargaret saw this river as staring out window of train; watched fishing boats returning home (61)
Harris Bank and TrustHarrisburg bank; Tait got money (117)
Harrisburgtrain stop (99) description (114) town Tait recuperated in after Gettysburg (115)
Heartbreak Creekdescription (209) ramshackle appearance; surrounding landscape was shockingly beautiful (217)
Heartbreak Creek Development CompanyLucinda's newly formed company; Emmet Gebbers president, silent, minority stockholder; held 2 deeded right-of-ways through canyon (224)
Heartbreak Creek Hotel Lucinda was owner / peeling wallpaper; frayed carpet; stained upholstery (200)
Henson's Loopsteep grade (278)
Highline RanchDeclan's ranch (290)
Hillman's on Broad Streetmost exclusive woman's clothier in Philadelphia; where Margaret went shopping (81)
Hudson and Erie RailroadDoyle gave Margaret stock certificates issued by the Hudson and Erie Railroad as a wedding gift (47)
Hudson Riverriver Margaret crossed on Paulus Hook Ferry (60)
Indianapolisby time reached this stop-over, Maddie, Lucinda fast friends (177)
Irelandtens of thousand fled famine-stricken land (1)
Kahler's storeMartha Yoder worked there when first husband died (174)
Kansas Cityon way to Kansas City, Maddie asked about man Lucinda left behind (179)
Kansas Pacificcrossed Missouri into Colorado Territory (228)
Krigbaum Minemine operating in Heartbreak Creek (218)
LouisianaEdwina and Prudence's home state; desperate to escape reconstruction (201)
Matrimonial NewsEdwina answered advertisement by a Colorado widower with 4 children (201)
Merchant Bankbank where Cyrus Quincy worked (53)
Mulberry Bendstreet in the wretched district of Five Points (1)
New Jersey Margaret took across Hudson River to New Jersey (60)
New York CityThrockmorton's home town; Doyle's home town (5)
Oak Bar Restaurantwhere Tait, Lucinda went to eat in Altoona (134)
Passaiclandmark Margaret passed as train continued on journey (61)
Paulus Hook Ferryferry Margaret took across Hudson River to New Jersey (60)
Pennsylvania RailroadMargaret boarded in New Jersey, headed to Philadelphia (60)
PhiladelphiaMargaret's original destination before heading further west (60)
Red Eye Saloonnext door to Heartbreak Creek Hotel (199)
Regal Hotelin New York City; Margaret stopped in front hotel to hire a hansom cab (59)
Rocky Mountains in Colorado Territorywhere Maddie headed (168) beautiful; raw; savage; untamed (217)
St. Columban's Catholic ChurchFather O'Rourke's church; small unimposing structure (193)
St. LouisTait considered this a possible route for Margaret to take (71)
Sheep Meadow Central Park crossing; dotting with sheep (6)
Sixty-Ninth Streetstreet in New York City on which Throckmorton's home was located (5)
Tenth Hussarsunit Angus Wallace served with (205)
Thirtieth Street Stationstation where Margaret left train in Philadelphia (67) Tait questioned ticket man, sat at station to wait for Margaret (83)
War of the Rebellioni.e., the Civil War / Doyle and Tait met (12)
Wichita PacificDoyle and Horne's railroad company; not to lay tracks; to control right-of-ways (228)
Yoder Farmplain; neat; clean; well-tended; prosperous; self-sufficient; air of defeat; no laughter (171) somber household (172)
. . . . . .
parvenua person who has suddenly risen to a higher economic status but has not gained social acceptance of others in that class (8)
runnermet the Irish ships as they arrived in America; full of promises of food, places to stay, doctors; all lies; "They stole everything we had." Da's tin whistle, mother's rosary (51)

"Bride in the High Country" Quotations
8Ida Throckmorton created . . . exactly the sort of wife Doyle Kerrigan wanted -- a non-Irish, impoverished but genteel woman on the fringe of the upper class who was willing to marry an immigrant Irishman in exchanged for a life of wealth and privilege.   (Margaret)
9If she had learned anything during those first devastating years in this great land of opportunity, it was that love was an illusion and God didn't care and the only thing lower than the immigrant Irish were the despicable runners and procurers who preyed on them.   (Margaret)
17"Simply put, men distrust intelligence in women.   They prefer them helpless and pretty and lacking in meaningful discourse."   (Margaret)
29It struck Margaret the control she wielded over the dozens of employees who labored on her behalf.   She didn't like that power -- didn't want the burden of it.   (Margaret)
31"I have always been amazed by how the female mind works.   By what logic does a woman make the decisions she does?   Or are her conclusions based solely on emotion?"   (Tait)
31"I think it is beyond male understanding to grasp the nuances of female thinking, so men shouldn't even bother to try."   (Margaret)
93Sensing her need for security, he had wrapped her in jewels and luxury to give the illusion of protection, then had begun to bend her to his will.   (Margaret)
126He wanted everything.   In every carnal and emotional and intellectual way, he wanted to break through all her barriers and find the woman beneath.   (Tait)
127He wouldn't grovel even for her.   (Tait)
127He had as much chance of bringing her to heel as she had of keeping him under her thumb.   (Tait)
140How had he allowed this to happen?   When had this woman taken control of his mind and his heart so completely that just the thought of harm coming to her sent him into panic?   (Tait)
156He turned his head and looked at her.   "I would have fought Doyle for you.   Given you everything I had.   I could have loved you."   He gave a harsh laugh that belied the pain in his eyes.   "Hell, I probably already do.   And I don't even know who you are."   A last look, then he stepped into the hall and closed the door.   (Tait)
174Tait had never met a wife who had no complaints.   (Tait)
201Tait had only strengthened her belief that men were intractable, unforgiving creatures incapable of viewing the world through any perspective other than their own.   (Lucinda)
212Such indecisiveness was abhorrent to him, and in that moment of confusion, he had lashed out at her rather than himself.   (Tait)
261"you're a bottomless pit of need and greed, Doyle, and nothing I can say or do will ever fill you up."   (Tait)

"Kaki Warner -- Bride of the High Country" 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
. . . . . . . . .. . .
Interview06-13-2012A Story Club--Christina Lasswell {a10} {b2} {gr4} // good points
C+ / warm07-17-2012All About Romance--Lynn Spencer // phenomenal / *last sentence*
4.12 average{24 reviews}Amazonas of: June 22, 2013
4.22 average{9 ratings}Barnes & Nobleas of: June 22, 2013
4.0006-13-2012Book Obsessed Chicks--Kimberly Rocha {a21} {gr7} // okay
Favorite12-23-2012Examiner . ComChristine Smith // My Favorite Romance Novels of 2012
10 / 7 /1012-28-2012Eye on Romance--Official Reviewer // philosophical
----Fantastic FictionList of Kaki Warner's Books
----Favorite Author NotificationList of Kaki Warner's Books with publication dates
----Fict FactList of Books In The Runaway Brides Trilogy
----Fiction DBList of Kaki Warner's Books
positive08-10-2012Fresh Fiction--Jessica Dunn // pretty good, a bit general
3.78 average{130 ratings}Good Readsas of:: June 22, 2013
----Good ReadsBride of the High Country Quotes
----Historical Novel Societynot much of a review
4.25 average{4 ratings}Library Thingas of: June 22, 2013
Interview06-11-2012Love To Read For Fun--Marquetta // wonderful, great details
B06-11-2012Love To Read For Fun--Marquetta {a14} {gr3} // great, excellent quotes
3.5006-....-2012Night Owl Reviews--Terri // lots of good detail // opposing opinion
4.20 average{3 ratings}Paperback Swapas of: June 22, 2013
Giveaway06-16-2012Petticoats and PistolsGuest Article by Kaki Warner about Trains
Article01-09-2012Reader, I Created HimTips on Writing in The Male Point of View
Article06-06-2013Regan's Romance Reviews Kaki Warner talks Trains!
4.0006-08-2013Regan's Romance Reviews--Regan Walker {a2} {gr27} // excellent / valid points
4.5009-10-2012Rom . Comreview copy // a few gushy sentences, no review
4.00 / hot06-....-2012RT {Romantic Times} Book Reviews--Kathe Robin // PR review
4.75 average{4 reviews}Shelfarias of: June 23, 2013
B06-04-2012Smexy Books--Mandi Schreiner {gr2} // excellent detail and salient points
Interview06-04-2012Smexy Booksa must read // lots of interesting detail
----The Best ReviewsKaki Warner Mimi Biography
A+02-27-2012The Good, The Bad and The Unread--Sandy Marlowe {a8} {gr8} // excellent, well-written
Number 702-21-2013The Good, The Bad and The Unread--Sandy Marlowe // Best of 2012
4.5006-06-2012The Romance Dish--PJ Ausdenmore // excellent, well-written
3.5008-12-2012The Season For Romance--Christine {a13} // excellent // *last paragraph*
4.00 / 1.0003-20-2013Two Lips Reviews--Clare {a3} // too pat, too PR-ish / hero not revealed
4.6506-23-2013Wolf Bear Does Booksshorter post on Amazon, Fiction DB, Good Reads, Library Thing, Shelfari

♥   Disclaimer:   Kaki Warner gifted this autographed book to me for review purposes.   (Thank you, Kaki.)
♥   Very Subjective Rating
♣   Will add your Bride of the High Country review link to table, just ask

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Kaki Warner -- Colorado Dawn

Kaki Warner -- Colorado Dawn

Rated: ♥ ♥ ♥   {3.00}
Action: ♠♠.♠ / Emotion: ♣♣♣.♣ / Romance: ♥♥♥ / Sensuous: ♦ / Suspense: ♠♠♠
Action: 2.5 / Emotion: 3.5 / Romance: 3.0 / Sensuous: 1.0 / Suspense: 3.0  //  Historical Flavor: 4.0 // Laughter: 7 / Grins: 2 // Tears: 1 / Teary: 3

  RT Book Reviews: 2012 Historical K.I.S.S. Hero Nominee
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Setting:     Lister House, Outside London, England
                    Near Breckenridge, Colorado Territory
                    Hearbreak Creek, Colorado Territory
Era:           1870
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Kaki Warner has a magic way of writing a story that emotionally draws a reader deep into the lives of the characters that are marching across the pages of her books.   Colorado Dawn, the second book in The Runaway Brides Trilogy, displays Warner's skills at telling a story just as boldly and vividly as her previous books.   She {1} brings forth laughter and a tear or two, {2} introduces a wonderful new hero, {3} re-visits old friends introduced in Heartbreak Creek, and {4} spins a tale of romance about reuniting two wounded protagonists.   Warner has such a beautiful writing style as she describes the environment, the people, and the events taking place that you feel like you are standing right there with the characters as they go about their lives.

The beginning of a book plays a very vital role in grabbing the reader's interest.   The author usually supplies such an influx of information about the starring characters, bits and pieces of their background and an opening gambit about what brought them to this very important point in their lives -- a place where they are so vital and interesting that they are worthy of their very own story.   Warner did a bit of this build up about Alexandra Madeline "Maddie" Gresham Wallace, the new Viscountess Ashby in Heartbreak Creek, so it was very wise to start telling about the reunion of Ash and Maddie from the viewpoint of the heretofore missing husband, Angus Frederick Wallace, the fifth Viscount Ashby.

In these opening pages it is imperative that an author draw the reader deep into the story so that the desire to keep reading is so prevalent that it supercedes the need to sleep, do the dishes, feed the dog, etc.   Sadly, Warner failed to inspire that kind of deep interest about Ash and Maddie as they reunite after being separated for most of the six years of their marriage -- each feeling deserted by the other.   Warner cleverly slipped in a tidbit of information that told readers two vital pieces of information about Ash and Maddie's separation.

. . . he hadna completely ignored her.   He'd come home that one time . . . and risked much to do so.   Most officers went much longer between visits to their wives.   (Ash, page 33)

Although Warner did not inspire that driving need to keep reading about why Ash and Maddie were determined to embrace their fury, you could not help but want to continue reading to see how Warner was going to reunite these two stubborn people who were just as unable to forget about their desire to be together as they were resentful.   The passion that passed between Ash and Maddie was undeniable.

Even though Warner still wrote in her usual skillful manner, it was difficult to continue reading this book because of personal issues.   Being way past the bloom of youth, and having spent more time alone than with a husband, it is difficult to not want to slap Maddie upside the head and tell her to quit being an idiot.   Here you have a big, braw man who wants to be with you, share his life with you, and all you can think about is tintypes.   It's hard to imagine that those tintypes will be of much comfort to you when you're old and alone.   After reading for a while, it seems Warner agreed with this interpretation -- only she phrased it much more beautifully:

"You need your husband.   And a life that'll amount to more than a collection of tintypes in some dusty book on a stranger's shelf."   (Wilfred Satterwhite, page 94)

In the beginning, it was hard to understand where Ash was coming from as he tired to justify his actions for keeping Maddie at arm's length.   So even though Ash is at fault for distancing Maddie in the first place (and you have to wonder if he would have come for Maddie if he hadn't been wounded and forced to leave the military), his efforts to salvage his marriage at least made him feel redeemable.

Madeline.   Even now he couldna say her name without unleashing a storm of memories -- confusing, painful memories that disputed the control he fought so hard to maintain.   A soldier thrived on order and structure.   It protected his body as well as his mind.   But this woman brought only chaos.   (Ash, page 23)

Maddie's comments about Ash deserting her, however, were beyond irritating.   As the story progressed, it was obvious that Ash was a soldier when Maddie married him.   How can Maddie accuse Ash of desertion when she knew that he had no choice but to join his regiment -- he had orders to follow.   Maddie had two choices; {1} stay at home and wait for her man or {2} follow the drum with Ash.   She chose to stay home and then, in typical feminine pique decided that Ash loved his job more than he loved her.

A soldier couldn't rush home whenever the mood struck.   (Ash, page 47)

. . . he had defied orders to come to see her . . .   And after he'd forced himself to leave her the next afternoon, he'd had to ride through the night to get back to the ship before it sailed.   Again, he'd risked everything -- and again, all she saw was that it wasn't enough.   (Ash, page 69)

Maddie's behavior and frame of mind was just so annoying that almost laid this book down to get something more enjoyable.   Several things kept me reading this book.   First, Warner had gifted me with a copy of this book so I could include it's review on this blog.   Second, Warner truly is a gifted storyteller and this book ties this series together, so it needed to be finished before reading the last book of the trilogy.   Third, wanted to spend time with the other members of the cast that were introduced in Heartbreak Creek.   Fourth, wanted to see where Warner was headed with all this dissension between Ash and Maddie.

However, the longer I read, the more I didn't like Maddie.   'Tis a sad thing, so it is -- but there it is in a nutshell.   This book became a difficult read because Maddie came across as an irritating idiot.

Maddie's idiocy was peppered throughout the pages.   Even as she admits that she still loves Ash, Maddie lists the reasons she respects and admires Ash, but then she tells herself that she could not bend to his will because in the end it would hurt too much when he left her behind.

No matter the fine words, he would leave her again.   He couldn't help it.   Duty would call, and honor would not allow him to disobey, and she would be left bleeding in his wake, just as had happened before.   The thought of it was an unseen weight that pressed against her heart until the pain of it stole her breath away.   (Maddie, page 149)

Duh!   Maddie is already hurting!   Is she all the sudden going to stop hurting if she rejects Ash sooner rather than later?   Maddie's lack of discernment and her unwillingness to even give Ash a chance to prove himself is beyond annoying.

Yes, Warner did a stellar job of explaining where Maddie was coming from.   However, that necessary connection between reader and heroine that makes for a great read was still missing.

Unlike her life now that Ash was back in it, a photograph was sharp and clearly defined.   Precise.   Predictable.   A one-dimensional view with no surprises.   If it didn't turn out, she could throw it away and try again.   There was comfort in that.   A sense of control.
Life was so much messier.   (Maddie, page 151)  

You could not help but appreciate and admire Warner's efforts to look at the issue of the Wallace marriage from both Ash's and Maddie's point of view.   And in an effort to give Ash equal bashing time, it was easy to agree with Satterwhite that if Ash took Maddie away from her photography, he was reducing who she was.   Must admit, also, that the idea of Ash hauling Maddie back to staid London or Scotland was abhorrent.  

Photography was more than work to Maddie.   It breathed life into her step and brought a wondering, childlike delight to her face.   It was passion.   A passion as strong as the one she had shown him in the wee hours of the night.   (Ash, page 153)  

Thankfully, after much perseverance, Ash and Maddie's story finally begins to inspire interest (around page 168).   Maddie finally quit keeping Ash at a distance and they made love.   Since Warner is not one to share the intimacies between the hero and heroine during such times, the reader must endure the references to such actions rather than sharing in a sizzling, passionate love scene.

Ash finally realizes that the wisdom espoused by Satterwhite about the beauty Maddie sees in life through her camera lens is right on target and he cannot force Maddie to give up her gift to hie off to Scotland with him.   Finally, Maddie is heartbroken and doesn't want to lose Ash.   As both Ash and Maddie try to come up with a solution to their dilemma, Maddie thinks a thought that redeems her and begins to inspire that connection that had been missing between the reader and the heroine.  

But then, it wasn't just about what she wanted, was it?   (Maddie, page 192)  

Maddie may have been a constant irritant but, Ash, on the other hand, was a constant joy.   Warner may not have delved deeply into the horror that must have been his childhood in having to deal with dyslexia while being ruled by a tyrannical father, but she gave Ash many different layers, which made him a wonderful hero to the story.

For instance, the way that Ash speaks throughout this book is absolutely wonderful.   It's not the use of the Scottish jargon of braw, canna, couldna, dinna, verra, etc. that makes his "voice" so original and foreign sounding, but it is the way that Warner has inserted a unique Scottish / Irish phrasing in Ash's dialogue that makes him a joy to listen to.  

A wondrous, liberating thing, so it was.   (Ash, page 74)

Which almost cost me a promotion, so it did.   (Ash, page 103)

He had neglected her sorely, so he had.   (Ash, page 115)

"It's sorry I am that I wasna here to help you."   (Ash, page 117)

"So you'll be giving me a second chance, so you will."   (Ash, page 143)

"You make me daft, lass, so you do.   But I'm no' complaining."   (Ash, page 149)

"Ash had been aware of none of it.   Sad, that."   (Ash, page 156)  

Warner still displays her absolutely phenomenal sense of humor while using Ash's Scottish manner of speaking.   Love Warner's originality when it came to spoofing the American's inability to understand Scottish jargon and English formalities.  

"But make no mistake.   You'll show the lady respect or I'll drop you where you stand.   Understand?"
"I what?"
"Aye -- yes -- I understand."   (conversation between Satterwhite and Ash, pages 21-22)

"He's very big."
Ash straightened.   "Aye.   He's an Irish Wolfhound."
"I what?"   (conversation between Ash and Brin, page 161)

"Lord?"   The girl's eyes widened.   "You're named after God?"   (Brin, page 162)  

Another particularly enjoyable aspect to Ash's character was the way that Warner successfully kept Ash's personality true to his calling -- that of a soldier.   Whenever he didn't know how to act in a situation, he always reverted back to his military training.   For example, when the Brodie children exploded from the house to greet Ash and Maddie upon their arrival, Ash immediately ordered them to "Form ranks!" (page 161).   The scene was beautifully written, extremely humorous and a joy to read.

Warner's gift at painting a sharp picture in the most succinct way to reveal what her characters are thinking is also peppered throughout the story.   For instance when Ash walks in on a conversation between Maddie and Lucinda, Warner gifts readers with these words.  

A pretty picture, the ladies were, had one not looked at him as if she expected him to pounce, and the other one hoping he would so she could gut him.   (Ash, page 154)  

Warner had one great big "opps" moment.   She detailed Ash's difficulty in reading Maddie's note: "Church 11.   Dinner 2 at the Brodies' " on page 152.   Then four pages later, while Ash is waiting for 2:00 p.m. to arrive so he can escort Maddie to dinner, he sits in the hotel lobby perusing months-old newspapers, which catches him up with current events.

Warner is also very skilled when it comes to understanding the male dynamic and displays that skill through Ash's thought processes and dialogue.   Warner may not like to indulge readers when it comes to writing spicy love scenes, but she does like to fill her stories with innuendo.   And, true to mankind, Ash is constantly thinking about taking his lovely wife to bed.  

He might be begging tonight.   But not for a blanket.   (Ash, page 157)

They spoke little.   It was one of those highly-charged female-type silences that eroded a man's confidence and had him scanning through recent events to determine what he might have done wrong.   (Ash, page 157)

"And who is going to mend your torn shirt?"
Not you, I'm guessing.   But he wisely kept that to himself and grinned at her instead.   (Maddie and Ash, page 177)  

The male camaraderie between Ash and Sheriff Declan Brodie and Thomas Redstone was excellently written as well.   While Ash used his stiff military bearing to face down both of these bigger-than-life secondary characters, the way Warner wove Ash into the Heartbreak Creek male dynamic was priceless.   Ash could appreciate Declan's tendency towards a peaceful resolution of safety issues for the ladies under his care, but what really earned Ash's admiration was the way Declan ruled his lively children with love.   However, the greatest dynamic was the "all male" relationship that developed between Ash and Thomas -- two warriors who truly understood the other.

Warner instinctively seems to know what her readers will appreciate in a story when it comes to keeping the books of a series tied together by including secondary characters introduced in the first book of the series.   One of the reasons that Maddie didn't want to go to Scotland with Ash was because she did not want the leave the Heartbreak Creek family in which she was a member.   Warner entertained readers with more girl talk between Maddie, Edwina Brodie, Lucinda Hathaway, and Prudence "Pru" Lincoln.

Surprisingly, near the end of the book, Warner gave Pru and Thomas each a voice to reveal to readers the difficulties that Thomas continued to encounter in his relationship with Pru.   When Thomas left Pru to warn Ash and Declan about the villains as the story was heading fast towards the exciting final showdown between the good guys and the bad, he let Pru know that his patience was not limitless and that she must face the fact that they were soul mates.   And even though Thomas and Pru's ongoing love story was minimally portrayed, it was a relief to see that Pru finally accepted Thomas into her life.

Warner surely knows how to write villainous characters as well as heros and heroines.   You could not help but feel great compassion for the young simpleton, Silas Cochran, who was forced to endure the harsh words and heavy fists of Cletus "Clete" Cochran, his greedy, mean-spirited brother.   Cletus and Silas were introduced early in the story as a tool to inspire a bit of suspense.   Cletus was determined to find the photographer who took a picture of Ephraim Zucker, the now dead miner who had struck gold, so he could claim the mine.   When the story finally began to pick up, Cletus, posing as Aaron Zucker, calls on Maddie at the Heartbreak Creek Hotel to ask about the photograph she took of Ephraim.   Maddie, however, had no idea where she took the photograph.

Upon the arrival of Ephraim's brother, the actual Aaron Zucker, to Heartbreak Creek, also looking for the photographer to tell him where he might find his absent brother, Cletus's plans to pose as the older Zucker brother had to change.   Warner gave readers an exciting sequence of events tying in all the main players of the cast as she found a way to show Ash, in all of his warrior's glory, as a capable and true soldier, in contrast to being considered unnecessary when he was forced to resign his military calling after seventeen years of service when he was severely wounded in an explosion.

Warner is a master when it comes to developing original and intriguing secondary characters.   Although he only appeared during the first portion of the story, the role Wilfred "Walleyed Willy" Satterwhite played in the story was critical to drive home some undeniable truths to both Ash and Maddie.   Warner did a phenomenal job of painting a vivid portrait of Satterwhite and used him to show readers (and Ash) how Maddie looked at the world through rose-colored glasses.

Some readers may not think animals are secondary characters, but Warner seamlessly wove the antics and actions of three animals into Ash and Maddie's story.   These animals were very memorable.   First, you have to admire Ash because he continued to ride and cater to his gelding, Lurch, who was deafened in the same explosion that injured him.   Warner beautifully detailed Ash's efforts to address Lurch's handicap.   Warner also entertained readers with the richly developed, and very accurate-feeling presence of Agnes nee Angus, Maddie's tiny little dog.   But the animal that stole the show, was Tricks, Ash's huge, exuberant, disobedient Irish Wolfhound.   Loved the details Warner included about Tricks as he showed up regularly on the pages of this book.   Including animals like these makes the book feel so realistic.

In closing, while it may have taken a very long time to develop an interest in reading Colorado Dawn, Kaki Warner's beautifully written second book in The Runaway Brides Trilogy, you cannot fault Warner for adding the necessary details to the story that make for a great read. {1} Ash, a wounded (inside and out) hero, who easily won your heart with his honor, determination and humor. {2} Although it took a while to warm up to the strong-willed, gifted, conflicted heroine, Maddie, she came through for her hero in the end. {3} A slow-moving story line was occasionally interrupted with moments of action and adventure. {4} An undeniable feeling of romance pervaded the story because the passions that Ash and Maddie felt for the other were ever-present. {5} Although not as deep as in previous books, Warner inspired an emotional connection to her characters, bringing forth a tear or two and laughter. {6} An aura of suspense spread through the story as a particularly brutal villain was introduced into the plot, along with his simpleton brother.   {7} The presence of characters introduced in Heartbreak Creek added enjoyment to the story.   The male camaraderie between Ash, Declan and Thomas was particularly enjoyable -- more so than the girl talk between Maddie, Edwina, Pru, and Lucinda.   {8} The inclusion of well-developed, beautifully detailed secondary characters added great interest to the story.   {9} Lots of detail about the country added a rich historical flavor.   And finally, {10} the inclusion of the ongoing romance between Thomas and Pru definitely added appeal.
--Vonda M. Reid (Tuesday, June 18, 2013 : 9:06 p.m.)     [317]

Books In The Series: "The Runaway Brides Trilogy"
# Date Title Hero Heroine
01.07-2011Heartbreak CreekRobert Declan Brodie, rancher, sheriffEdwina Pricilla Whitney Ladoux, southern belle
02.01-2012Colorado DawnAngus Frederick Wallace, Fifth Viscount Ashby; "Ash"; retired Calvary OfficerAlexandra Madeline "Maddie" Gresham Wallace; Viscountess Ashby; expeditionary photographer
03.06-2012Bride of the High CountryDoyle Kerrigan, railroad mogulLucinda Hathaway / Margaret Hamilton, hotel owner

Characters Found In "Colorado Dawn"
Character Description
Angus Frederick Wallace, Fifth Viscount Ashby: "Ash"[Hero] Scottish earl's son; member of calvary regiment (2) rash, high-spirited calvaryman who took needless risks; big; headstrong (3) third son (4) Fifth Viscount Ashby, "Ash" (7) once a forward rider with Rifles of the Light Division; searched for Maddie for 20 months; slow healing wound (8) unbendable resolve (13) breech-loading Snider-Enfield calvary carbine (20) retired from British calvary; fought in Ireland (21) 17 years of military service (22) strong nose; uncompromising chin; deep set, mossy green eyes; scar cutting through one dark brow; hair turning gray; brows, lashes, beard stubble dark brown; sun-browned face; widow's peak; strong hands; long line of neck (26) 34-y-o; Tenth Hussars; shaved off flaring mustache that was mark of Tenth Hussars (29) injured in explosion that ended his military career 2-y-a (33) Viscount Ashby (34) tall; lean; long muscular legs; wide shoulders; ramrod straight back; deeper groves around his mouth; fine lines fanning from his remarkable green eyes (37) imposing figure; handsome face (42) brash and energetic as young calvary officer (43) now subdued, jaded; weariness that hinted at painful experiences; rough edges gone; a seasoned hard-faced ex-soldier used to getting his own way (44) puckered web of ropey, purplish scars covered left side of rib cage (50) lively eyes full of laughter (51) mn: Frederick; retired colonel of the Prince of Wales's Own Tenth Royal Hussars; gray threaded through deep sable hair made him appear even more virile; long ridge of scar tissue wound above his ear to his temple (56) tattoo on neck, "Ich Dien"; impatient lovely white teeth (57) beautiful strong hands; firmly muscled from years of military service (58) dyslexic (71) educated at University of Edinburgh (90) "Scottish by birth, British by law, Highlander by the grace of God." (95) strong, square jaw, slight dip in middle of chin (119) unbendable backbone (127) tall and proud; long legs moving in graceful, rolling gait (170) "A big, able man, hobbled by duty and bound by honor." (171)
Alexandra Madeline "Maddie" Gresham Wallace; Viscountess Ashby[Heroine] wore Angus' signet ring; married over 4 years (1868); received 2 letters; 1 visit (2) daughter of baronet (4) expeditionary photographer; hired to take pictures of the American West from the female perspective for The Illustrated London News (5) auburn hair; gently bred Englishwoman; nice form; long legs; skin as pale as pink marble; burnished copper highlights in hair; silver dollar sized birthmark below right breast (19) headstrong (22) older; prettier; rounder (28) used to be: sweet; pretty; tractable; always smiling; round pick cheeks; good teeth; cheerful aspect; passionate now: clearly defined cheekbones; strong, stubborn line to jaw; wide mouth; arch in brows gave her a wide-eyed innocent look; had eye for taking photos (28) deep brown eyes; small, slim, fine hands (31) disconcertingly direct gaze; artist's eye; prickly; outspoken; independent (33) Alexandra Madeline Gresham Wallace; Viscountess Ashby (34) "had never been orthodox -- not in her emotions, or her photography, or her passions" (36) unpredictable; independent; "A woman with ideas and the backbone to see them through." (38) moved with regal grace; smiled with her whole face (39) spirited (48) carries double derringer (58) unable to mask her thoughts; open; unguarded; ready to accept what was put before her (63) rich deep brown eyes with yellow flakes in the irises; long lashes; deft, sure hands; total concentration; smart; independent; saucy (76) kind and gentle heart; "She sees the beauty in us all." (86) 25-y-o (178)
. . . . . .
Buck Aldrich[No Appearance] Heartbreak Creek's regular sheriff; away until spring (159)
Agnes nee Angus[Animal] pathetic excuse for a dog; "a ball of hair sprouting improbably large, pointed ears, a stub of a tail, and four tiny feet." (24) Maddie's pet (37) half Mexican, half Corgi (40) girl; Agnes (41)
Cal Bagley[No Appearance] rude; owned mercantile in Heartbreak Creek (244)
Billy [Brief Appearances] freckled bellboy of Heartbreak Creek Hotel (8)
Doc Boyce[One Appearance] Heartbreak Creek doctor; white hair (293)
Matthew Brady[Actual Historical Character / No Appearance] took photographs during American rebellion; evocative; astounding; haunting; compelling (5)
Brin Brodie[Rare Appearances] wee creature; dressed in boy's clothing; face hidden under floppy hat; remarkable gray eyes, the color of buffed pewter (161) family beauty (162)
Declan Brodie[Major Secondary Character] [Hero of Book 1] Sheriff; dark eyes; black flat-crowned hat; taller than Ash; solidly built; air of authority; reasonable man; wore his position well (11) Declan; temporary sheriff of Heartbreak Creek; rancher; white teeth in crooked grin that turned austere face handsome (12) unbendable resolve (13) unflappable nature (136) 3 sons, 1 daughter by previous marriage (159) benign ruler (164)
Edwina Brodie[Major Secondary Character] [Heroine of Book 1] blue-eyed beauty; sandy hair; southern charm; Declan's wife (12) fiercely loyal Southern; everybody's champion (80) mail-order marriage with Declan (131) "Ed"; blue eyes (135) a southern magnolia of the first water; can play piano blindfolded; flirt a dead man back to life; find water with a willow switch; abysmal cook; Pru's half sister (159) lively blue eyes alert with mischief (162) drawling southern accent (163) from Louisiana (171) contagious laugh (272)
Joe Bill Brodie[Rare Appearances] tow-headed; odd teeth; sure, damp grip (161)
Lucas Brodie[Rare Appearances] thin boy; sharp brown eyes; mop of light brown hair (161) brilliant (162)
R.D. Brodie[Rare Appearances] gangly boy; a younger, shorter, skinner, chinless version of Declan; Declan's oldest; sure grip; dark, steady eyes (161) same probing intensity as his father (162)
Buttercup[Animal] mule that pulled Maddie's wagon (44)
Reginald Farnsworth Chesterfield[One Appearance] publisher at The Illustrated London News; gray hair (4) elderly man; small crooked teeth; gray muttonchops (5) interviewed and hired Maddie (4)
Cletus "Clete" Cochran[Major Secondary Character] Silas' older brother; brutal (14) spooky, mismatched eyes (17) blond; poorly tailored suit; shirt had seen cleaner days; dusty bowler (178) lovely smile might have rendered him handsome if not for odd coldness in his mismatched eyes; had most of teeth; no rusty stains; overuse of hair pomade; brusque laugh; several nicks and scars on hands; tall man; so blond eyebrows appeared non-existent; one blue eye, one brown with pale flecks (179) sexually abused Si (195)
Silas "Si" Cochran[Major Secondary Character] Cletus' younger brother; smaller than brother (14) small; skinny; 17-y-o (16) afraid of dark; couldn't read (17) young; light hair; bruised face; slackness of jaw made him appear simple (211) gentle gaze; face showed evidence of other beatings; smile revealed broken, neglected teeth; dreadfully neglected (215)
Vicar Collins[No Appearance] presided over Maddie's parents' funeral (2)
Fred Driscoll[Brief Appearnaces] Heartbreak Creek liveryman; tobacco stained teeth (125)
Evans[Actual Historical Character / No Appearance] feuding with Teller about second U.S. Senator (137) John Evans, the second governor of the Colorado Territory from 1862-1865
Mayor Gebbers[No Appearance] mayor of Heartbreak Creek (210)
President Grant[Actual Historical Character / No Appearance] (137)
Baronet Gresham[No Appearance] Maddie's father; very strong Democratic political opinions; drained his small inheritance in attempts to organize collective cooperatives for various workers; a dreamer (137)
Lucinda Hathaway [Major Secondary Character] [Heroine of Book 3] blond; eyes as green as Ireland; pretty face (9) owns hotel; Yankee; smart; carried pepperbox pistol (11) made astute and clever observations (80) "Luce"; prickly ways; unbendable backbone (127) cynical; valise of purloined railroad shares; confused feelings about man she left at alter (132) lovely rooms on ground floor of hotel; blond, green-eyed beauty (187) "Spending your days kipping food and dodging constables, and your nights fighting off rats and alcohol-soaked procurers." (188) parents died when very young; raised by elderly guardian; hated "industrial types" who kept the poor in grinding poverty while they grew rich; left man at the altar with his valise full of money and railroad shares; didn't like to be touched (189) head for business; charming when need be (246) intensely private (267) practical; level-headed (268)
William Jackson[Actual Historical Character / No Appearance] took photographs of the American west (5)
Jeb Kendal[No Appearance] Brodie's nearest Heartbreak Creek neighbor (169)
Mrs. Kemble[Secondary Character] owned boarding house; like a busy hen deciding which worm to peck first (234) limp gray curls poked from beneath little lace widow's cap (241)
Countess of Kirkwell[No Appearance] Ash's mother; rarely left her room (2) died of fevers of '69 (31)
Earl of Kirkwell[No Appearance] Ash's father; hated all things English, including Maddie (2) died of seizure (31) suffocating; judgmental (44) "It was ever about the lands with the earl. Naught else." (68) ham-fisted tyrant (164)
Edgar Kitchner[No Appearance] representative of Kansas Pacific (246)
Prudence "Pru" Lincoln[Major Secondary Character] dark skin; lives at school for ex-slaves; under Thomas's protection (12) beautiful; most intelligent of the group (80) logical (81) patient; still hadn't come to terms with her abduction; taught ex-slaves and itinerant railroad workers; smile lit up strikingly beautiful face (132) Edwina's half sister; mother a plantation slave; shared father with Edwina; loved by father (159) well-educated; brilliant; sensitive about scars administered by Edwina's mother (160) drawling southern accent with a soft, mellow tone (163) dark eyes; beautiful face; passionate about teaching; reserved, even among friends (166) more modest than Queen Victoria; volatile (170) Thomas called: "One who walks in wolf tracks" (201) wounded in body and spirit; strong (202) Edwina's mother poured scalding water on Pru when she was 7; left burn scars (203) mulatto (208)
Lone Tree[No Appearance] abducted Prudence (132) renegade Arapaho; vendetta against Declan; quite vicious (160)
Lurch[Animal] Ash's horse (22) deafened in explosion (32) big gelding (114) Ash inherited from calvaryman who died of malaria in India; together for 10 years; trusted, depended upon each other (232)
Colin MacPherson[One Appearance] bright red hair; fierce blue eyes; wore somber shaded suit of clothes, starched white shirt with high color; studied at University to become solicitor in his father's firm (309)
Maisy[Animal] mule that pulled Maddie's wagon (44)
Fain McKenzie[One Appearance] neighbor that Earl wanted Glynnis to marry to expand holdings (68)
Mary McRae[No Appearance] neighbor that Earl wanted Ash to marry to expand holdings; "Everyone has a right to be ugly, but that poor lass abuses the privilege." (68)
Miriam[Brief Appearances] worked at Heartbreak Creek Hotel (10)
Muriel[Animal] Driscoll's mule; Ash corrected problem when realized smithy used too narrow shoes (125)
Tim O'Sullivan[Actual Historical Character / No Appearance] took photographs of the American west (5)
Chub Pennystone[Brief Appearances] Mrs. Kemble's nephew; accompanied Declan, Lucinda, Maddie to delegation meeting; thin neck; freckled cheeks; brown hair hung in hazel eyes; narrow hips and shoulders (242)
Bud Purvis[Brief Appearance] Clete's cronie; mean; had pet tarantula (225) short; dark beard (261)
Thomas Redstone[Major Secondary Character] Cheyenne Dog Soldier (12); loved Pru; loyal (132) "whitewashed attire" trousers rather than leggings, a collarless work shirt and blue army jacket in place of breechcloth and war shirt, instead of a topknot with an eagle feature, his long black hair and narrow temple braids pulled back and tied with a strip of leather; looked fearsome in his Indian garb; eyes black as basalt chips (133) one-quarter white, three-quarters Cheyenne, straddled two cultures, belonging to neither (134) Declan's deputy; like brother to Declan (160) a true warrior (162) thigh-length leather war shirt decorate with beads, shells and bits of antler; leather leggings; soft-soled fringed leather knee boots; red breechcloth hanging below the edge of his long tunic (163) flat, expressionless voice; broad smile brought shocking transformation to his starkly sculpted face (167) lethal intention radiated off his strong sturdy body (206) strong shoulders (210)
Biddy Rickman [One Appearance] Reverend's wife; stridently vocal pianist (156)
Pastor Rickman[One Appearance] Heartbreak Creek reverend (135) arm-waving, pulpit-pounding enthusiasm (156)
Major Harry Ridgeway[No Appearance] killed in explosion that injured Ash (65) Harry; wrote Ash's letters for him (72)
Teller[Actual Historical Character / No Appearance] feuding with Evans about second U.S. Senator (137) US Senator Henry M. Teller
Donnan Wallace[No Appearance] Ash's elder brother; sickly; no sons (31) now the Earl of Kirkwell (34)
Glynnis Wallace[One Appearance] Ash's sister; busy running Kirkwell lands (2) the true manager of Northbridge (171)
Neil Wallace[No Appearance] Ash's eldest brother; died of fevers of '69 (31)
Betty Williams[One Appearance] scantily clad; called "Betty Will"; interrupted Ash's bath; too young to have such weary eyes; grimy fingers; nails chewed to the quick (95)
Yancey[Rare Appearances] old man; bald head; worked front desk of Heartbreak Creek Hotel; smile revealed lack of teeth (8) rusty teeth; faded blue eyes (9)
Ephraim Zucker[No Appearance] miner who struck gold; Silas killed; small; skinny; late 30s (16)
Aaron Zucker[Secondary Character] from Pennsylvania; Ephraim's brother (16) more round than tall; porkpie hat; reverend (207) middle-aged (209) kind eyes (236) trusting brown eyes (244)

Locations, Organizations Found In "Colorado Dawn"
Location / Organization Description
PrologueLister House, Outside London / September 1868 (1)
Chapter OneHeartbreak Creek, Colorado Territory / September 1870 (7)
Alamosa Riverwhere Maddie taking photographs of mining; gold strikes (14)
E. and H.T. Anthony's of New Yorkwhere Maddie got her photographic supplies (47)
Becker's Fort at Hellbent Fallsmore a trading post than a Fort; fall buried under a rock slide; had smithy with wagon parts (84)
Blue Rivernear mining towns (14)
Boston Harborwhere Ash landed in American (8)
Near BreckenridgeColorado Territory; where first meet Cletus and Silas (14)
BrightonMaggie went on vacation with her parents (3)
Come All You Sinners Church of Heartbreak Creeksituated at the edge of town; small church; smaller flock (156)
Denverdelegation meeting in Denver to discuss statehood (13) bustling place at the confluence of South Platte River and Cherry Creek; sprawled across high plateau; surrounded by distant snow-capped mountains (228) territorial capital 3-y-a (229)
Denver Pacificcompleted the main line from Cheyenne (136)
Elderberry Creekjoined Heartbreak Creek (158)
Faces the DawnThomas recognized this landmark the Dawn from Maddie's picture; could take Aaron to mine after taking white people to Denver (228)
Heartbreak Creekonce a prosperous mining community (7)
Heartbreak Creek Hoteldapper on inside and out; description (8) Lucinda owned (11)
IrelandAsh stationed there during military service; suffered devastation of potato famine (7)
Jeffersonwhere Heartbreak Creek group stopped for night on way to Denver; one street village; bordered by rolling hills; unsure of its purpose; a ghost town in the making (226)
Jefferson Creek Bridgelocation where Ash heard riders (223)
Kansas Pacificlast spike had been driven at Strasburg (229)
Mrs. Kemble's Boarding House for Persons of Qualitywhere Ash, Maddie, Edwina, Declan, Lucinda boarded when in Denver; clean; room spacious (231)
Kenosha PassCletus told Heartbreak Creek travelers there had been a landslide (226)
Krigbaum Mine in Heartbreak Creek Canyon; abandoned mine (195)
KirkwellWallace lands (2)
Lister HouseMaddie's parent's house (1)
Londondamp, noisy, redolent of too many people crowding the narrow streets, and the pervasive odor of coal fires, refuse, and the river Thames hanging over the city like a dark cloud. (170)
Mercantile, Feed, and Mining Suppliesstore in Heartbreak Creek (7)
NorthbridgeMaddie sent note in case Angus asked about her (6) Ash's ancestral home; seat of the Earls of Kirkwell for 5 generations (30)
Pattern 1953 Enflied muzzle-loaderslong gun used by Rifles of the Light Division (166)
Pennsylvaniawhere Aaron Zucker from (16)
Red Hill PassHeartbreak Creek group traveled through this pass at noon time (222)
Mrs. Renfroe's Chinese Laundry and Bathhousewhere Ash bathed (94)
Rifles of the Light DivisionAsh once a forward rider with Rifles of the Light Division (8)
ScotlandAsh's home country; Clearances left trail of empty huts and overflowing graveyards (7)
SevastopolAsh miserable when participated in siege during winter 15-y-a (83)
Sharps .50hung over the door of the Brodie home (166)
Snider-Enfield calvary carbinesshorter barrel; breech loading; used by Tenth Hussars (166)
Tenth Royal HussarsAsh a retired colonel of the Prince of Wales's Own Tenth Royal Hussars (56)
The Illustrated London Newshired Maddie to take pictures of the American West from the female perspective (5)
TranscontinentalNow that the Denver Pacific has completed the main line from Cheyenne, they might be seeking a southern route across the Rockies, rather than relying solely on the Transcontinental (136)
Winchester Model 1866Satterwhite's weapon (20)
Wichita Pacifican obscure railroad starting up (268)

"Colorado Dawn" Quotations
30She had always had a talent for making him lose track of his thoughts.   (Ash)
62The man was her weakness.   He had been so from the moment she had seen him riding past in his bright blue uniform six years ago.   (Maddie)
67How simple life was for dogs.   A friendly pat, a full belly, and a warm place to wait out the night.   That was all they needed.   (Ash)
67He missed that bond.   That camaraderie.   The ribald jokes and the deep laughter.   The trust and discipline that gave meaning to the days and hope through the long nights.   He understood the soldier's life.   It had defined him for over seventeen years, and now that it was lost to him forever, he felt adrift.   Irrelevant.   Such a lack of clear direction was intolerable to a man more suited to action, a man trained to fight and protect.   It created within him a driving need to find something else to give him purpose.   (Ash)
69Looking down into her upturned face, he saw the fire and passion that at one time had been directed at him, and he realized with sudden clarity that by armoring himself against this woman, he had lost something valuable and irreplaceable.   Something he never even knew was within his grasp until it had already slipped through his grip.   (Ash)
76Success is as much in the planning as the execution, his old commander often said.   (Ash)
92"You can't spent the rest of your life hiding behind your camera.   You've got to start living life.   Go home with His Majesty -- or make him stay here -- just do something."   (Satterwhite)
149"I didn't run.   I drifted away.   And you let me."   (Maddie)
149"We belong together.   Apart, we're less than we were meant to be.   But together, we can be more than either of us dreamed."   (Ash)
182" 'Tis magic you create, so it is.   This picture pulls me in.   It makes me want to be on that road.   To follow it all the way to the mountains.   The mystery.   The freedom.   The endless sky.   You've captured it all right here.   On this small square of paper."   (Ash)
185"There's a saying in Scotland . . . dinna take a wife until you ken what to do with her."   He gave a soft, joyless laugh.   "I've never known what to do with you, lass.   You were not what I expected, and more than I hoped for.   You were a light burning just out of reach, and I was half afraid if I caught you, you would burn right through me.   And for these last few days, you have."   (Ash)
188Being in London society is like living in a fishbowl with a school of flesh-eating piranhas taking nips at you every time you pass by.   (Maddie)
198"It's like herding turtles," Brodie went on as if Ash hadn't spoken.   "The harder you push, the slower they move.   They've got one speed.   Their own.   Best accept that now, or you'll be chewing through your stirrup leathers before we get halfway to Denver."   (Declan)
266She was a soldier's wife.   And that's what was expected of soldier's wives -- they waited patiently and worried secretly and put on a brave face despite the terror churning inside.   (Maddie)

"Colorado Dawn" 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
. . . . . . . . .. . .
B+ / warm02-17-2012All About Romance--Wendy Clyde // excellent / great detail, well-written
4.74 average{27 reviews}Amazonas of: June 18, 2013
--01-30-2012As We Were Saying . . .Kaki Warner Interview, Giveaway
--02-03-2012As We Were Saying . . .Colorado Dawn Excerpt
4.50 average{10 ratings}Barnes & Nobleas of: June 19, 2013
4.0004-12-2012Book Obsessed Chicks--Kimberly Rocha {gr15} // lots of detail, valid points
Interview03-12-2012Book Obsessed ChicksShort Interview and Giveaway (shared post with Emma Lang)
C01-19-2012Dear Author--Sunita // phenomenally written / details about titles
----Fantastic FictionList of Kaki Warner's Books
----Favorite Author NotificationList of Kaki Warner's Books with publication dates
----Fict FactList of Books In The Runaway Brides Trilogy
----Fiction DBList of Kaki Warner's Books
positive01-15-2012Fresh Fiction--Krystal Larson // brief, but good
3.88 average{208 ratings}Good Readsas of: June 18, 2013
--Tin Ong {gr21} // excellent; unique take on book
B01-10-2012Happily Ever After / USA Today--Mandi Schreiner // see Smexy Books
3.80 average{5 ratings}Library Thingas of: June 19, 2013
B+02-01-2012Love To Read For Fun--Dawn // good
4.75 / Top Pick01-....-2012Night Owl Reviews[qv] too pat, too general, lacked Colorado Dawn details
--{no ratings}Paperback Swapas of: June 19, 2013
4.50 / 3.001-15-2012Reader, I Created Him--Kat Latham {gr5} // excellent / first line should be published
Article01-09-2012Reader, I Created HimTips on Writing in The Male Point of View
5.0006-03-2013Regan's Romance Reviews--Regan Walker {a3} {gr23} // great, as usual
Article06-06-2013Regan's Romance Reviews Kaki Warner talks Trains!
A Perfect 1001-....-2012Romance Reviews Today--Jane Bowers // okay review
4.50 / Top Pick11-06-2011RT {Romantic Times} Book Reviews2012 Historical K.I.S.S. Hero Nominee
4.00 average{6 reviews}Shelfarias of: June 19, 2013
B01-12-2012Smexy Books--Mandi Schreiner {a22} {gr3} // pretty good detail and review
----The Best ReviewsKaki Warner Mimi Biography
A+01-05-2012The Good, The Bad and The Unread--Samdy Marlowe {a26} {bn4} {gr6} // excellent
5.001-17-2012The Romance Dish--PJ Ausdenmore {a17} {bn3} {gr12} // awesome / beautifully written / excellent quotes
4.5 / Top Pick01-23-2012The Season For Romance--Kat Latham {gr5} // see Reader, I Created Him
5.00 / 1.003-11-2013Two Lips Reviews--Clare {a5} // no justification / PR review
3.0006-20-2013Wolf Bear Does Booksshorter post on Amazon, Fiction DB, Good Reads, Library Thing, Shelfari

♥   Disclaimer:   Kaki Warner gifted this autographed book to me for review purposes.   (Thank you, Kaki.)
♥   Very Subjective Rating
♣   Will add your Colorado Dawn review link to table, just ask