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
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Setting:     Manhattan, New York
                  Heartbreak Creek, Colorado Territory
Era:           1870
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
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

No comments:

Post a Comment