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

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