Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Kaki Warner -- Behind His Blue Eyes

Kaki Warner -- Behind His Blue Eyes

Rated: ♥ ♥ . ♥   {2.85}
Action: ♠♠♠ / Emotion: ♣♣♣ / Romance: ♥♥♥ / Sensuous: ♦ / Suspense: ♠♠♠♠
Action: 3.0 / Emotion: 3.0 / Romance: 3.0 / Sensuous: 0.5 / Suspense: 4.0  //  Historical Flavor: 4.0 // Laughter: 2 / Grins: 4 // Tears: 0 / Teary: 0

  2013 Best Historical Romance Finalist:
      Georgia Romance Writers: Published Maggie Award for Excellence
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Setting:       Baltimore
                    Heartbreak Creek / Colorado Territory
Era:             1871
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Important Note:
This review is based upon the "Advanced Reader Copy" and not the finished, polished, published version of Kaki Warner's first book in The Heroes of Heartbreak Creek Trilogy, Behind His Blue Eyes.

Updated this review (08-11-13) because I gave it an extra point simply to be kind to an author that writes beautifully and comes across as extremely personable.   It was impossible to let the 3.85 rating stand because it was not honest -- it was gratuitous.   After thinking about the many gratuitous and Public Relations reviews that have caused me to dismiss such reviews as being invalid -- not something to use as a guide about whether the book is truly worth reading -- I decided to be authentic.

Behind His Blue Eyes is well-written and well worth reading, but, sadly, it lacked that intense emotional connection to the protagonists that makes for a truly excellent read.   Having read all seven (to date) of Kaki Warner's books almost back-to-back, it is obvious that her writing style is evolving from a deeply emotional, laughter-inducing, 'grab you by the heartstrings' read into a more detailed 'use these writers techniques' format.   During the evolution (or maybe because she is under the gun to produce x number of books for the publisher in x number of months), Warner has not had the time or the wherewithal to incorporate dialogue and settings that emphasize her prodigious sense of humor.

Date Title Series Laughter Grins Tears Teary
01-2010  Pieces of Sky   01.   The Blood Rose Trilogy 13 5 14 3
06-2010  Open Country   02.   The Blood Rose Trilogy 16 3 6 7
01-2011  Chasing The Sun   03.   The Blood Rose Trilogy 5 -- 7 5
07-2011  Heartbreak Creek   01.   The Runaway Brides Trilogy 13 3 2 1
01-2012  Colorado Dawn   02.   The Runaway Brides Trilogy 7 2 1 3
06-2012  Bride of the High Country   03.   The Runaway Brides Trilogy 6 1 1 2
08-2013  Behind His Blue Eyes  01.   The Heroes of Heartbreak Creek Trilogy 2 4 -- --

Chapter One:
Audra Pearsall is introduced hiding the work she was doing for her father, Professor Percival Prendergast Pearsall, when his colleagues arrived at the Pearsall home in Baltimore.   Hiram Uxley, Mr. Beamis, Mr. Collins, and Richard Villars are members of the Baltimore Society of Learned Historians and arrive to present the annual Historian of Merit Medallion and Peabody Grant to the Professor.   Audra has been covering her father's dementia for the past two years by telling everybody that her father is studying in the New Mexico Territory while she transcribes his notes and writes the papers the Professor has been submitting to the Historical Society.

The foundation for vengeance is laid when Audra's former suitor, Richard, spots the Professor chasing his dog, Cleo, around the buggy house.   Audra made up a story about who Richard saw outside the window, but she is definitely worried about what actions Richard might take.

He was so desperate to establish himself as a leading American historian it was almost painful to watch.   (page 5)

Richard didn't like being thwarted and . . . if he found out she'd been lying to him and had cheated him out of a coveted award, there was no telling what he might do.   (page 7)

Winnie Abraham, Audra's surrogate mother and housekeeper tells Audra she has three choices: {1} jail; {2} marriage to Richard, or {3} leave -- go to Heartbreak Creek where her father had inherited the Prendergast property.   Audra decided to take her family of four to Heartbreak Creek.

Chapter Two:
Ethan Hardesty met Audra and her family as they exited from the train at the Boot Creek Depot near Heartbreak Creek.   Warner displayed her skills at painting vivid pictures of characters and scenery as she described the obstacles the travelers were facing.   Ethan couldn't help but notice that Audra was a dynamo as he lent a helping hand to her scatterbrained group.   Rather than give details of why Ethan left architecture behind to work for the railroad, it became obvious that Warner was going to keep readers waiting for all the details of Ethan's past as he briefly remembers his first solo job twenty-nine months ago in Salty Point, California (north of San Francisco), where he fell in love, had his heart broken and now suffered the torment of feeling responsible for three deaths.

Chapter Three:
Warner described Heartbreak Creek from Audra's point of view.   Loved the wonderful scene showcasing Deputy Thomas Redstone's sense of humor.   Audra worried about income as the family settled into the hotel.   When Audra called Ethan a hero for helping her once again, he turned cold and walked away.

She was the sort of woman who would expect too much from a man, and he was a man who had nothing to give.   (Ethan, page 23)

The suspense aspect of the story was introduced as Ethan met with Tait and Lucinda Rylander (Bride of the High Country) to discuss problems with theft, vandalism, Tim Gallagher (an Irish riding boss who was too fond of his whip) and the Prendergast / Pearsall right-of-way.

Chapter Four:
Thomas took Audra to the old Prendergast place.   Warner's talent at painting pictures revealed why Audra was horrified at the condition of the small two-room hovel.   When Ethan arrived to offer to buy rights to lay track through the Pearsall's land, Audra tarred him with the same brush as all the other high-handed railroaders who ran roughshod over any and all who interfered with their progress.   Thomas revealed his sadness because his people were victims of such practices.

The romance aspect of the story continued to develop when Thoms pointed out to Ethan that he'd lost that negotiation.   Ethan's original feelings of frustration had turned to admiration because of the way Audra refused him the right-of-way.

He felt invigorated and more alive than he had in three years.   (Ethan, page 34)

Chapter Five:
Having praised Warner for the way she revealed the entirety of Lucinda's history when she wrote Bride of the High County, it was sure a disappointment to find that Warner was going to revert to the tried and true method of feeding Ethan's history to readers in a piecemeal fashion.   In the previous chapters there were hints about a disaster that happened three years ago and now Warner lets Ethan briefly remember his arrival at the Salty Point Marine Hospital and his initial meeting with nurse, Eunice Eckhart.

Then readers are jerked back into Heartbreak Creek as Ethan heads to the sheriff's office to be entertained by another of the realistic and humorous portrayals of the Mars and Venus differences Warner usually inserts between the heros and heroines of her books.   Before Ethan can ask interim Sheriff Declan Brodie to join him to investigate the site of the water sluice that had been destroyed by a landslide, he cannot help but notice the differences in manner and tension between Declan and his wife, Edwina (Heartbreak Creek).

As soon as the door closed behind her [Edwina], the sheriff let out a deep breath.   "Thanks."
"For what?"
"Talking.   Every time I do, I get into trouble."   (Declan and Ethan, page 39)

If one were reading this book as a standalone read, it would be difficult to follow the conversation as Edwina prattled on about Pru, Brin and Joe Bill.   Because so many of the characters from the previous series (The Runaway Brides Trilogy) are spoken of with regularity and sometimes only in passing, only those who have read the previous books will understand what is being said.   (These connecting series of books have the makings of an old west version of Robyn Carr's Virgin River Series.)

Again Warner describes the land beautifully and Ethan cannot help but appreciate the solitude of the land as he and Declan ride out to the damaged sluice.   The suspense kicks up another notch when Ethan talks to Mr. Hopewell and his son who were working on the sluice to learn that the workers were already pointing accusatory fingers regarding the rockslide.   Upon further investigation, Declan and Ethan found signs that revealed sabotage.

Chapter Six:
Warner begins settling into a comfortable slow-paced method of story telling.   At the beginning of the chapter she inserts another entry into the ongoing, piecemeal saga of Ethan and Eunice before inserting details about how Audra and her family were settling into the remote, lonely, crowded cabin.   The incorporation of the previous members of the Heartbreak Creek cast are neatly woven into the story as Lucinda invited Audra's misfits to join her Heartbreak Creek misfits for Sunday luncheon after church.

One phrase that did not seem to particularly fit Ethan's personality was the way Warner sometimes ended Ethan's thoughts with the phrase "God bless her."   Apparently Warner likes to use this Southern-sounding phrase, because she used it quite successfully during the telling of Edwina's story (Heartbreak Creek).   It didn't work so well here.

All of which only added to the irritation still simmering after his latest confrontation with Audra Pearsall, God bless her.   (Ethan, page 56)

Chapter Seven:
By now, Warner has settled into such a slow pace while telling the story, that it is just too easy to put this book aside and do the dishes.   The romance between Ethan and Audra is emphasized during their mutual, but un-admitted interest in the other.   Ethan keeps using adjectives like "stubborn," "willful," and "pigheaded" to describe Audra.   Apparently he finds such behavior endearing.

Warner also has a tendency to feature the growing relationships between the women of Heartbreak Creek in her books.   She continues to develop Audra's personality as she plays cards with Edwina, Pru and Lucinda while they wait on their men to return from the sluice, which had been intentionally set afire.   It is obvious that Edwina is suffering from postpartum depression and Audra is uncomfortable with all the girl talk.

Chapter Eight:
The slow pace continues as Warner keeps Ethan and Audra at odds and in close proximity.   Ethan is frustrated when he sees Audra alone at the Pearsall cabin (because there is a killer lose) when she rushes home to get her father's beloved Cleo, who managed to get lost in the woods.

Chapter Nine:
Finally, the story begins picking up its pace as Warner writes an emotional account of the leave-taking between the Heartbreak Creek residents and Pru, who is going to Indiana to teach at Hilltop Christian Academy for People of Color.   This is really a great marketing tool, because Warner has written so much about Thomas and Pru across the past four books, that it is impossible not to want to read Thomas and Pru's story whenever it comes out.

The degree of excitement and suspense are increased as another fire is set.   Audra begins to wonder if Ethan is behind the fires because her cabin was targeted.   Lucinda's leadership skills are highlighted as she begins organizing the exodus of the Heartbreak Creek citizens when the fire began spreading fast.

End of Chapter By Chapter Synopses
From this point on Warner continues telling Ethan and Audra's story at a stronger, more engaging pace.   The story of Ethan's very off-kilter love affair with Eunice is interwoven between suspenseful details of the death and destruction happening around Heartbreak Creek as the building of the railroad is being hampered.   It was rather clever of Warner to provide Eunice with personality characteristics that enabled Ethan to better understand what was happening in the mind of the villain who was creating havoc.

Just as Warner continued to entertain readers with the dynamics of the growing relationship between Audra and the women of Heartbreak Creek, she showcased the camaraderie growing between Ethan and the male members of the cast as they frequently met at the Red Eye Saloon (away from their women) to trade insults and discuss ways to stop and apprehend the villain.   When Angus "Ash" and Maddie Wallace returned from their trip to Texas they brought a drover with them, Rayford "Rafe" Jessup, who added another number to the growing group of heros living in the world of Heartbreak Creek.

Warner gave readers just enough information about Rafe to inspire a deep interest to learn more about him.   Naturally, it will be easy to buy a copy of the next book in the series (Something In His Smile) to read Rafe's story.   One line detailing Rafe's personality was particularly memorable.

He [Rafe] and Brodie could fill a book with all the words they didn't use.   (Ethan, page 209)

Rafe was just about the only new secondary character that drew such profound interest.   Warner, who usually includes very memorable secondary characters that come to life and add a rich flavor to her stories, failed to develop the secondary characters in this book to that degree.   For some reason it was difficult to get a grasp on the personalities of Curtis and Winnie Abraham, the elderly black couple that was part of Audra's family.   Sadly, this couple seemed to fade into the woodwork after they served their purpose of offering advice or taking care of Audra and her father.

There was one returning Heartbreak Creek character that added great enjoyment to the story.   The snappy comments Doctor Boyce (who made minimal appearances in the previous books) made to Ethan and Audra each and every time they showed up at his infirmary (which was quite often) was a wonderful example of Warner's skill when it comes to minor character development and showcasing her amazing sense of humor.

Warner attempted to paint a realistic picture of the emotional devastation that a daughter must feel as she watches her intelligent, vibrant father fade into a puddle of dementia.   Audra is heartbroken as she tries to care for her father while he calls her Mary (his wife's name) and is not aware that he has a daughter.   And while it is easy to assume that the picture Warner painted of Professor Pearsall to be very realistic (wondering away from his home and his keepers, not recognizing his daughter, only remembering his dog, Cleo), somehow Warner missed the mark in engendering sympathetic emotions to suffer along with Audra at her father's dementia.

It was difficult to get a grasp on Audra's personality.   Was she prim and proper or not?   Warner utilized the repetition of a particular 'give and take' phrase between Ethan and Audra that implied that Audra was all about propriety.   Ethan immediately began calling Audra "Miss Audra" after meeting her and each time he did so, Audra would respond, "Pearsall".   At first this was a cute, attention-grabbing phrase, but after a while it was obvious Audra wasn't sincere in her wish that Ethan would address her with the respect she felt was her due.

Then later, after Audra determined that she was in love with Ethan, she pursued him like a modern-day woman, suggesting they engage in premarital sex rather than risk marriage before they knew if they were compatible.   Sadly, this abrupt turn around in decorous behavior was a bit confusing.   And since Warner is ever one to throw innuendo around while the romance is building between her characters, it just didn't make sense that innocent Audra would know how to make the lust-inducing actions she employed to tempt Ethan to sleep with her.

It was also difficult to connect with Ethan on an emotional level because it was difficult to understand where he was coming from.   From the lack of information about Ethan before his disastrous relationship with Eunice at the Salty Point Marine Hospital almost three years ago and because he never seems to worry about money (purchasing Audra's right-of-way and then her horse and buggy in his efforts to be helpful and protective), the reader is left to assume that Ethan grew up in a typically happy, wealthy family.   While it was easy to admire Ethan because "he was the sort of man who wanted to make things right.   To look after people.   To fix things." (page 125), there was a sense that Ethan's personality was underdeveloped.   He felt incomplete.

If you are at all familiar with Warner's writing style, you will know that while she imbues her love scenes with plenty of romance, she is not one to share intimate, spicy details of the event.   Warner utilized the same style when penning the one love scene between Ethan and Audra, so do not expect any sizzle and minimal sexuality during the telling of their story.

The Epilogue was beautifully written.   Using Lucinda's point of voice was inspired.   What a wonderful ending to this book -- but not the story of Heartbreak Creek residents.   It showcased the happily-ever-after ending between Ethan and Audra and prepared readers for events to come.

In summary, Behind His Blue Eyes is another well-written, entertaining read.   Kaki Warner features the following in this story: {1} Ethan, a young, handsome hero who took a deep emotional hit three years ago but proves himself to be made of heroic material with his sense of honor and his need to protect those under his care; {2} Audra, a spitfire of a women, who is the sole care-giver of her family and who is not afraid to stand up for herself and what she believes in; {3} several adventurous events and the exciting finale added interest and depth to the story; {4} the minimal emotional connection to Ethan and Audra was disappointing; {5} the romance that grew between such strong protagonists was well done; {6} the degree of suspense was stimulating; {7} the inclusion of characters from previous books greatly increased the enjoyment of the read; {8} the historical accuracy in the description of the landscape and the building of railroads added to the realism of the story; and {9} a smattering of sensuality was included in the love scene.

Let's not forget the cover.   While the mountains in the background proclaim "rugged western romance novel," the hero pictured in the forefront screams "I'm a young kid, wet behind the ears, and have to grow some beardly scruff and age before I can be considered hero material."

Sadly, the lack of enjoyment in this book lies not in the writing or in the story line, but in the frame of mind of the reader.   I just could not get into this book.   Neither Ethan nor Audra inspired that deep emotional connection that is necessary for an outstanding read.   (Also, because of being in an apparent writing slump, I apologize for the sub-standard quality of this very difficult to write review.)
--Vonda M. Reid (Sunday, July 21, 2013 : 4:05 p.m.)     [320]

Books In The Series: "The Heroes of Heartbreak Creek Trilogy"
# Date Title Hero Heroine
01.08-2013Behind His Blue EyesEthan Hardesty: railroad advance man; former architect Audra Pearsall: bluestocking, aspiring writer
02.xx-2014Something In His SmileRayford "Rafe" Jessup: former Texas lawman; wrangler--
03.xx-201x--Thomas Redstone: Cheyenne Dog Soldier Prudence "Pru" Lincoln: teacher

Characters Found In "Behind His Blue Eyes"
Character Description
Ethan Hardesty[Hero] wore Stetson; partial to breasts (11) a railroad advance man; young architect (13) sable hair with golden streaks curled over his collar; looked almost boyish; weary droop around deep-set blue eyes; dark stubble shadowed his square jaw (21) quite handsome (22) dark; tall (23) even dressed in work clothes, had "presence"; confident; at home, no matter where he was; tall; lean; strong (30) two sisters (38) played fiddle; music eased his troubles (41) teasing light in arresting blue eyes (52) boyish, roguish, intimate crooked smile; fine white teeth (55) glib words came easily to him (67) "he was the sort of man who wanted to make things right. To look after people. To fix things." (125) tall; lean; long back; long legs; kind of grace that displayed a man comfortable with himself (158) long stride with alight spring in his step; upright and energetic posture (159) 25-y-o 3-y-a = 28-y-o (183)
Audra Pearsall[Heroine] brown hair; 26-y-o; wore spectacles (2) horrid liar; faulty vision (6) small woman; dark brown brows; uncommonly pretty; fine-boned; delicate (10) remarkable greenish hazel eyes; gold streaked hair; dab gray dress (11) trim ankles; rounded calves; forceful personality (15) intelligent woman in spite of addlepated manner (23) cantankerous; hard-headed; short-sighted (33) firecracker; passion; strength (34) exasperating (58) clever; beautiful eyes (67) wanted to be an author (77) flowery fragrance (94) abhors confrontation (96) "Audie"; father's nickname (176) a talker; curious; persistent (209)
. . . . . .
Curtis Abraham[Secondary Character] Winnie's husband (1) doesn't talk; married 30 years (7)
Winnie Abraham[Major Secondary Character] white cap atop tight gray curls; Curtis' wife; (1) stout; dark skin; served as Audra's mother since 6-y-o; housekeeper; cook; nurse; benevolent tyrant; ruled household with sharp criticisms and gentle hugs (2) married 30 years (7) short; broad (158)
Cal Bagley[One Appearance] owner of Heartbreak Creek general story (80)
Mr. Beamis[One Appearance] member of Baltimore Society of Learned Historians; called on Professor Pearsall (4)
Big Swede[No Appearance] drunk, fell off horse, hit head (87)
Billy[One Appearance] Heartbreak Creek Hotel bellboy (259)
Chief Black Kettle[Actual Historical Character / No Appearance] died in 1968; tribe moved to Oklahoma; Thomas a member of his tribe (25)
Peter Bonet[Major Secondary Character] wire-framed spectacles; neither young or old; slim; wearing checkered suit; a bowler hat over curly red hair; earnest expression; clean-shaven face; new editor of Heartbreak Creek Herald; Irish (120) nice-looking (122) officious; arrogant; brother died in tunnel explosion when working for railroads (132) intensity about him that was off-putting; pushy (134) exacting employer with a set way of doing things; in newspaper business 12 years; quite knowledgeable; lacked journalistic objectivity; harsh attitude towards railroads (138) innuendo, condescending remarks, expressions of pained disappointment (195)
Doctor Boyce[Secondary Character] Heartbreak Creek doctor; older man; head full of white hair; faded brown eyes; spectacles (83) tall, thin fellow with a bow in his shoulders; a man who cared about his patients (85)
Janet Boyce[Rare Appearances] Doc's wife (85) likeable woman; ready smile; gentle manner (86) horrible cook (110)
Mrs. Bradshaw[No Appearance] Mrs. Thockmorton's chaperone (308) // featured in Bride of the High Country
Brin Brodie [Rare Appearances] Declan's daughter; more trouble than all the brothers put together; special place in Thomas's heart (30) lively gray eyes a shade lighter than Tait's (75)
Declan Brodie[Major Secondary Character] [Hero of Heartbreak Creek] temporary sheriff; ranching is his real love (25) 3 sons, 1 daughter by first wife; 1 son by Ed (26) big; taller than Ethan; broader than Thomas; dark brown hair and eyes; slow smile; crushing handshake; possessed a nature of stillness; utter confidence; relaxed manner; intelligence behind his probing gaze; dark coloring; broad as a bull; subdued (37) easy manner; confident attitude; patience; Ethan liked (40)
Edwina "Ed" Brodie[Major Secondary Character] [Hero of Heartbreak Creek] Declan's wife; had baby boy (26) fair skinned; tall; slender; gregarious; total lack of guile; every emotion revealed on her pretty face; wide blue eyes; drawling up and down cadence of the South (37) light brown hair (38) high-strung; not much of a cook (40) emotional Southerner (51) sandy-haired Southerner; vivacious nature made everyone want to be around her; now "one frayed thread away from hysteria" (139) excellent seamstress; could find water with willow switches; could play piano blindfolded (152)
Joe Bill [Brodie][Rare Appearance] [Declan's son (39)]
R.D. Brodie[Rare Appearances] Declan's oldest son; spitting image of Declan (53) understands some Chinese (141)
Whitney "Whit" Ladoux Brodie[Frequent Appearances] Declan and Ed's new baby boy (38) 2 months, 10 days old (59)
Cleo[Animal] Professor's little dog (4) thrashing badger-sized dog; barked constantly (10)
Mr. Collins[One Appearance] member of Baltimore Society of Learned Historians; called on Professor Pearsall (4)
Cricket[Animal] Audra's horse; Curtis wary of him (74)
Mr. Driscoll[Occasional Appearances] Heartbreak Creek livery owner (20)
Eunice Eckhart[No Appearance] woman Ethan fell in love with // firecracker; head of nurses at Salty Point Marine Hospital; slender frame; blond hair (35) most arresting face Ethan had ever seen; high cheekbones; deep brown eyes; sensual mouth that curved with a smile that held secrets (36) remarkable eyes full of secrets; teasing smile (45) didn't allow kissing; had to be in control of lovemaking (94) incapable of love; damaged (124) cold detachment (236)
Tim Gallagher[Secondary Character] Irish riding boss; too fond of whip (24) silver-handled whip; foreman; not well liked by Chinese (111) auburn hair; big Irishman (154)
Mr. Gebbers[One Appearance] owned Heartbreak Creek bank (80)
Hendricks[No Appearance] woodcutter; knew the woods well; supposedly fell off cliff (40)
Mr. Hopewell[Rare Appearances] working on sluice; middle-aged man; ragged homespun clothing; slouch hat; looked like prospector (41)
__ Hopewell[Rare Appearances] adolescent son of Mr. Hopewell; working on sluice (41)
Richard Hunt[Actual Historical Character / No Appearance] architect who made Victorian Gothic style popular (57)
Rayford "Rafe" Jessup[Rare Appearances] [Hero of Book 2] wore dusty Stetson, dark oiled duster; Texan; wrangler Ash hired for his herd (208) charms the ladies without uttering a word; 30-ish; blond; clean-shaven; great confidence; a calm, unhurried manner; not particularly handsome; looked older with squint lines around dark blue eyes and deep brackets around his mouth; kind of sadness and weary resignation in his eyes (209) shot several times; once a Texas lawman; got caught in a shoot-out over a woman; calm; mild-mannered; holding a wealth of anger inside (250)
Kim[One Appearance] Chinese medicine man (142) old; wrinkled face (143)
Prudence "Pru" Lincoln[Secondary Character] [Heroine of Book 3] Edwina's sister (40) Edwina's half-black half sister; leaving for Indiana in few days (50) stunning mulatto (51) brown skin; discolored skin on wrist from long-ago scalding; most beautiful woman Audra had ever seen (53) a fusser; wore hair in tightly bound bun (59) obviously cared for Thomas; going to Indiana to teach school for freed men and woman (59)
Miriam[One Appearance] worked at Heartbreak Creek Hotel (233)
Mitchell[No Appearance] Professor Pearsall believed Ethan was Mitchell (12)
Uncle Edward [Pearsall][No Appearance] Percival's elder brother (6) Audra told Richard the man he saw outside was Uncle Edward (6)
Mary Pearsall[No Appearance] Audra's mother (12) died 20-y-a (47)
Professor Percival Prendergast Pearsall[Major Secondary Character] Audra's father (2) driving force behind the Baltimore Society of Learned Historians for so many years, he had become the yardstick by which all other members were measured; exacting standards (3) dementia for 2 years (7)
Phoenix "Phe"[Animal] Audra's new dog; stray surveyor found in canyon; singed a bit; half-starved; sad brown eyes; young; nearly-full sized; mostly hound; long dropping ears; jowly muzzle; ribs showed (161) long, thin tail; speckled skins showing beneath singed black and white coat; scar cut through the fur by one soulful eye; untrained; distrustful (162) "Phe" (167)
Cyrus Prendergast[No Appearance] owned original deed to land 30-y-a (26)
Pringle[No Appearance] Mrs. Thockmorton's irascible butler; curmudgeon (310) // featured in Bride of the High Country
Buster Quinn[No Appearance] Mrs. Thockmorton's chaperone (308) ex-Pinkerton (310) // featured in Bride of the High Country
Deputy Thomas Redstone[Major Secondary Character] [Hero of Book 3] swarthy man; wearing normal attire; temple braids; feather tucked into a strip of leather holding back rest of long black hair; stern-faced (19) strong white teeth in a smile that took your breath away; Cheyenne; sincerity in gentle smile; odd sense of humor (20) Cheyenne Dog Soldier; with Chief Black Kettle's tribe; white grandfather; all warrior (25) broad sturdiness; not as tall as Ethan (30) Cheyenne Dog Soldier (51) blunt-tipped fingers (61)
Renny[Animal] Ethan's big buckskin (12) named after James Renwick, Jr. (74)
James Renwick, Jr.[Actual Historical Character / No Appearance] architect; lofty designs; Ethan's mentor; named horse after him (57)
Biddy Rickman[Rare Appearances] pastor's wife; pianist of Come All You Sinners Church (56)
Pastor Rickman[Rare Appearances] pastor of Come All You Sinners Church; wild hair; arm-waving; man in later years (56)
Rimmick[No Appearance] patient in infirmary (87)
Lucinda Rylander[Major Secondary Character] [Heroine of Bride of the High Country] Tait's wife; principal of the Pueblo Pacific Bridge Line (12) owner of Heartbreak Creek Hotel; striking blond woman; cool, reserved, unapproachable manner; watchful green eyes swirled with currents of distrust; face softened when looked at husband; so astute it was almost off-putting; barely masked strength of will (23) smile left dimple in left cheek (48) elegantly gloved hands (49) serene-looking (51) Irish orphan who lived in brothel (51) cultured voice (52) carried four-shot pepperbox (157) proverbial mother hen; the ultimate manager; "she wanted everything to be right and everyone to be happy" (165) relentless organizer (233) serene; unflappable (244)
Tait Rylander[Major Secondary Character] [Hero of Bride of the High Country] principal of the Pueblo Pacific Bridge Line (12) dark; as tall as Ethan; black hair; intelligent gray eyes; scar down one side of his face; big-knuckled hand; scarring; thickening around eyes; once a bare-knuckle fighter; fine suit; elegant bearing; man of authority; Lucinda's husband; had no trouble keeping up with wife (23) once hanged; fought for money (51) elegant; intense gray eyes; engaging smile; scar from old rope burn just above color (53) compelling pewter gray eyes; long scar above right temple; slight limp (75) scarred knuckles rose like fresh bee stings; intense (91)
Mrs. Throckmorton[No Appearance] Lucinda's guardian (50) in Denver until next month (51) // featured in Bride of the High Country
Roger Tilly[Rare Appearances] newly hired apprentice photographer for Heartbreak Creek Herald; young man; freckled cheeks (196)
Tricks[Animal] Ash's Irish wolfhound; giant gray dog; gentle as a kitten (207)
Richard Villars[Secondary Character] member of Baltimore Society of Learned Historians; called on Professor Pearsall; Audra's onetime suitor; treasurer (4) submitted paper on cave drawings in southern Appalachians; desperate to establish himself as a leading historian; better researcher than writer (5) intensive, intrusive dark gaze (6) didn't like being thwarted; ambitious (7)
Hiram Uxley[One Appearance] member of Baltimore Society of Learned Historians; called on Professor Pearsall; president; most officious member of group; mustache (4)
Varney[No Appearance] patient in infirmary (87)
Angus "Ash" Wallace[Brief Appearances] [Hero of Colorado Dawn] Maddie's husband; Scottish earl; in Texas on photography expedition (50) "Ash" (76) wizard with numbers; likes to fight; helluva shot (154) Earl of Kirkwell; Ash to his friends; tall; lanky; erect posture of a military man; British Calvary, retired; graying hair; strongly built; green eyes; rifleman; brawler; owner of fine Scotch whiskey (207) patchwork of scars across his torso, especially along left side of rib cage (249) puckered scar on shoulder from bullet in India; saber slashes on arm and neck (250)
Maddie Wallace[Brief Appearances] [Heroine of Colorado Dawn] English lady; Angus's wife; in Texas on photography expedition (50) Madeline; auburn hair; countess; smile involved her entire face; sparkle in her beautiful brown eyes; cultured British accent; natural warmth (206)
Ezra Weems[Frequent Appearances] local prospector; saw surveyor with the Southern Utah and Atlantic near end of canyon last month (91) prosecutor; dirty, bearded, blackened stubs for teeth; almost as big as Brodie, wearing fur boots and slouch hat that had more holes than fabric (155)
Kelvin Witherspoon[One Appearance] circuit judge; hated Heartbreak Creek (193) small, dandified older man; pinched expression of a person suffering chronic dyspepsia; ill-fitting, brightly white, over-large porcelain false teeth (197) top and bottom eyelids heavy; dark irises seemed sunken behind narrow slits of puffy flesh; red nose proclaimed him a drinker (198)
Yancey[Infrequent Appearances] Heartbreak Creek Hotel desk clerk; elderly gentleman; gummy smile; a few brown teeth (20)

Locations, Organizations Found In "Behind His Blue Eyes"
Location / Organization Description
Chapter OneBaltimore / February 1871
Chapter TwoColorado Territory / March 1871
. . . . . .
Arlan placeempty residence; offered to Pearsall family as temporary residence (112) description of house (122)
Baltimorehometown of the Pearsall's (1)
Baltimore Society of Learned Historians members include: Professor Pearsall, Hiram Uxley, Mr. Beamis, Mr. Collins, and Richard Villars (3)
Butler's English Usage ManualAudra's English reference book (1)
Central Pacificrailroad; constructed Transcontinental line; Irish went on strike (24)
Colorado Territorybook setting (9) territory where town of Heartbreak Creek can be found (1)
Come All You Sinners Church of Heartbreak Creekpeculiar mix of different faiths and old and new architecture (56) homey; welcoming (58)
The Denver and Santa Fe RailroadEthan's employer (12)
Hattie's Millinery Shoppenext door to Herald (122)
Heartbreak Creektown in Colorado Territory (1) a town in transition; description (18)
Heartbreak Creek Development CompanyRylanders majority stockholders; financed the sluice (41) dedicated substantial amount of stock to the town (42)
Heartbreak Creek HeraldHeartbreak Creek newspaper; Peter Bonet, editor; Audra's employer (120)
Heartbreak Creek Hotelowner: Lucinda Rylander (13)
Hilltop Christian Academy for People of Colorin Indiana; where Pru going to teach (73)
Historian of Merit Medallionannual award presented by the Baltimore Society of Learned Historians; presented to Professor Pearsall for his paper The Development of Gas Artillery Capsules and How They Might Have Altered the Outcome of The War of Rebellion
Mulberry Creekroute Rylanders took when searching for Professor (99)
New Mexico Territorylocation where Audra told historians that her father had been for the past 2 years (4)
Peabody Grantannual grant presented by the Baltimore Society of Learned Historians (5)
old Prendergast cabinProfessor's inheritance (7) 2 miles up the canyon from Heartbreak Creek (19) horrid; remote; lonely; gloomy; beyond rustic (50)
Pueblo Pacific Bridge LineTait and Lucinda two principals; ran through Heartbreak Creek Canyon; issues with right-of-way and sluice bringing water from deeper in canyon (12)
Red Eye Saloonnext door to Heartbreak Creek Hotel (18) regular gathering place for the men
Salty Pointnorth of San Francisco (35) site of Ethan's first solo job; fell in love; heart broken; three died (13)
Salty Point Marine Hospitalnorth of San Francisco (35) more prison than hospital; built in 1850 to benefit sick, infirm, and elderly sailors who had nowhere else to go; palpable gloom (45)
Southern Utah and Atlanticrival railroad to The Denver and Santa Fe Railroad (62)
Transcontinentalrailroad constructed by Central Pacific; Irish went on strike (24)

"Behind His Blue Eyes" Quotations
15the women hovered close by, poised to offer helpful tips in case he somehow lost the ability to reason or forgot what he was doing.   (Ethan)
60"I declare, it would be easier to put dancing pumps on a cat than get words out of that man."   (Edwina)
75it was nice to be looked after for a change.   (Audra)
96She shot him one of those sarcastic eye rolls that women do so well   (Ethan)
103Ethan knew bad things happened to the innocent and guilty alike.   (Ethan)
117He could love this stubborn, gentle woman.   With her, he could regain the peace that had eluded him for so long, and maybe even find his redemption.   With her, he might find the will to put the past behind him.   (Ethan)
166"You're a rare creature, Audra Pearsall.   A woman who gives more than she takes, and brings happiness, rather than pain, to those around her."   (Ethan)

"Kaki Warner -- Behind His Blue Eyes" 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
. . . . . . . . .. . .
----Amazonas of: July 23, 2013 (book not yet released)
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----Fantastic FictionList of Kaki Warner's Books
----Favorite Author NotificationList of Kaki Warner's Books with publication dates
----Fict FactList of Kaki Warner's Series
----Fiction DBList of Kaki Warner's Books
Interview03-18-2013Five Scribes--Theresa Rizzo // "The Sandy Writing Contest" Success Stories -- Kaki Warner
4.00 average{3 ratings}Good Readsas of: July 23, 2013 (book not yet released)
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Interview06-11-2012Love To Read For Fun--Marquetta // wonderful, great details
Finalist2013Maggie Award For ExcellenceGeorgia Romance Writers
----Paperback Swapas of: July 23, 2013 (book not yet released)
Article01-09-2012Reader, I Created HimTips on Writing in The Male Point of View
Article06-06-2013Regan's Romance Reviews Kaki Warner talks Trains!
----RT {Romantic Times} Book Reviews(book not yet released)
----Shelfarias of: July 23, 2013 (book not yet released)
Interview06-04-2012Smexy Booksa must read // lots of interesting detail
----The Best ReviewsKaki Warner Mimi Biography
2.8505-23-2013Wolf Bear Does Booksshorter post on Amazon, Fiction DB, Good Reads, Library Thing, Shelfari

♥   Disclaimer:   The ARC copy of this book was gifted to me by Kaki Warner. Thanks, Kaki.
♥   Very Subjective Rating
♣   Will add your Behind His Blue Eyes review link to table, just ask

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