Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Review: Wild Texas Rose by Jodi Thomas

Wild Texas Rose by Jodi Thomas
published by Berkley in August 2012
Twenty-five-year-old Rose McMurray may be beautiful, smart, and capable of running her family's ranch at Whispering Mountain, but she's backed away from marriage three times without giving anyone reasons. Everyone thinks she is a coward, afraid of any adventure, including falling in love. She's never done a single wild or reckless thing in her life...until now.

Duncan McMurray, like Rose, was adopted into the family. As a Texas Ranger, he swears he'll never settle down and marry. He's been Rose's guardian angel since they were kids but for the first time in their lives he's the one who has caused her to be in danger. Somehow, he has to protect her from an outlaw gang determined to kill her without letting Rose know of the danger she's in. He's convinced that her heart can't take the stress if she knows...the only question is can his heart take the nearness of her. When opposites collide the adventure begins...
Genre: Historical romance, western
Series: Whispering Mountain, Book #6

The Story: Rose McMurray's favorite place in the world is her family ranch at Whispering Mountain. That's where she felt safe for the first time in her life and also where her loving family lives. To everyone's surprise though, Rose has left home and traveled to Austin because Victoria, Rose's friend from finishing school, is in distress. Victoria has always been spoiled by her father, the Major who cannot forget that his side lost in the Civil War, making her a demanding person. However, this time around, her father is forcing Victoria to marry the man he has chosen... But deep down, Victoria knows something is wrong and in addition, she loves someone else. So she needs Rose's help to avoid this marriage.

Duncan "Duck" McMurray has grown up with Rose. From the first moment they met, the two have been at odds with each other. At the same time, they've always have each other's back as well. When Duncan learns that Rose is coming to Austin, he makes it his responsibility to check up on her and make sure she is safe. As she wears the same family name as him, Rose could be a target for people who have a grudge against Duncan... And this possibility becomes a real eventuality when criminals from Duncan's latest case escape jail...

My Opinion: As you know, I'm not a huge fan of western romance; however, I am a big fan of Ms Thomas :) As a result, I've read quite a few books in the Whispering Mountain series and am familiar with the characters and the series. I actually wasn't aware of Wild Texas Rose's release, but when I found out that it was Rose and Duncan's book, there was no doubt I was going to get my hand on it! I loooove Duncan! LOL. Duncan first appeared as a little, wild boy in Texas Rain and I've really enjoyed seeing him grow into a man. So I was really looking forward to read his story. Unfortunately, I ended up having mixed feelings about Wild Texas Rose.

It's hard to review Wild Texas Rose because I cannot say I was disappointed with it. It was actually quite a good book... The problem is, it wasn't really Rose and Duncan's book as there were 3 additional couples to the story ^_^; All three couples had interesting romance and their presences actually fit seamlessly into the story of Wild Texas Rose. However, it doesn't change the fact that they took the focus away from Rose and Duncan and that's why I have mixed feelings. I actually really enjoyed reading about Rose and Duncan. They were great characters in my opinion; they have an interesting history together and great chemistry. Still, I wished Ms Thomas had focused on their romance more, fleshed it out a lot more. I understood the attraction between Rose and Duncan. After all, they've been frenemies since they were young LOL... but I thought the transition from "friends/cousins" to two persons in love wasn't well handled simply because it was too abrupt and seemed to come out of nowhere. For Duncan's story, I was expecting something more romantic... and Wild Texas Rose just wasn't it. Oh it was sweet and gentle and I loved that, but it wasn't enough and also, I felt Duncan was clumsy at times. The way he proposed to Rose to be together was very off-hand and casual. At the end, while Duncan loved Rose and knew her, I don't think he understood her totally. As for Rose, I really liked her character :) She was a lot stronger than people thought and I really liked her loyalty.

The other three couples in Wild Texas Rose were Killian and Victoria, Stitch and Hallie, Abe and Sara. All the couples were interesting and so their romance. As secondary characters and romances, they fulfill the job :) I especially liked Killian and Stitch's back story - it was very touching. While Abe and Sara's romance was very gentle and interesting, I thought it was a bit superfluous in Wild Texas Rose. Just because there were so many other romances in the book. I wouldn't have minded reading Abe and Sara's romance in another book perhaps.

Finally, the overall story of the book was really well done and very interesting. It was surprising how everything connected together :) As usual, everything would not have fit if it wasn't for Ms Thomas' writing :) I think if you're a fan of Ms Thomas, you definitively want to give Wild Texas Rose a try. If you're new to her books though, this might not be the best too start with.

My Grade: C+. Wild Texas Rose was not a bad book, it was actually quite good. However, it lacked focus and the romance suffered from it, hence the grade. Had there been more of Rose and Duncan, the book would have easily been a B read.