44 of 52 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Let me just say - I love Western romances. Usually they have heroines who are spunky, heroes who are tortured but adorable, and storylines fraught with drama without being overly intense. This story was sadly lacking a great hero, and as a result it was terribly disappointing.
Low Down, aka Louise Downe, has led a rough life. She's an orphaned woman who has been living on her own since she was a kid, and has been doing this without compromising her values. She is the only person in a mining town in Colorado willing to tend a bunch of sick men, and if she hadn't they'd have all died of the pox. Thus, when they offer her anything she wants as a reward, and she says she wants a baby, one of them must marry her to give her her wish. However, because Low Down has been tending for their sick butts and mining for quite a while, she's a mess when all this happens, and no one wants to marry her, least of all the guy she gets hitched to.
Max, the guy that marries Low Down, is actually a visiting rancher who has led a pretty good life and wants to return to it ASAP, not marry the haggardly Low Down. Plus Max is a little ...[mad] because he was supposed to marry this manipulative, vapid woman back home named Philadelphia. So, Max loves Philly (for some ungodly reason), but he felt honor-bound to marry Low Down.
My problems with this storyline were many. First, Loise/Low Down has been tending to these men for a while but yet none of them gives her the benefit of the doubt. Everyone, including the hero, assumes she's a hag. This does not endear the hero to the reader at all -- apparently in this world it's more important that you look cute than that you are a kind, compassionate, honorable person. Second, Max is so upset for so long with his marriage to Louise that I ended up not liking him. He insists on seeing only her faults, and misses all of her wonderful qualities, and he does this *so often* that I questioned his judgment. Third, Max showed horrid judgment by falling for the manipulative Philadelphia in the first place. How could he not have seen that she is all show and no substance? Finally, it takes the book so long to get to the time when Max does start realizing how wonderful Louise is, and when he does so the book zooms past this revelation to the mystery/suspense angle, that it's hard to really believe in the supposed love story. Max had been such a jerk for so long - thinking the worst of Louise and not protecting her from an initially suspicious family and a mean ex-fiance - that I wanted him to have a moment of clarity, and then to repent, and to have to work for Louise's affections. Instead, the book glosses over this aspect of the story, and left me wanting.
Maybe what went wrong with this book was that the author made the heroine so eminently likable and compassionate that anyone who wasn't able to pick up on this seemed either mean or stupid. I kept thinking - if she's so great, and he's so great, why can't he *see* how great she is? It's too bad that this is what happened, because this is how the hero came off in the end, and I ended up not liking the book as a result.