From the back cover:
The popular Coulter series takes an exciting new turn!
The year is 1889, and Rachel Hollister hasn't set foot outside her house in five years. Ever since a savage attack left her family dead, she's cordoned herself off from the outside world, afraid to let anyone into her home--or into her heart. But now trouble has appeared on her doorstep--and suddenly she has no choice but to let a handsome rancher invade her well-guarded esistence...
Confirmed bachelor Joseph Paxton grudgingly offers to take up temporary residence at the Hollister ranch--even though it's obvious Rachel doesn't want his protection. But once he catches a glimpse of his beautiful young ward and her remarkable spirit, he'll do anything to break through the dark spell that's walled off her heart. It may take a miracle, but he's determined to make her see the refuge he's offering in his embrace--and the splendor that exists beyond her front door. Otherwise he'll just have to build a safe haven big enough for the both of them...
And my review:
Wow! Wow, and wow again! This author is fabulous. With the high cost of books these days, I never buy books brand new - except for ones by this author. Then I rush to the bookstore as soon as they're released. Not once has this author let me down. Every single one of her books have been keepers.
This book was just wonderful. I devoured it in a weekend. I just couldn't put it down. This author has once again made wonderful characters that jump immediately into your heart and stay there. They were both loveable. He had his rough spots, but was basically a good guy--none of that domineering male garbage that you find so often in romance novels today. And while she was a woman imprisoned by fear, she was still a strong, couragous person, not a little mouse that you want to smack some sense into. (And, contrary to what most authors do with sheltered heroines, this one did not turn into a slut!) Not many authors could handle the issue of agoraphobia so well, but this one did it without being too preachy or silly.
This was a book that fully engaged the reader's emotions. I would be getting choked up one minute, and then be laughing out loud the next. And the mystery was very well executed. At least three times I thought that I had it all figured out. The answer seemed too obvious. But I was completely surprised when the mystery was solved (my instinct were off by a mile), which only served to make the story more enjoyable. I can usually see the big plot twists coming from a mile away, but this author had me fooled right up until the very end.
Another thing I liked about this book was that the mystery and the romance were in good balance. I often find that books with both will spend too much time developing the mystery and neglect the romance (or sometimes the other way around). But this author struck the perfect balance between the two themes, leaving me feeling satisfied when I turned that final page. Those not reading the entire series might feel left hanging by the epilogue, as the author used it to set up her next book. However, that's a mild complaint, as the rest of the book is so good as to outweigh it. Though this book is part of a series, I think that it can stand alone. The author also included a family tree chart in the beginning of the book, just in case a reader feels lost, but don't be overwhelmed - it's not necessary to commit it to memory in order to enjoy the story.
I don't give out many five star ratings. A book really has to earn it, but this one did. I highly recommend this book, as well as the other related books in the series, including (in order) "Keegan's Lady" (the prequel to this book), "Baby Love", "Phantom Waltz", "Sweet Nothings", "Blue Skies", "Bright Eyes" and "My Sunshine". The author has also promised at least four more books in the series - hooray!
If you're a fan of Native American Romance, I would also recommend this author's Comanche series, including (in order) "Comanche Moon", "Comanche Heart", "Indigo Blue" and "Comanche Magic". Though they are out of print and cost a bit more to get your hands on, they are definitely worth the money.
Keep 'em coming, Catherine!