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The Winds of Autumn

Winds of Autumn by Susan Rounds is an epic love story set against the backdrop of the construction of the greatest railroad in American history and the fight between the native tribes of America and the white man. After her sister’s death, the story’s heroine Mariah is married to Nathan Lawton, who she hopes will be her true love. The book shows the fragile place of a woman in society. Even though Mariah is born into privilege, her fate is tied to the men in her life. Her husband is living a secret double life. His mother, a Cherokee, was raped by a soldier, and he was the resulting child. This has inflicted a great wound on his psyche, causing his anger and grief to manifest in cruelty, hatred, and violence. Even though it is evident in his own way he loves Mariah, he is incapable of showing her love and building a relationship with her. Instead, he resorts to violence to get what he wants from her and subdue her.  

She meets Julian, an old family friend who harbors an unspoken love for her. Yet, despite her feelings toward him, she remains a dutiful wife as she is made to leave her home and make the journey west on the Oregon Trail toward Nathan’s new army posting. The book explores their fateful journey and the unraveling of her marriage. Julian, led by his love for Mariah, sets out West to find news of her as he fears she is in danger, and the fates of the three become intertwined with deadly consequences.  

I enjoyed this book. It was full of action, twists, and turns into an epic story of heartbreak and love. The characters are well-written and convincing. The writing captures the brutality of the trail west and the hardships emigrants and other travelers suffered as they tried to forge new paths ahead. Nathan’s relationship with Mariah is heartbreakingly portrayed as her innocence is destroyed by her marriage to him when she is still incredibly young.

I liked the historical fiction aspect of the novel. The construction of the transcontinental railroad provides a perfect backdrop for the story. The descriptions of the brutal landscape on the open plains match Mariah’s emotional turmoil as she journeys away from her home for the first time and deals with her husband’s wrath. I liked the story of Julian and Mariah as forbidden lovers. There were enough romantic scenes in the later part of the novel to keep romance lovers interested.  

Winds of Autumn is an emotionally riveting story that captures life during the western expansion days. For those who enjoy a historical romance novel with more than just a love story and will have them guessing about the direction each twist and turn brings, this book delivers.

Pages: 322 | ASIN : B0BQR1BTFQ

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Twist My Heart

Twist My Heart by author Brooke Taylor is the first book of the wicked games series. It narrates the story of a feisty fugitive trying her best to convince a retired Navy SEAL to help her and her dog.

Thea, or as Nik calls her, Tigger, suffers from amnesia, and the only thing she knows is that she’s on the run and must keep her dog Titan by her side. At first, the retired Navy SEAL is reluctant to help her, but he gives in. So they are on the run, trying to find out more about Thea’s past life and who’s looking for her. All the while, the sexual attraction between the two keeps on growing every minute they spend together.

Taylor’s descriptive writing style draws readers into the story and gives them the feeling they are on the run with Nik and Thea. Additionally, by incorporating both first and third-person points of view for the characters, readers will get a full view of the thoughts and actions that are occurring in this action-filled drama.

The book’s pacing is superb. There is never a dull moment between the on-the-run action and the building romance of Nik and Thea. In addition, the mystery of Thea’s identity as it unfolds is intertwined into the action and romance seamlessly. Altogether, this makes the novel engaging and fast-paced.

Character building is a strong element of Taylor’s writing. Thea is portrayed as a strong woman. However, I felt there were some scenes showing her as a damsel in distress that needed saving by strong warrior Nick. The instances where Thea did fight for herself were refreshing and exciting and more in line with the character that is built up by Taylor.

An interesting aspect of the story is Thea’s approach to amnesia, everything’s new to her, and she’s watching the world as if through a child’s eyes, giving the reader a unique point of view on everyday details that we usually don’t think about as we do them daily.

Twist My Heart is filled with heart-racing action scenes and steamy romance that will catch the attention of action and adventure readers and romance lovers. Watching the mystery of Thea’s identity and why she is on the run unfold will keep readers hooked from beginning to end.

Pages: 396 | ASIN : B08VJGQSKQ

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The Road Not Taken

The Road Not Taken is a novel written by E. A. Coe that tells the story of Ty and Seeney’s romance. The book opens with Ty, a US Marines pilot, attending his high school reunion and bumping into Siena, the once-popular girl and a recently divorced bookkeeper. Ty had always had a crush on her but had never pursued it. Together again, Ty and Siena realize that they both have always had feelings for each other and finally decide to give it a go after ten years apart. Ty and Siena’s love story follows where they have to overcome several realistic conflicts; navigating a long-distance relationship, interruptions from their careers, and problems with ex-lovers. Seeing their relationship develop despite these hurdles was incredibly satisfying and heart-warming. Overall, it’s a feel-good romance that will charm any who read it.

I loved the book’s setting the most and how the character’s played into it. It’s predominately set in West Virginia, including a quaint village called Woodstock, a real place that the author resides in. The descriptions were extraordinarily vivid but familiar, making the story feel comforting and nostalgic. Woodstock was the perfect “small rural town” trope- friendly locals, great eateries, and cute mountain trails. These parts were a pleasure to experience.

The author’s writing style is detail-oriented, which paints interesting characters and sceneries. However, I felt that it contains large stretches of exposition at the start of the book and a few points throughout. This exposition does make the story more realistic. An example of the detailed style that E.A. Coe uses is an explanation of a local water spring that a character drives past causally. The author gives readers its complete history of over 200 years. I did enjoy the detail of the main character’s backgrounds. It allowed me to really get to know them and develop a connection. They felt more evocative, and their hardships were more relatable.

The Road Not Taken is a lovely feel-good romance with a rich set of characters, action, and adventure, in a contemporary setting.

Pages: 285 | ASIN : B086K44WBQ

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