Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Great Western Drive: The HH Round-Up

It's a poorly kept secret that I love me some Harlequin, and my absolute favorite line from them is Harlequin Historical. One of the big reasons for this love and devotion is that they consistently publish westerns and have some very, very fine authors writing them. So today I thought I would highlight some of my favorite Harlequin Historical western titles. Here it goes:


Prairie Wife by Cheryl St. John (out of print, easy to find used) - Cheryl St. John is a marvelously consistent writer. I still have some of her backlist unread in the TBR (mostly the "early years") but so far I haven't encountered a single "dud" from her. I'm picking this one because it happens to be my favorite. It's a marriage in trouble story, which I'm normally not a huge fan of, but this one ripped my heart out. After their toddler son dies in an accident, the heroine closes herself off emotionally and the hero falls into a whiskey bottle. St. John writes with heartbreaking subtlety and you believe this happily-ever-after. Full Super Librarian Review Here.


Outlaw Bride by Jenna Kernan (out of print, easy to find used, available as ebook) - Kernan writes fantastic "frontier-style" westerns, where often times the setting provides some of the conflict. Heroine is desperate to rescue her family, who are trapped in the mountains thanks to a winter storm. The hero is the only guy capable and crazy enough to help her. Unfortunately he's currently in jail for stealing the mayor's horse and is set to hang. Oh well. She'll just have to break him out of jail won't she? Full Super Librarian Review Here.




The Rebel And The Lady by Kathryn Albright (in print, available as ebook) - I'll be blunt. I'm featuring this book because I want my army of minions to grow. I loved this book. I think Sybil liked it. Kristie? Yeah, not so much. This story takes place at The Alamo. Yeah, makes you wonder if the author can pull off the happily ever after doesn't it? This is a bit of an odd duck for me. It's a very hero-centric story, and I am normally All About The Heroine. Hero is only in Texas looking for his wayward brother, when he suddenly finds himself at The Alamo just as Santa Anna's troops are rolling in. It's there that he meets the heroine, a blue-blood who is bound by loyalty and honor. Full Super Librarian Review Here.

The Horseman by Jillian Hart (out of print, easy to find used, available as ebook) - Again, I know I'm usually All About The Heroine, but I seriously want to lick this hero from head to toe. Yummers! Heroine is married to an asshole who likes to beat her in his spare time. When she miscarries their daughter, he throws her out on her ass because 1) she was pregnant with a useless girl and 2) the miscarriage has left her barren. She literally crawls home to her unfeeling bitch of a mother and a stepfather whose only concern is that his stepdaugther has ruined the family reputation. No, I'm not making any of this up. The hero is a horse trainer working for the Asshole Step-Daddy. He's shy, and feels he's not worthy of the heroine, but circumstances soon throw them together. Full Super Librarian Review Here.

I know most of these are out of print, but look how many of them are available as ebooks! And if you don't have a good used bookstore in your area, and you don't do ebooks? There's always your local library. If they don't have any of these titles, be sure to ask the librarian about ILL.

What's on tap for tomorrow? Yep, more recommendations.

31 comments:

Katiebabs a.k.a KB said...

What about some of Sarah McCarty's westerns? Her's may be a bit more erotic in nature but I have enjoyed a majority of them.

Wendy said...

Kate: McCarty is writing her Hell's Eight books for Harlequin, but they're for the Spice line. These are all books published under the Harlequin Historical banner :)

azteclady said...

I remember starting the Albright one, on the strength of your recommendation--and I have to confess that I couldn't get too much into it.

Perhaps because I was taught history from the other side, but I was mightily annoyed early on. May give it another try soon.

JenB said...

Ooooooh, the Horseman has been on my PBS reminder list for months now, and I've just been waiting for the perfect time to order it.

I guess that time is now. Thanks for the nudge. :)

Kate Diamond said...

Ooh! Westerns! A sub-genre I have ignored for far too long (having taken several history classes on the topic, I find myself VERY picky in my reading).

Wendy said...

AL: One thing about the Albright that I liked is that she featured Hispanic characters who wanted a free Texas and wanted Santa Anna to get the hell out. In US history classes we get a lot of Davy Crockett and Sam Houston, not so much the Mexicans that fought for the exact same cause. Also I liked that the heroine's family could trace their blue-blood all the way back to Spain.

JenB: Get it. Read it. Love it. LOL

Kate: That's sort of my problem with English-set historicals. I have a fairly useless degree in British History, and the Regency has never been my favorite time period in that country's history (sorry folks!). So when the massive glut of Regency historicals was in full force, I got burnt out rather quickly. After a lengthy starvation diet though, I'm starting to pick them back up.

But *sigh*, I do love the Victorian era. Can't get enough of those :)

Cheryl St.John said...

Smooches, Wendy! Prairie Wife really was a book of my heart, and I almost didn't get to write it, but the wonderful editors at HH caught my vision early on, and told me as long as I didn't kill any children on the pages, I could do it. LOL

I had a lot of reader mail from people who connected.

Tania said...

Thanks for the recs, I've been wanting to read some historical westerns but didn't know where to start. And that they're available as e-books is a bonus.

Tracy said...

Funny, I don't normally buy westerns on a reg. basis but I really do like them when I read them. You've got me intrigued with a couple of your choices - especially The Horseman. Thanks chickie. :)

Wendy said...

Cheryl: It's hard to pick just one book by you - but Prairie Wife wins for me. Kristie has recommended Joe's Wife, which is also another favorite of mine.

Tania: I'm including ebook information on all my recommendations this week, so keep taking notes :)

Tracy: I'm a big ol' marshmallow when it comes to Beta heroes, and Dillon Hennessey in The Horseman gets me every single time.

nath said...

It's interesting that all of these have full SuperLibrian reviews :) I think that's a telling sign.

Wendy said...

Nath: LOL! When Sybil, Kristie and I were talking over what books to recommend they were like, "Why not this one? Why not that one?" I purposely only recommended books that I blogged about (somewhere) with either full reviews or half-assed ones. I left some of my very favorite books off because I've never done official "reviews" for them :(

I really need to find the time to reread and correct that issue.

Kate R said...

you're the one who got me started reading Maggie Osborne. Her stuff's unavailable new but they were pretty cheap used a couple years ago, anyway.

And I still want more Teresa Bodwells westerns to read (and not just because she's a friend).

Kate R said...

oh oops. You are only listing the Harlequins?

Wendy said...

Kate: I want to read more Teresa Bodwell books too! They're reprinting the My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys anthology early next year. I'm hoping that gives her a bit of a boost.

LOL - and no worries. It's all Harlequin Historical today, but I have non-Harlequin recommendations coming up tomorrow and Thursday.

Emily said...

I adore St. John. She doesn't shy away when things get tough for her characters and I haven't found a dud either.

I also happen to like early Carolyn Davidson.

And I have to try the Horseman. I love the shy hero deal.

Kristie (J) said...

Emily: If you like a shy hero then you simply HAVE, HAVE, HAVE to read The Way Home by Megan Chance!! Have to, have to, have to. Really - I insist - you MUST. He is so shy with the heroine and SO unable to express himself it just about breaks your heart.
Dang!! I'm going to have to read this one again myself now.

Liza said...

All new books for me to try. I enjoy reading Westerns, but have gotten away from it lately. Will have to add some of this week's suggestions to my TBR list.

Wendy said...

Emily: St. John is probably my most consistent western writer. So far none of her books have rated below a B- for me. I still have several by her in the TBR, but it's mostly her early work I've got left.

Kristie: You're killing me with the Megan Chance talk. Do you know how long The Way Home has been in my TBR? It's embarrassing.

Liza: We'll have lots of suggestions for you to comb through. I just got back from visiting Kristie's blog and she's spotlighting authors at the moment.

Rosie said...

Well, I've read both the St. John (I'm a big fan now all because of you dear SL) and the Kernan and enjoyed them very much. I still have the Albright but have picked it up 3 times and couldn't get hooked.

But I'm way excited about the Jillian Hart that's in my tbr as we speak. I'm positive I only have it because of you.

nath said...

In that case, Wendy, I believe you should make a list of westerns you love but didn't properly review. Just list them :)

Wendy said...

Rosie: Sigh. I'm really feeling like I'm all alone in the wilderness with that book. I need minions! LOL

Nath: I've been toying with the idea (for a while) to do blog posts on books that I have in my keeper stash. The only thing holding me back? I feel like I should reread them before posting. I'm not entirely sure that everything that's there will "stand the test of time." And dang, it's really hard for me to reread when I have such a mammoth TBR pile (or mountain range, as I like to call it).

Samanthadelayed said...

I have to admit that I never read westerns, but I do have two Kathryn Albright books in my "big crate o'Harlequin" I am going to have to give them a try.

Emily said...

Wendy and Kristie ~
So I went on Amazon this morning and ordered The Horseman and The Way Home. I love new/old books.

sybil said...

I will be posting an excerpt to Tucker's book and Spice is giving away a final copy of the book.

Should have that up tomorrow... I think it is in the email somewhere.

I am verra excited Spice is doing westerns or at least open to them! Love your HH list and have shamelessly copied the idea.

Oddly my St.John and Kernan book isn't the same. And I am going back and forth on The Horseman! It is a book I rec almost as much as the Kernan but I am trying to not double us.

I adored many of the early Carolyn Davidson too! I didn't notice until early this year when I was rereading some of them how connected a few where because it isn't noted.

JenB get Albright's next book *g*.

Wendy said...

Samantha: I hope you like The Rebel And the Lady. I need minions! LOL I just downloaded Albright's September release this past week and I'm really looking forward to it.

Emily: I really, really need to read The Way Home. I've had it in my TBR for an embarrassingly long time.

Sybil: It is hard to choose just ONE St. John, because she's so consistent.

And I will not tell you how many of Carolyn Davidson's HH titles I have in my TBR. It's really.....well, it's really shameful.

Aemelia said...

love sarah McCarty's westerns! I really need to pick up a western, I'm sick of Regency England!

Wendy said...

Aemelia: I think most readers can benefit from a "pallet cleanser." As much as I love westerns, I also don't want to read them non-stop, back to back. I need to mix it up a bit. So if you're getting a little burnt on England? Definitely consider a western!

robynl said...

Prairie Wife is what I should read; it sounds awesome and hope there is a HEA(need to find out).

yourstrulee(at)sasktel(dot)net

Maureen said...

Cheryl St. John is one of my favorite western romance writers. The Tenderfoot Bride is my favorite book by her.

Kytaira said...

Prarie Wife sounds like a gut-wrenching read. I put it on my TBB list.
Thanks!