Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Great Western Drive: Maggie Osborne Lurve

Longtime readers of this blog know that I never miss an opportunity to whine about Maggie Osborne retiring. She published her last book in 2004, and happily rode off into the sunset to enjoy her golden years with her family. Pfft. Like her family needs her more than I do! Bah!

Ahem, anywho...

The big reason I'm such a Maggie Osborne zealot is that she wrote amazing characters. She also was an author who didn't insulted her readers' intelligence, she didn't pander, and she didn't take the easy way out in her stories. Even when I read an Osborne title I'm not madly in love with? (Yes, I've slapped a couple Osborne stories with Cs!), she still delivers rich, thought-provoking characters. Here are some of my favorites:

I Do, I Do, I Do (out of print, easy to find used) - I always recommend this book to Osborne newbies, or those who claim they don't like her other books because she wrote "tomboy" heroines. This book is charming, lighter in tone, and features 3 romances for the price of one. Three very different women (an heiress, a hard-working inn keeper, and a coal miner's daughter who wants a better life) find themselves wooed, wed, and swindled by the very same con men. They join forces, ultimately following him all the way to Alaska. Soon friendship, and romance, blossom for all three. But what about the con man? Full Super Librarian Review Here.

The Promise Of Jenny Jones (out of print, easy to find used) - Jenny Jones is a mule driver, buffalo skinner, and a condemned woman. She's sitting in a jail cell waiting on a firing squad when in walks a pretty senora who begs her to save her daughter. The wealthy woman is dying from consumption and knows her blood-thirsty family will surely kill the girl once she's gone. She asks Jenny because everyone knows, Jenny Jones always keeps her promises. Jenny no sooner spirits the girl (who incidentally hates her guts) away when she discovers the child's long-lost uncle hot on her tail. Full Super Librarian Review Here.

Prairie Moon (in print, available as ebook) - A gut-puncher of a story. Hero tracks down the widow of a man he killed in the Civil War, only to discover she's living in a ramshackle cabin, working in a saloon, and that she had to give up custody of her baby girl. Feeling he owes her an enormous debt, he decides he'll help her get her daughter back. This does have a happily-ever-after, but Osborne never sugar-coated her stories and this one deals with some very tough issues. When you read it, keep a box of Kleenex handy. And if you're a reader who needs absolutely everything to end shiny, happy rainbows? Yeah, maybe skip this one. Just sayin'. Full Super Librarian Review Here.

The Seduction of Samantha Kincade (out of print, hard to find) - A chick in pants story. Yes, I know most readers hate these, but Osborne avoids all the pitfalls that come with such stories. Mainly? The heroine really is living as a man. She's a bounty hunter looking for the asshole who raped and murdered her mother. She cuts her hair (no long flowing locks stuffed under a hat!) and wears men's clothing....always. The hero is also looking for the same asshole, who happens to be his half-brother. Not for a touching family reunion. Oh no. He wants to kill him. When he first lays eyes on the heroine? He thinks it's odd. Why is this chick walking into a saloon dressed as a man? I mean, isn't it obvious that she's a chick? Apparently not. He's the only saloon patron who seems to notice she doesn't have a penis. Stuff happens and they soon find themselves joining forces. A great read, but pretty hard to find. Full Super Librarian Review Here.

In the sake of full disclosure - I didn't put some well-loved Osborne books on this list because chances are I haven't read them. Yes, I still have several by her in Ye Olde TBR. And again? If you can't find copies of these, there's always your local library. And if they don't have it? ILL baby!


Anonymous said...

Yay Wendy!
Finally some western recs.
Unfortunately, most of it are hard to find
and there are no used books stores where
I'm from (far, far away from the U.S of A).
But thanks anyway.


azteclady said...

Silver Lining.

People who haven't read Ms Osborne must read Silver Lining--they'll become forever fans.

No, seriously, they MUST.

LoriK said...

I hate chick in pants stories, but I might have to check this one out. I think I could like a book where the hero looks at the heroine and thinks "Are you people blind?" instead of "Oh noes, have I been infected with teh ghay?".

Barbara said...

Okay, I'm the worst. I've NEVER read any of these!! If what AL is saying is true, then I really need to get my hands on a book by Ms Osborne.

Wendy said...

Arani: Be sure to check out my post from yesterday - which also features recommendations.

Are Mills & Boon books easy to get where you are? If so, many of my recommendations from yesterday have been reprinted by M&B. The St. John came out in June 2008, the Albright in June 2009 and the Hart in October 2006. Also, the Albright is available as an ebook on the M&B site.

You also might want to check out, which is a book exchange service that has worldwide members.

AL: I know, I know. Silver Lining is one of the Osborne books still in my mammoth TBR.

LoriK: I totally "get" why some readers don't like Chick In Pants stories, but Osborne really avoids the most annoying pitfall. The hero knows instantly, the moment he lays eyes on the heroine that "he" is really a "she." So no "Oh noes I've been infected with teh ghay!" LOL

Barbara: I think you would really like I Do, I Do, I Do.

Lusty Reader said...

nope, never read a single one

also, exsqueeze me?!?!?! "A chick in pants story. Yes, I know most readers hate these" NO NO NO NO NO

they are my favorite of all favorites! damn and blast, now i know how you felt when your western's were much maligned.

Wendy said...

Lusty Reader: There, there. We all have our crosses to bear :-)

Anonymous said...

Wendy, yeah I can order Mills and Boon from our
local bookstore. But Cheryl St. John's is not available
from our regional (Asia) supplier. Boo.
Although Maggie Osborne, I can find.
And thanks for the tip, I'll check out
Bookmooch ASAP.


Kristie (J) said...

I KNOW I've read I Do, I Do, I Do and Prairie Moon is sounding familiar - I checked and I have it. I also have The Brides Of Prairie Gold on my spreadsheet - is that one of her books? And I also know I've read The Woves of Bowie Stone (or something similar

Karen W. said...

Maggie Osborne is/was my favorite western romance writer, hands down! My favorite of hers is actually a book most people don't mention - THE BEST MAN.

I also adored all the others, from THE WIVES OF BOWIE STONE, to THE PROMISE OF JENNY JONES to I, DO, I, DO, I DO.

Anyone who hasn't read her, please do yourself a favor and give her a try! All of Maggie Osborne's books are worth picking up.

sybil said...

Arani we are trying to note if the books are in e, are you able to get ebooks?

So odd and sad you can't get Cheryl St.John but can others. Wendy and Kristie have been rocking the rec's I should get some up tomorrow.

Plus we will have upcoming books that will be easier for you.

Wendy you know I have read one book one this list and I think 2 or 3 Osborne books tops.

I will have to check and see if I have Silver Lining.

Lusty LOL u must let us know if you like it!

novelnelle said...

I'm coming out of lurkdom to say how much I'm enjoying the great western drive. Westerns are also my favourite sub genre and I wish they'd make a comeback. I just realized after reading your post that I have six books by Maggie Osborne in my TBR pile and I've never read her. It looks like I'm going to be moving some books to the top of the pile very soon!

Joy said...

OK, I admit it. I have a sneaky kind of soft spot for the Chick in Pants formula but have to ignore my common sense who say most women can't pass for men or even boys too readily. (Yes, yes, I know that some did it during the Civil
War but mostly they were straping farm girls who were hauling bales of hay around and doing mostly masculine stuff already. Few beautiful heroines quality.)

LOVE, LOVE that the hero sees through the disguise and no one else does. Nice twist. I'll have to keep my eye out for it.

Wendy said...

Kristie: Both the Brides of Prairie Gold and the Wives of Bowie Stone are in Ye Olde TBR Mountain. Seriously. I'm sick.

Karen: There's a reader on one of my e-mail loops who I have known for years and her very favorite Osborne is The Best Man! She loves that book. And naturally, it's in my TBR. Sigh. I need help.

Sybil: I think e-format is dicey to get for most overseas readers. There are restrictions that prohibit them - which really sucks ass IMHO.

My list of upcoming westerns (that I want, naturally) is going live on Friday.

Novelnelle: Wow! 6! You're in for a treat!

Joy: That honestly made the book for me. The hero knows INSTANTLY that the heroine is a woman. And he thinks it's really odd that nobody else seems to notice, or if they do, they don't care. It's hard to find, but definitely worth tracking down. I should check the numbers in OCLC. I'm thinking it's a good candidate for ILL.....

robynl said...

I love Westerns.

Prairie Moon sounds like an awesome adventure and read.


Maureen said...

Prairie Moon is an amazing book and if I'm thinking of the right book it has an ending I never saw coming.