Saturday, October 17, 2009

On Secondary Characters: The Lone Texan by Jodi Thomas

Tribute to Secondary Characters: Bonnie and her Cowboy

It's indisputable. There are times when secondary characters can make the difference between a good book and a great one. They can take over a story and obliterate the main characters and in some cases they can even spoil the story. Then there are those wonderful times when secondary characters are so well developed and the writer weaves them into the story so well that they make the story richer and truly complete. Yes, without those secondary characters that particular story would never be the same. But do we really give them credit?

As with supporting characters in movies, we don't necessarily focus on their stories when reviewing a book. Yes, they usually get an honorable mention. Are they well developed? Do they have something to contribute? Are they a detriment or a weakness to the story? Did we love them? But, do they have their own story to tell?

In The Lone Texan by Jody Thomas there's a secondary romance worth mentioning, the story of Bonnie and her "Cowboy." Although the central love story in this book is certainly worth reviewing and deserves to have the main focus as it did in the book, this secondary romance touched me and I thought to give it more than just an honorable mention. I thought I'd share it with you.

Bonnie is a nurse from Boston who having nothing left there has decided to travel to Texas with our heroine Dr. Sage McMurray Lander. When Bonnie's parents died, they left everything to her brother with the condition that he would care for her. He ignored their wishes and she basically found herself destitute. Having cared for her sick parents, Bonnie decided to do the only thing she knew and dedicated her life to nursing. While working in the Boston hospital, she met Sage and became not only her personal nurse, but a friend as well.

Bonnie is a six-foot, plain looking spinster, with a wonderful gift for nursing, but in the surface not much else. She's never had a relationship with a man and is too shy to really speak to males. She is basically invisible to them and she knows it. When we first meet her, Sage and Bonnie have just arrived in Galveston, Texas and are making their way to their hotel. Sage almost gets killed by a carriage while trying to save a dog and a cowboy accidentally whacks Bonnie from behind with a sack of feed. He very politely apologizes, but she just stands there and doesn't say a word. He is as tall as she is... and that's notable for her, as she is a very tall woman.

In the following days, we see a Bonnie who lives up to our expectations of her character. She is the very epitome of all that is sensible. The perfect nurse, a loyal, protective friend and a woman of insight... even if she is scared of what she sees as a wild place, so different from Boston.

As Sage and Bonnie decide to leave Galveston and go on to Sage's family ranch, escorted by our hero Drummond Roak, Sage decides to say her good byes in person to her dead husband's brother -- a man of questionable character. Bonnie advises sending him a note, but Sage insists on going in person. The man's place of business is a disreputable gambling place in Galveston's docks and as they approach, they note men with guns disembarking from a boat -- they go in anyway -- not the smartest of moves, but again that was Sage's decision.

The first thing Bonnie notes when they enter is that the tall cowboy who whacked her on the streets was sitting at the bar. As Sage goes in to say her good byes to her brother-in-law, all hell breaks loose as the place gets held up. Bonnie's cowboy comes to the rescue, pulls her out of the bar throws her on his horse and rides away with her, saving her life. But things are not as simple as they seem, and as he continues to ride she realizes that he's kidnapping her too. Her adventure is about to begin.

The story of Bonnie and her Cowboy is not a long-drawn one, and in the surface doesn't seem to be a very deep one. They spend a night full of danger together that will change their lives forever. Their relationship begins on shaky ground and Bonnie is not sure weather to be grateful or terrified.

"You'll be safe here," he said as he lowers her to her feet.

"Safe!" she said, trying not to wobble. "I was safe in Boston. I was safe in Galveston.... How am I safe in here with a man who'll probably ravish me or kill me at any moment?"

The giant stood and stared down at her. "I vote for the ravishing. I've never done it with a woman I thought could take my weight before." A grin grew slowly across a face that hadn't seen a razor in a week.

Bonnie Faye did a second thing she'd never done before: she fainted.
During that one night so many things happen to these two characters. They find out things about each other and about themselves that are more than unexpected.
...."You know, once I heard a woman say that she had a lover that moved over her like warm summer storm. She said it only lasted a night, but the memory was burned into her thoughts forever. I never understood what she meant until you moved over me." ....
And later...
...."Did you feel the storm? he asked.

"Yes," she answered and felt his arms tighten. "And it was a thousand times more than I thought it would be."
This is a story of two people who didn't think they had anything to offer others and expected nothing for themselves, and yet found something in each other that was sweet and true. I don't know quite why their simple story touched me so much, but at the end of the book I believed these two people could and would make it out there in the west. If anyone could survive that harsh life with love and determination, I thought this couple could do it -- and that's what reading romance is all about, isn't it? That belief.

I have nothing but good wishes of a happy life for Bonnie and her Cowboy.

You can visit Jodi Thomas here.

This book is part of the Western Historical Romance "Whispering Mountains" series:
Texas Rain
Texas Princess
Tall, Dark and Texan
The Lone Texan


  1. Bonnie and her Cowboy sound like two interesting characters. Bonnie is the type of character that has so much more to offer than what's on the surface. Makes for an engaging story, finding out what's underneath.

    This makes me think of Suzanne Brockmann's Out of Control. The h/h are SEAL Kenny "Wildcard" Karmody and Savannah von Hopf and while I thought they were okay the secondary characters of Molly and Jones for me were far more interesting. I was really hoping they would get their own book but they didn't. :(

    Hope you're feeling better. :)

  2. I just got this one from Holly for review. I can't wait to read it now. Did you read the others in this series?

  3. Leslie, you hit the nail on the head, that was Bonnie. The main story was really very engaging and I liked it, but I too wished that these two characters had their own book. The story was told well enough that I fell in love them. :)

    Tracy, I look forward to your review of the entire book. There are so many quotable moments in it. Especially when it comes to Drum's unrelenting love for Sage. I hope you enjoy it. :)

    I did not read the others in the series, but I will be.


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