Gambling man Lewton Paterson wants to marry into a respectable family. After fleecing a train ticket, Lewt makes his way to Whispering Mountain. But seducing a well-bred woman is hard, and Lewt realizes that to entice a McMurray sister, he'll need to learn a thing or two about ranching-and love.Texas Blue by Jodi Thomas is the fifth installment in her Whispering Mountain western historical romance series, however I'll preface my review by saying that for those who have not read the previous books, this can easily be read as a stand alone.
Ranger Duncan McMurray's uncle Teague placed him in charge of making sure three eligible men from respectable families would arrive safely at Whispering Mountain in the hopes that his three daughters would marry. Unfortunately at the last minute Duncan rushes to Mexico with the Texas Rangers on a mission, and the prospective grooms must make their way to Whispering Mountain by train on their own.
After seeing his friend Duncan off and joking about courting at Whispering Mountain himself, gambler Lewton Paterson knows that he's not the type of man who would be welcomed there. Lewt, however, has impossible, personal dreams of having a wife, a real home and a family... a normal life that he's never experienced. He decides to take a gamble and with little hope and a lot of dreaming takes the place of one of the chosen men on the train.
Emily McMurray is in charge of the ranch while her parents are away and resents having strangers thrust upon her and her sisters. She's too busy to entertain men and since she won't ever marry anyway, why bother? Em and her sisters, Rose and Beth, hire a friend to take her place so she can to run the ranch in peace. However, she doesn't get away cleanly. Thinking she's a hired hand, Lewt asks Em to help him understand ranch life so he can court one of the McMurray sisters with more ease. She does! Oh... she's relentless and tough as she puts this greenhorn through the paces of ranch life. It was fun to read how he struggles, and yes... I did feel for him too. Poor Lewt!
I must say that this part of the book is my favorite. Em and Lewt become reluctant friends through this time. He's not really attracted to her as a woman, as she's really a plain woman who dresses like a man, and Em is afraid of men due to childhood trauma. However, Em can't help but admire Lewt's persistence, kindness and understanding and in the end he wins her trust, and in comparing Em to the other women, Lewt can't help but admire her personally, period. My favorite scenes are Lewt and Em's conversations on the porch swing, Lewt teaching Em how to kiss so she'll know how it feels, and Lewt holding Em's hand. How sweet are those scenes?
Unfortunately the whole story doesn't take place on the ranch. There's a rush to rescue Duncan in Mexico, and the story alternates at some points between Duncan's dire situation and Em and Lewt's developing romance. As much as I enjoyed Lewt and Em's part in the rescue and the important part that played in the outcome of their romance, I'm afraid that for me Duncan's personal situation was distracting as a set-up for his story. I didn't enjoy his part of the story at all.
Texas Blue was a heartwarming romance. I loved Lewt Paterson. He broke my heart with his longing for a family and most of all for the way he loved his Em. And I loved that Em was a tough woman through and through who allowed herself to trust and be vulnerable for this one man. It's interesting and quite appropriate that there's really no graphic sex in this novel, yet it's not really necessary at all to feel the passion or the love between the two protagonists. I loved the way Jodi Thomas conveyed that part of the story.
Category: Historical Romance/Western
Series: Whispering Mountain, #5
Publisher/Released: Berkley-Penguin, April 5, 2011- Kindle Edition
Visit Jodi Thomas here.
Texas Rain, #1
Texas Princess, #2
Tall, Dark, and Texan, #3
The Lone Texan, #4
Texas Blue, #5