Fanciful Reader

a book blog about romance and more. . .

TBR Challenge 2011: Wanton in the West

TBR Challenge 2011–Theme: Western Romance

I have quite a few westerns in my TBR pile and had a hard time deciding what to read for this months challenge. I really wanted to read Color of the Wind by Elizabeth Grayson. I couldn’t get into it because 1) I’m spoiled by my unscented e-reader and my used copy smelled kind of musty and 2) I couldn’t get past the heroine’s name, Ardith. No matter how hard I try I can’t associate Ardith with a woman under 80.

In the end, a novella won out because of lack of time. My excuse this time? It’s my son’s fifth birthday tomorrow (how did that happen?). We’re having a small party with family and a bigger party with his friends after Easter.

That’s it for the top half of the excuse sandwich, now on to the review.

Wanton in the West by Lisa Plumley

Synopsis from the publisher:
Arizona Territory, 1884

Everyone in the small town of Morrow Creek knows that Adeline has been sweet on Clayton Davis for years—and that he still hasn’t proposed! While Adeline reluctantly waits for her man, Clayton is falsely accused of being a thief and the sheriff is hot on his tail. Now Adeline has to do everything in her power to stop him leaving town, even if she has to be positively indecent to make Clayton stay by her side—and in her bed….

Adeline’s best friend, Violet, tries to persuade Clayton to leave town to avoid prosecution for the crime he’s falsely accused of committing. Her theory is that “absence makes the heart grow fonder” and that he’ll be motivated to propose to Adeline after spending some time away from her.

Adeline convinces Clayton to stay in her empty farmhouse after he comes across her bathing in the pond and she “accidentally” falls in and they’re both soaking wet. Clayton reveals at this point that he’s been trying to save more money before proposing so that he can support Adeline in luxury and style, and as a humble sawmill worker, this is taking time. At this point I’m totally on his side and don’t understand Adeline’s motivation for trying to seduce him.

After spending a few days in Adeline’s house (much of it in bed) she reveals to Clayton how the whole town had been talking about the fact that he had strung out their courtship so long. Violet and the sheriff show up and they clear up the big misunderstanding.

Wanton in the West seemed like it would work well as a novella because of a few things:
-It’s set in a fictional town, Morrow Creek, that was introduced in previous books
-it’s about an established couple so they don’t have to waste story time getting to know each other

But what didn’t work so well is that I couldn’t sympathize with the heroine and her desire to be married–or sleep with Clayton–or both? I was confused about her motives. Also it involved big misunderstandings that could have been cleared up with a few simple, heartfelt conversations.

This brings me to a drawback of novellas–it’s taken me longer to write this post than it did to read the whole book!

Now tell me, if you read westerns, what is your favorite title and why?

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  1. April was a busy month for me, too. Right down to the the birthday stuff!. My TBR post went up nearly a week late.

    Ardith? Yeah, that’s an old lady name for sure. I guess because it’s old fashioned. And probably appropriate to the time period. But still…ugh.

    I’m still not a big fan of western historicals, but I might be able to make it through a novella. Maybe.

  2. Amber, this wasn’t my favorite in the Undone line. I really enjoyed a couple that I read by Elaine Golden–both Regencies–and am glad that she’s working on another novella and a full-length novel.
    I usually prefer historical westerns over modern for some reason, though I don’t like the overuse of Western dialects (“iffen” and all that). Cheryl St John is one of my favorite authors in this genre.