And yes, I freely admit, what drew me to this novel was primarily a) the word "gunman" and b) the train on the cover, with a dash of c) pretty dress (I'm no expert on Victorian fashion so I'm hard-pressed to discern the accuracy).
They were running from the past...and looking for a new beginning
Bart Kingsley had followed her to New Mexico, ready to lay his love--and his life--on the line. But spirited Laura Rose had made a fresh start for herself. She hadn't left her controlling father in Kansas to let some gun-slinging outlaw ruin her hopes--no matter what scandalous past they shared six years ago. Or how his green eyes beckoned!
Rosie was his light in the darkness--Bart would do anything to win back her trust. But he was a wanted man. Would the past, with its dangerous demands and debts, conspire to destroy their new beginning? Or would his faith in God--and in Rosie--be rewarded?
The majority of the conflicts can be summed up by Bart's line: "It's not other people who come between us, Rosie. It's us. We keep tearing this thing apart. Why? Why do we do that?"
So if you love romances based around misunderstandings and distrust, this is your kind of book.
2 things I liked:
*The male lead is actually half-blooded Native American. (I do think it's a bit sad that of the books I won, it's the only one that doesn't depict the male lead, which makes me wonder if they worry about what their audience might think about a non-white male lead...)
*I was surprised to find that quite a few minor characters were based on or inspired by historical figures--there was more research here than I'd expected.
2 things I found a touch peculiar:
*At one point in the book there are numerous wanted posters for our green-eyed, half-blooded Native American hero Bart. I would have thought the townspeople would instantly recognize Bart from the description, but they didn't seem to. So I would've liked to see that issue more clearly addressed. Were men with those features actually fairly common in 1880s New Mexico? Or were the townspeople going easy on Bart and I missed it?
*Bart's obsession with Rosie's feet made me squirm (mercifully, that obsession seems to wane). Now, in fairness, I do believe the legs were considered indecent in Victorian times (I've even heard that instead of saying "leg" they would have to say "limb" or "extremity" to be proper!). But that doesn't mean I didn't find it uncomfortable.
1 more thing I liked:
*Bart's literal answer to Rosie's prayer near the end, which hearkened back to the very beginning of the book with the near-climax, made me laugh out loud in delight. Given that I'm not huge on romances, that was pretty good.
*FTC disclosure--I WON this book and didn't pay a thing for it, not even shipping. Though I still try not to pull my punches.