Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Review: Open Country

Open Country
Kaki Warner

Western Historical Romance
New Mexico Territory/1871

Blood Rose Trilogy/Book 2

Berkley Trade/June 2010

From the back cover ~

Molly McFarlane is as desperate as a woman can get - even one alone on the frontier. Forced to flee with her late sister's children, she must provide for her words while outrunning the relentless trackers their vicious stepfather has set on her trail. To secure their future, she marries a badly injured man, assuming that when he dies his insurance settlement will provide all they need. But there is one small problem.

The man doesn't die.

Hank Wilkins doesn't remember the train wreck that he barely survived - and he certainly doesn't remember marrying Molly. But he takes her home to his ranch, where Molly is quickly caught up in the boisterous Wilkins family. Molly knows little about caring for children, and even less about caring for a man - especially silent, brooding types like Hank. But even as Molly and Hank discover each other, the specter of the truth of Molly's past threatens to tear them apart - and doom both her and the children she must protect. . .

Book two in Kaki Warner's Blood Rose trilogy is middle brother Hank's story. He was the strong, silent type in the first book and he's fairly quiet this time around, except when Molly gets him riled up. Then Hank can be down right talkative. Molly and Hank together get the sparks flying after a rocky start.

Molly McFarlane is thrown into a situation she's completely unprepared for. She suddenly finds herself the guardian of her recently deceased sister's children. Good thing Molly is smart and resourceful because she seems to be having a run of bad luck. After the train Molly and the children are on derails, Molly finds herself lying to survive. She tries to use logic to excuse the lie but you can tell she doesn't want to lie. She feels she has to if she and the children are to have a chance at getting away from her pursuers. Molly is use to hard work and harsh conditions. She worked with her father, a surgeon, during the war and she's seen enough blood and suffering to last a lifetime. Now she's both waiting for a stranger to die and trying to save his life.

Hank Wilkins is a decent, honest, hard working man who wakes up from nearly dying to find himself married to a women he doesn't remember. Hank has questions for Molly, and Hank's brother Brady. They give him answers and convince him that Molly is his wife. Hank has no reason to think they are lying. I felt bad for Hank because Molly and Brady are deceiving him and believing them, he tries to be a good husband and step-father. He's such a good man and didn't deserve that from his brother. Hank begins to grow suspicious when his memory starts coming back and what he's told doesn't fit with what he remembers. By this point Molly has gotten under his skin and he's fallen for her.

Molly's still hiding from her brother-in-law and the men who are after her. She heads to the Wilkins' ranch with Hank and Brady, hoping she and the children will be safe there. It's here she gets to know the Wilkins family and starts to feel like she belongs. She and Hank live as thought they are married and Molly begins to feel guilt over her deception of Hank. Some readers may not agree with what Molly did, marrying a dying man and then lying to him when he doesn't die. In her situation, I can understand and even excuse it. I do think she should have told him once she realized what a good man he was and wouldn't kick her and the children out.

The suspense of Molly's pursuers keeps the tension high and the story moving with the mystery of what exactly her brother-in-law is after and why. There is also the additional drama of Jessica (heroine from book 1) and her risky pregnancy. Molly's doctoring skills are needed and we're shown how precarious life on the frontier can be.

Hank and Molly were an engaging couple with some major obstacles to over come. They both had moments of foolishness with Brady throwing in his questionable advice. The romance was sweet and tender at times. The interactions between Hank and Molly's niece and nephew were believable and added substance to the story.

The final book of the trilogy, Chasing the Sun, is the story of the youngest Wilkins brother, Jack and his adventures. It's due for release in January. I look forward to reading Jack's story and hope Ms. Warner continues to give us these wonderful western romances.

Rating: B+

Books in Trilogy

Pieces of Sky
Open Country
Chasing the Sun


  1. I have this on request via ILL, cause of course, my county doesn't have it. The closest? Wendy's OC libraries. Rock on, Wendy!

    Anyway, great review. I adored the first one, and can't wait to read this one.

  2. I really enjoyed this novel. Can't wait for the third book! Nice review, Leslie :)

  3. Lori ~ Yeah for Wendy's library, boo for yours. :( I was lucky & got both books from the library. Hope they get the 3rd also.

    Mary ~ Thanks Mary. :) Yes, after reading the excerpt I'm very curious about Jack and his heroine.

  4. Sounds like a good book :P I definitively need to keep my eye open for it! :P Good review, Les :P

  5. Nath ~ I've enjoyed both in the series. Warner's writing is very good/realistic to the setting.

  6. I highlighted this review -- I'm into westerns at the moment, so this book (and series) fits in. Great review, thanks Leslie. :)

  7. Hils ~ Oh, you're in for a treat with this series. Definitely recommend. :)