Historical Western Romance
Runaway Brides Series/Book 2
Berkley/January 3, 2012
After only three letters and one visit during her six-year marriage to a Scottish Cavalry Officer, Maddie Wallace decides to build a life without him. Accepting an assignment from a London periodical to photograph the West from a female perspective, she sails from England, determined to build a new life as an independent woman.
After injury ends his military career, Angus Wallace returns home to find his wife gone, his family decimated by fever, and himself next in line to an earldom. His new mission is clear--find his wife and sire heirs. His search takes him across an ocean and half a continent, but he finally tracks her to Heartbreak Creek, Colorado. There his biggest challenge awaits--to convince his headstrong wife to return home as his viscountess.
Amidst statehood struggles, claim jumping, and railroad disputes their passionate battle rages...until word comes that Angus has become the earl. Now they must decide between a life in the mountains of Colorado, or in the glittering ballrooms of London...and between duty and desire.
Since reading Heartbreak Creek (book 1) I've been curious about Maddie Wallace and what drove her to Colorado. We're told she is there to take pictures of the American West but why is she willing to go so far from home and who is she running from? We find the answers and the romance in the second book of this wonderful western series.
Maddie Wallace doesn't think of herself as a quitter but a woman can only take so much rejection. Maddie left her homeland for America after being left adrift by an absentee husband. She felt there was no reason to stay and grabbed the opportunity to pursue her love of photography. Maddie is enjoying her new life in Colorado, making friends and establishing a career. Then her past comes roaring back in the form of her lost but not forgotten husband. Immediately we see the chemistry between Maddie and Angus. There is also tension, anger and sadness. Maddie's conflict is well written, showing the conflict between her love of photography and her love of her husband. She doesn't think she can have both and she's afraid Angus only wants her out of duty, not love.
Angus Wallace has come a long way, literally. Across the Atlantic, then crossing a large part of America, all to find his wife. But is is duty or love that drives him? Sometimes I don't think even Angus was certain of the answer. He takes his new role of Earl as he does everything else, seriously and with a great sense of duty. In order to fulfill his role as Earl he needs to provide a heir, that's where the wife part comes in. :) Angus thinks he only needs to tell Maddie to come home and she will. Oh, Angus, you poor fool! Instead he finds he needs to do some serious convincing and in the convincing is reminded why he fell for Maddie in the first place.
Maddie and Angus' romance isn't the standard fare. He's consumed with duty, she with independence. What it all comes down to is love. How much and how far are they're will to go for love. There are tender moments and humorous moments that gave me hope for these two. The thing about the romance is that Angus doesn't just fall in love again with Maddie, he also falls in love with Colorado which allows him to understand Maddie and her need to stay much better. I really enjoyed the conflict Maddie and Angus went through between what their hearts want and what they feel obligated to do. Warner made me believe in their final decisions rather it being the forgone conclusion.
The story isn't just about Maddie and Angus but also the good friends Maddie has made in Colorado. They are skeptical about Angus but eventually welcome him into the fold. Declan, his wife Ed and their children, mysteriously wealthy Lucinda Hathaway and schoolteacher Prudence and her protector the Cheyenne Dog Soldier, Thomas Redstone. I especially liked how Pru and Thomas' story evolved with more of their backstory given. It's a sweet romance of two people who have learned to fight for everything they have and must fight for their own HEA. A lovely secondary romance, worth the pages devoted to it's development.
With an unknown enemy causing trouble, the politics for statehood and the great big west, Colorado Dawn is more than just a romance, it's an adventure.
Runaway Brides Series ~
Bride of the High Country