Thursday, November 5, 2009

Review: The Promise of Jenny Jones

Title: The Promise of Jenny Jones
Author: Maggie Osborne
Genre: Historical Romance
Published: April 1997

Note: This was my book for Nath's Re-read Challenge but I am way behind in posting reviews. But since I loved this book so much I just had to write the review. Enjoy!

From the back cover ~

The One And Only Thing Jenny Jones Doesn't Do Is Lie...

Jenny Jones was a mule driver, a buffalo skinner, and in self-defense, a killer - not a baby-sitter. Yet when a rich dying woman offers to take Jenny's place in front of a firing squad - in exchange for bringing her six-year-old daughter safely to California - Jenny gives her solemn oath. It won't be easy, Graciela hates her on sight. The kid's greedy, gun-toting relatives are soon hot on their trail. And there's a certain tall, handsome complication...

Ty Sanders thought that looking for his brother's long-lost daughter was a fool's errand. That was before he stumbled upon a tough-as-nails young woman battling desperadoes to protect the kid. Now all Ty wants is for Jenny to hand over his niece. But Jenny Jones has a suspicious nature and a promise to keep. Plus her word is all she has - until a little runt of a girl softens her defenses...and a rugged cowboy steals her heart when she isn't looking.

I LOVED this book! Hunt it down and read it because I'm keeping my copy. :)

Okay, seriously - I really loved it. Loved the characters, the plot, the dialogue. It has everything. A heroine who is so very different from the usual. A hero that doesn't want to be a hero and would rather be anywhere than where he is. And a little girl that could charm you in one breath and sorely try your patience in the next. Then there's the slew of bad guys that are ruthless and relentless in all their badness. Loved them all. As I was reading I remember how I felt the first time I read it, exciting to be reading a story that was so different from the usual western romances. I loved it just as much then as I do now.

Jenny Jones is a rough, loud, abrasive and thoroughly honest young woman. Her word is her bond and she will do everything she must to keep that word. She has been taking care of herself for as long as she can remember. She has this very no nonsense attitude that makes her come across as one of the guys. She doesn't care about dresses or finery and while she likes to be clean, she can go quite some time without bathing. LOL In some ways she reminded me of an old west version of Eve Dallas from the "In Death" series. Both of these women downplay their femininity, instead relying on their physical and mental strengths.

What I liked about Jenny? She made me laugh. She made me cry. She made me cheer for her and she made me care about her. Jenny and Graciela's interactions were some of my favorite parts. Jenny doesn't like kids and makes that perfectly clear from the start. Her attitude towards Graciela is one of obligation not affection. Graciela's attitude towards Jenny is hatred, plain and simple. Graciela blames Jenny for her mother's death. Jenny tries to explain but Graciela won't listen. Watching the relationship between Jenny and Graciela grow and change was written beautifully and came across as genuine and staying true to the characters and the situations they were in. They drove each other crazy but also came to care about each other despite their very different backgrounds.

Ty Sanders is one of my favorite types of hero - the anti-hero. The "I don't want to be here and I'm only doing this because I said I would, not because I'm a nice guy," kind of hero. He finds his attraction to Jenny very odd. She's not at all his type. He likes women who are, well, feminine. When he first sees Jenny she's rolling around on the ground, fighting a man. And she's holding her own. LOL Ty steps in to help, when another bad guy shows up and both Jenny and Ty have their hands full fighting off Graciela's cousins. And after a few encounters with Jenny poor Ty, he really didn't know what to make of her.

The fact was, he couldn't get a fix on her. Certainly he didn't understand her position regarding this niece. Her tone and words convinced him that she didn't' like Graciela. Yet he'd witnessed a touch of tenderness when he followed them back to their hotel. And she should have bowed out of the picture the instant she understood who Ty was, but she hadn't.

Everything about this strange woman fascinated him in a way few other women had. He felt a twinge of regret that he wouldn't see her again, would never learn what forces had formed her.

page 122

Ty and Jenny both intend to take Graciela to her father in California. They've both made promises and plan to keep them. While making the trip out of Mexico they keep running into each other, trading off traveling with Graciela, although not intentionally. They steal Graciela from each other while Graciela is trying her hardest to get home to the hacienda and her cousins. She can't believe that her wonderful cousins want to hurt her.

So while Jenny and Ty may not spend a lot of time together, Osborne makes the most of the time they do spend together. She has them thinking and wondering about the other when they're apart. Their curiosity about each irritates the heck out of them because for Ty, he doesn't see Jenny as his type. And Jenny, she doesn't want anything to do with men and doesn't think a man like Ty would be attracted to her. Jenny's education was one of experience, not the traditional school room but she loves learning new words. She has this beat up dictionary that she carrys around with her, I think it's one of her most treasured possessions. After meeting Ty she looks up the word virile.

"Virile," she said quietly. A soft word for a hard thing. Pursing her lips, she considered, then composed a sentence using the word. "The cowboy is virile."

Heat rushed to her cheeks, surprising her. Damned if thinking about the cowboy and virility didn't make her blush. Embarrassed, she looked around to see if anyone had noticed. There wasn't a soul who knew her who would have believed she was capable of blushing, including herself.

page 60

The dialogue between Ty and Jenny as well as Jenny and Graciela is wonderful. Jenny gave as good as she got and didn't back down from either Ty or Graciela. Jenny's approach to life is a very common sense approach of hard work and relying on yourself. Graciela is a spoiled little girl that doesn't understand why her world has been suddenly turned upside down. Ty is just trying to fulfill his obligation to his brother, he doesn't want to get involved with a woman or a kid. He's a bachelor through and through.

The plot itself kept my interest with all it's twists and turns. Even when things slowed down I found there was more to learn about these characters that I had come to know and love. The ending was both sweet and left this reader with the warm fuzzies. Perfect way to end a story.

Maggie Osborne's last book, Foxfire Bride, was published in 2004. According to Wendy aka Super Librarian, Ms. Osborne has retired from writing. Dang! That makes me sad. So to get your Maggie Osborne fix check out this list of her books here and start hunting in the UBS.

Rating: A+


  1. Sad, but true. She's retired. All About Romance (AAR) broke the story, I want to say late 2004/early 2005 (I can't be arsed to dig up the link). I've been in denial ever since that maybe she'll come to her senses and realize how much I need her.

    So far, no go.

    Jenny Jones was a slow starter for me, mostly because I like my hero and heroine to spend lots of page time together. But dang, this story ended up sucking me in. It's really fantastic.

  2. Leslie, I love how you started your review! It's a KEEPER! LOLOL!

    Sounds like a wonderful read and another author I must hunt down. Thanks for that wonderful review!

  3. Wendy ~ it's too bad she stopped writing. Osborne and Pamela Morsi is another author that wrote some great, unique characters.

    Hils ~ yes, grab any Osbornes you can find. Good stuff!

  4. Yes, this was one of the first romance books I read and it sure was a good one. I loved that Jenny was such a different type of woman. I am so glad you enjoyed it!

  5. Jill ~ What a great intro to romances. Love Osborne's writing. :)

  6. I remember reading Wendy's review and thought I needed to hunt this one down. I did read her other book, The Silver Spoon (or Lining ^_^;) and enjoyed it... need to go back to the library soon to pick up this one and this time, actually read it :D

    I'm so sorry you didn't get the review up in time... but at least, you did your re-read :D Wasn't it fun to re-visit this book? :)

  7. nath ~ this was a weird week for me. Too many distractions and too much candy in the house. :)

    Re-reading this one was great - makes me want to re-read more Osbornes.