Friday, January 23, 2009

Tall, Dark, and Texan

Jodi Thomas, 293 pages
A Whispering Mountain Novel
Historical Romance
Jove Books - Nov 2008

Teagan McMurray has been the head of the family since his father followed his mother to the grave. He was 12. His father was from Ireland. His mother was Apache. That made him and his family outcasts. They were half-breeds, scum in the minds of everyone in the nearby town, scum with valuable land worth the taking.

In fighting to maintain their land and protect his siblings, Teagan learned to trust no one. The only bright spots in his life were his pride from successfully defending the family and his books. The only outsider in his life was Eli, a Chicago bookseller, from whom he bought his books and with whom he had come to enjoy a brisk correspondence. Eli was a good friend and a committed loner like him.

In Chicago, Jesse Barton and her children had nowhere to turn. Her husband, Eli, just died and good riddance. He had been a rowdy, selfish drunk who only tolerated Jesse because she ran the book store he hated, and he could occasionally make share his bed. True to form, Eli’s unscrupulous family had already taken the store and was threatening to do the same with the kids.

The only bright spots in Jesse’s life had been her children and the man who thought she was Eli, the man with whom she had maintained that brisk correspondence, the man she had come to imagine as a tall, dark Texan.

Jesse knew Teagan was honest, solid, and trustworthy, a man worth having, and through the masquerade of letters she had grown to love him. Jesse could turn to him, but Teagan didn’t know she existed and, worse yet, their relationship had been based on a lie. But that night, she robbed the till, took the kids, and set out for Texas and her only hope, that tall, dark Texan. And, thus, Jodi Thomas’s latest addition to the MMM series begins.

Jodi Thomas is remarkable among romance writers. The snotty literati consider most of them hacks, hardly worth a place in the literary constellations. But through her consummate skills, Thomas has risen far beyond the literary scrap heap in which most literary critics falsely consign romance writers. Her characters are intriguing, and they drive exciting stories. The resulting chemistry creates page turners that combine literate prose with a deeply rewarding story. Little wonder that West Texas A & M has claimed her as writer in residence.
When you see the Thomas name on the cover, you can be sure there’s a great read within. There’s only one problem. She doesn’t crank out books like most of the others. She’s a deliberate writer with generally a year’s wait between publications. Maybe that’s why she’s so good.

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