A big family, a reading addiction, and the occasional celebrity scandal are the ingredients of life that create one woman's opinion on just about everything.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Maggie Osborne, Maggie Osborne, Maggie Osborne

Maybe I should have like an author of the month. Or, I should at least take a moment to congratulate an author when I read several of their books within a short period of time and find the books to all be of high quality and enjoyable reads. Such is the case with my recent reading, or re-reading of Maggie Osborne’s books. This past week I’ve read two of her books and thoroughly enjoyed them.

Here’s to westerns. Long may they live and be written!

SHOTGUN WEDDING by Maggie Osborne. It turns out I’ve read this book before and it’s only three years old! Why I didn’t recall that fact when I picked this up at the UBS, God only knows. All I can say is that it is a very worthwhile book and was just as good the second time around.

Annie Malloy is a woman of 25 who has decided to remain unmarried to maintain as much independence as she can in post Civil War Kansas. What I LOVED about this book is its reminder to us how mortifying, humiliating and socially devastating it was to find yourself “in trouble” in times past.

Yes, I know we aren’t all virgins when we get married and times have changed, but even 30 years ago when I was in high school we were still scandalized when a girl got pregnant. So reading how horrible and terrifying it really could be for a woman was honestly refreshing. You can write feisty heroines all you want, but society was very unforgiving to women. Annie is a young woman with a family who supported her and it was still pretty brutal. Anyway, I liked the reality of the seriousness of her situation written in this book.

I know I say it all the time, but it's really important to me that the characters are true to the time period. I can be more forgiving about the characters using something that wasn't invented until several years later more than I can behavior that is totally out of its time period. Once again, I think Ms. Osborne has captured her time period beautifully which gives this story alot of authenticity.

I haven't said too much on what the story is about besides a young woman in trouble. There are inevitable plot twists and turns on the path to HEA, but it is better that you read them than I discuss them. To me, this book is about the characters, primarily Annie and Jesse. There is not a smooth path to Annie and Jesse finding their HEA and some of it is predictable. However, the I couldn't help feeling how real these characters were and that is where the story shines.

Of course, I can't finish this review without mentioning a bit more about Jesse John Harden. Jesse is the town's new sheriff and has many a young lady fluttering after him, but he's fascinated by the independent Annie. With a past that many men would have trouble overcoming, Jesse Harden made peace with his choices and consciously made a choice to live life within the law. Jesse is easily the best thing about this book. Ms. Osborne has been able to take a strong man of his times, in a complicated and ambiguous profession and make him not only real to the reader, but explain why such a man would be interested in Annie.

Can you tell I liked this book?

A Stranger's Wife wasn't quite the same reading experience. To sum this book up all you need are these words, Jane Eyre in Colorado circa 1876. While the aspect of Lily Dale being plucked from prison to impersonate a political candidate's (the virile Quinn Westin) missing wife was a very interesting plot, there was a certain inevitably to the story. While Ms. Osborne takes pains to remind us that there is no way these two people can end up together we know there's an HEA and I think most readers will figure things out about half way through the book as I did. Still, the book is well written and the characters interesting.

I don't want to give the impression this was a bad book, but comparatively speaking to the other Osborne books I've read recently, particularly SHOTGUN WEDDING. The plot was stretched a bit too thin for me.

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Blogger Devonna said...

Shotgun Wedding sounds really good. I'll have to get that one sometime. A Stranger's Wife doesn't really appeal to me so I probably won't be getting that one at all.

8:36 AM PDT  
Blogger Wendy said...

I still have some Maggie Osborne in the TBR - but these happen to be two of my least favorite by her:

Shotgun Wedding isn't a favorite because of my own quirks. I can appreciate it's very well written, and as usual Osborne writes wonderful, multi-faceted characters. I just found the subject matter very hard to read. I know someone like Annie and the experiences hit a little too close to home. Also I wanted more of that yummy hero :-) Still, I'd rated it a solid "B."

A Stranger's Wife only ended up being a "C" for me. I can't put my finger on it now, but I think I had real issues with the hero's blind political ambition. That said, even though I was ho-hum on it, it was still a book that stuck with me for more than an hour after finishing it.

8:58 AM PDT  
Blogger Rosie said...

Devonna, I really enjoyed SHOTGUN WEDDING and no worries about STRANGER'S WIFE...you aren't missing much there.

Wendy, I would have to say your grades are an accurate assessment of how I felt. I picked these up because they were books I didn't have on my keeper shelf. I should probably pull those off and read them. Do you have a favorite Osborne?

7:38 PM PDT  
Blogger Wendy said...

I have a real soft spot for I DO, I DO, I DO because it was my first read by Osborne. I also really liked PRAIRIE MOON - mainly for the resolution of the conflict. Osborne never takes the easy way out, and the ending to PM is great (imho).

Also, a harder to find earlier book - THE SEDUCTION OF SAMANTHA KINCAID. It's not perfect, but it's very good. A strong, memorable heroine bent on avenging the destruction of her family, and a hero who wants justice for his dead wife.

8:23 PM PDT  
Blogger Lori said...

I also love a good western. Shotgun Wedding sounds really good. I'll have to see if I can find it somewhere, although lord knows where...

8:44 PM PDT  
Blogger Rosie said...

Wendy, I have PM on my keeper shelf. I thought I had THE SEDUCTION OF SAMANTHA KINCAID as well, but I don't. I'll have to look for it and I DO, I DO, I DO.

Lori, I was shocked because I found SHOTGUN WEDDING in my UBS. It's a 2003 release, so it should be easier to locate than some of her older ones.

11:05 PM PDT  

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