TBR DAY: Winter Woman by Jenna Kernan
It's here. The first month and first review of a year long effort to read some of the books in my TBR. Thanks to Avid Reader Keishon for thinking of this. Now it's up to me to stay with the challenge.
I first heard about Jenna Kernan from another western lover, SL Wendy on our first sojourn to a UBS after my favorite one closed. Knowing of my love for westerns Wendy made some good recs, this book was one of them, while I browsed the HH section.
Fast forward a year. I pick up Ms. Kernan's February 2008 release Outlaw Bride based solely on the back blurb. Blown away by how well written the book is and the depth of the characters, I rush out to a nearby UBS and scour the shelves for Kernan's back list. I score Winter Woman and set it aside while I finish another book. It wasn't until I was almost finished with Winter Woman that I remembered Wendy
The Actual Review
Winter Woman is a Harlequin Historical Western. Copyright 2003.
Cordelia Channing spends a long bitter winter alone in the mountains after her missionary husband dies. As winter thaws a band of Indians find her. Not knowing what to do with her they turn her over to trapper Thomas Nash who happens to come along shortly after the rescue.
This story revolves around Thomas and Cordelia. While other people do come in and out of the story they are completely on the periphery. If you give me a story that can support the focus being entirely on the central couple you pretty much have me hooked. That was the case with this book.
Thomas has no more idea what to do with the skinny, emaciated and barely alive Cordelia than the Indians did. Determined to get Cordelia to the Rendezvous so she has a chance to meet with someone who can take her back east, he agrees to take her from the Indians. While interested and reluctantly attracted to Delia, Thomas knows a white woman has no place in the mountains. He plans to continue to set his traps and collect beaver furs to pursue his own goal of starting a trading company. He figures he can protect her, feed her, take her along trapping and still get her to Rendezvous in time to send east.
Cordelia survived her winter in the mountains through sheer stubbornness. Not only is her body too weak to endure on her own in the wilderness, but she fears her mind and spirit could not survive the fear, loneliness and hazards of wilderness life. By the time the Indians arrive at winter's end, she is so tired that she's prepared to meet her death. While she's frightened and slightly appalled at the fierce mountain man who comes to her aid, she's also surprised how happy she is to go on living after all.
This book is not only a journey of long and difficult miles to reach the Rendezvous, but the journey of two lost and damaged souls who are learning to trust and believe again, not only in themselves, but each other as well. This was a treasure sitting in my tbr. As I stated earlier, in my favorite books the plot centers on the struggle of the main characters. We are in these characters heads for most of the book. I felt myself reading with painful awareness of their struggles to understand and reach out to one another. The individual pain and grief that both Thomas and Cordelia have is so tangible and genuine.
If you like a bit of history and authenticity with your romance, you are richly rewarded with both in this book. Ms. Kernan's attention to the details of the time and place are well done and, for me, flowed well without being either a distraction or weighing down my reading.
I've thoroughly enjoyed both books that I've read of Ms. Kernan's. I have another in by tbr that I'm anxious to read. You can bet I'll be first in line when her new releases come out.