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.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Re-Read Challenge: Parting Gifts by Lorraine Heath

PARTING GIFTS by Lorraine Heath
A Diamond Homespun Romance - Diamond Books
December 1994

I have no clue whatsoever what made me pick up this book. I was standing in the office in front of my bookshelves, it caught my eye and I thought to myself, "I think I'll read that for Nath's Re-read Challenge this month". Just think what might happen if I actually stop to think about what I'm doing before I grab a book?

This one is set in Texas in 1881. The book opens with Maddie knocking on the back door of the town brothel, desperate, hungry, barefoot. She's sold everything she can to eat and survive, tried to find respectable work, but finding herself alone and unprotected decides there's nothing for it but the whorehouse to survive.

Once the half-decent Madam finds out that Maddie is a virgin she decides more money can be made by auctioning Maddie off for her first time.

Charles is in town to buy cattle. He and his brother run an inn and stagecoach stop. The railroad is taking more and more of their business away and Charles' brother Jesse has been saving money for them to buy cattle as an alternative way to earn a living as the inn business plays out. It's also to realize their father's dream of having a cattle ranch in Texas.

While Jesse stays behind at the inn, Charles travels to town and uses the cattle money to bid on Maddie. Once he has Maddie in the room he proposes to her. Charles is widower with two small children. Going on gut instinct, Charles believes Maddie is tonic he and his family need.

It is actually at this point the story begins as Charles returns to the inn without the cattle, without the money and with Maddie in tow as his wife.

The title is a play on words of gifts Charles seeks to bestow on the people he loves best. He always brings a gift home to his children and as the story begins his gift is Maddie.

This description only scratches the surface of this story. There's twists and turns, many of which you can see coming, but they are handled deftly and in a realistic way in Ms. Heath's hands.

While I still liked this story very much, it didn't pack quite the punch it did the first time I read it. Still, it's a good book, and though it doesn't have much of the steam we've come to expect as a matter of course in our romances these days, it certainly doesn't lack for its breathless and meaningful moments.

Well done and an enjoyable read.

My Grade = B

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Blogger Nikki said...

Great review! I love Heath and this story line sounds so good! I think I'll pick this one up. I'm finding that to--my rereads aren't living up to my memory of them! Bummer:(

5:29 AM PDT  
Blogger nath said...

See, I think that is the problem with re-reads. The punch... because well, we know the story already.

Glad that you still enjoyed the book :) I should give this a try... although it's western :P

7:46 AM PDT  
Blogger Amy C said...

I've only read one Western Historical. Glad you enjoyed this one the second time around :).

11:18 AM PDT  
Blogger Rosie said...

Nikki, this is a tough one to find. Let me know if you don't find it and I'll be happy to loan you my copy.

Nath, you are exactly when you talk about 'the punch'. That is exactly the difference this time in making this book almost transcendent. It is very well done I think.

Amy, come to the darkside and read ze westerns. You won't be sorry. You'll join the ranks of Sybil from TGTBTU, Super Librarian Wendy and Kristie(j). We all love westerns.

12:12 PM PDT  
Blogger Kristie (J) said...

Heavy Sigh - I SO wish she write Westerns again. While this one wasn't my favourite - I think that's probably Sweet Lullabye, I did so enjoy this one ever so much better than the few English set historicals of her that I've read.

7:30 PM PDT  
Blogger Renee said...

I love the "Homespun Romance" tag.

I'm finding that there is definitely a different level of book that stands up to a re-read for purely enjoyment purposes (rather than for nostalgia.)

8:54 PM PDT  
Blogger Rosie said...

Kristie, I have SWEET LULLABYE too. I'm glad to see more westerns lately, or am I just imagining that? Seeing Jo Goodman come out with one sure is a good sign.

Renee, historicals by their nature stand up better, but there sometimes is a more modern rhythm to a book that can give away when the historical was written. The good ones though, they stand up pretty well.

9:45 PM PDT  
Blogger Seneca said...

I love Westerns. It's hard to find a good one lately, though.

7:02 AM PDT  
Blogger Rosie said...

Seneca, have you read Maureen McKade yet? Her Forrester brother series is very good. Also, Sarah McCarty? Of course, you said lately, so I may be preachin' to the choir.

2:46 PM PDT  

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