"Give me books, French wine, fruit, fine weather, and a little music played out of doors by somebody I do not know." - John Keats

"You're not allowed to say anything about books because they're books and books are, you know, God." - Nick Hornby

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Review #74: Autumn Lover, by Elizabeth Lowell

I'm pretty sure I've read this book before. I got about 200 pages in, thinking that it seemed familiar, and then I read the scene where the bad guys pour salt in the garden, and I know I've read that scene before. But I'll be damned if I could remember anything else about the book, so either I read it a really long time ago, or salt in the garden is a thing used in more than one book.

In any event, I picked this up at a used bookstore in the $2 romance section, and for $2, I was happy. It's a light, fluffy, dog-eared paperback, full of strong women and brooding men, misunderstandings, horses, bad guys, an Indian, and a couple of grumpy cowboys. I have to take points away for the use of the word "maidenhead" in the sex scene, but bonus points for the fact that the sex itself was pretty good.

Set in the Ruby Mountains after the Civil War, Elyssa returns to her family's ranch to find it under threat from the Culpepper Gang. Hunter arrives, avenges his family's death at the Culpepper's hands, helps save the ranch (although Elyssa is a pretty strong woman and does quite a bit on her own), and he and Elyssa live happily ever after.

I also have to give bonus points to Lowell for making Elyssa such a strong woman while avoiding the usual romance novel tropes of reading and having red hair. When Elyssa makes her riding habit in to pants, it's done only because she needs the freedom of movement, and it doesn't cause a scandal. Elyssa loves her family's home, and she loves and wants Hunter, but I never felt like she needed him in order to save herself, and that was a welcome change.

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