Thursday, May 26, 2011

Pink Heart Picks - Texas Heir

This month PHS Editor Donna Alward turned to American Romance for the Pink Heart Picks Book Club selection - what's coming up for June?

I picked up Texas Heir by Linda Warren from my TBR because I'm usually really curious about the books I get paired with in different editions. My February book, Proud Rancher, Precious Bundle was paired with Texas Heir in Australia, and so first things first - I really like the Aussie books and the font etc. Really great to read.

So...about the book. I'm going to be really honest and say the first few chapters had me really confused. Oh, I understood the story well enough, but there was a LOT of set up. A lot of narrative and backstory, very little of the hero (Reed) and heroine (Cari) actually interacting. They were rarely on the page together and that kind of threw me. This is category romance. Get them on the page together ASAP, right? And then...whammo. Another point of view is introduced - the hero's father, Richard.

And perhaps this is the problem with being a category romance writer who is reading category romance. :-) While I maintain that there is no "formula", there are certain expectations, or perhaps conventions is a better word. And one is that for the most part the only points of view that you see in the book are the hero's and heroine's. Not only do we see Richard's POV here but several times throughout the book. I was like...what?

One more thing before I move on to the good stuff...I have been married to someone in the aviation industry for a long time. My first thought was "What about the ELT?" (emergency locator transmitter) It should have gone off when the plane went down. And yes, there are cases where ELT's fail, but I never really bought into the explanation that the batteries were low or dead. I knew that there had to be FAA maintenance regs about that and did some checking and indeed, the ELT should have been inspected during the annual inspection (I actually remember when the dh and I were dating and how he built an ELT test box for the company he was working for, it was really cool). So then reading about the characters - I mean these are the kinds of people who would ensure safety practices are done to the letter. And also that it was never brought up again. Maintenance records should have shown whether or not it was inspected during the last annual and any FAA investigation would have looked at that, but it wasn't mentioned again in the book.

And again - this is something that the majority of people probably wouldn't care a fig about. Everything that happened with the crash is something that *could* happen and Warren clearly spent a lot of time researching in order to make things plausible - I just didn't quite buy into it.

That all being said, and while I was a bit thrown by how things started off, by the time I got to the middle, I was engrossed. I stopped reading like a writer and started reading like a reader. Reed and Cari are good people, and they have a lot of inner strength. Cari is a fantastic heroine and it is easy to be on her side. I mean, she pulls Reed from the wreckage of the plane even though he's wounded and much bigger than she is.  She's resourceful. She has a lot of strength - she has to, as they spend several days trying to walk their way out. I loved how she threw rocks at coyotes and faced a lot of her fears simply to survive. I also loved how she was so honest with Reed. She was honest about her feelings and she really called him on his. While she has her own fears, she comes across as fearless. Courageous and smart, certainly. And willing to put herself out there even though she KNOWS she's going to get hurt.  Cari is a great example of a heroine having qualities that readers would like to think they'd have in the same situation.

And oh, I haven't mentioned that Reed was engaged to someone else? Normally this is a risky thing to do but the reader knows all along that Daphne is NOT the right woman for him and she's kind of a cold fish so we don't care about her much at all. And Reed truly does love her - or thinks he does, until he has to fight for survival and it puts things in sharp perspective. Cari is some woman; Daphne is pale in comparison. And Reed is tired of doing what is expected. The whole Richard POV and the family bit going on at home when they think Reed and Cari are dead turns out to be pretty important. It shows growth not just of the protagonists but of the whole family. And while at times I wondered whose story it really was - Reed's or Richard's (Richard is a pretty strong character)  - I did enjoy it.

It turns out I went into this story with category romance expectations and came away realizing that there were a lot of Single Title elements in a category romance and that they did indeed work.

I'd definitely recommend this book, and the more I think about it the more I liked it. I would just say that if you're a Category Romance reader, put your preconceptions aside for the first 50 pages. It might not be conventional, but it works - these are characters that you won't forget for a long time.

And now for the June pick.....The Proud Wife by Kate Walker! It was just out in April in the US and Canada and in March in the UK, so you should be able to find it at online retailers in print and at the Mills and Boon site, eharlequin, and any other e-book retailer in digital.

We'll be back to chat about it on June 30!


  1. Donna I'm so sorry but May just got away from me. I had planned to read Linda Warren's book but I just didn't get it done.

    I do have Kate Walker's book and I will try to remember to read it in June. I will put it on the pile by my bed right now.

  2. Kaelee - I know exactly what you mean! It's worth reading later, though, and I'd be interested to know what you think of it!

  3. Will do! After reading your comments I really want to read it. I'm in the middle of Susan Meier's new trilogy and enjoying it a lot. I also have Liz Fielding's new book calling to me. Any book with an ice cream truck in it has got to be interesting. I have really enjoyed all the books by Linda Warren that I've read in the past.

  4. Oh wow - I just found this! I had no idea that The Proud Wife would be a PHP for June! Thank you - what an honour! Jue 30th is in my diary . ..

  5. I found the whole plane crash element quite exciting - being stuck in a difficult situation like that is where you do find out what people are really like.