“Taming the west—one heart at a time.”
Healing Heart by Cindy Evin Huff:
“If I only do one good thing in my life, I'm getting my brother home. ~Lonnie Holt”
Brother’s Lonnie and Jed Holt just want to get back to the ranch they inherited from their uncle Colt. Carrying scars inside and out, they soon find themselves at the end of a rifle held by Genny Collins—the woman their uncle hired to keep house while he was gone. Distrust and strife spark between Genny and Lonnie but they must learn to work together as danger from her past draws near.
I like the lessons the author portrayed in this story, no matter our past God can heal those wounds nobody sees inside you and make you the kind of person He wants you to be. Forgiveness is powerful as Lonnie learns when he realizes it for himself. The love of a good woman helps sooth his scars and I really enjoyed watching him and Genny try to fight falling in love. When her past comes back to harm her, he's right there to protect her along with his brother Jed. These two cowboys are what it means to be a true hero! I just wished the story was longer so I could get to know Jed more, he intrigued me.
Becoming Brave by Jennifer Uhlarik
Indian Territory, 1870:
“Five. Five bodies.”
This was a highly intense story where the characters were in danger from the very first page! While on a cattle drive for their boss, Coy Whittaker and Mitch Tanner come upon the grisly results of an Indian raid and encounter Aimee Kaplan. Distraught at losing her four brothers, she's deeply grieving. I love how Coy's protective instincts kick in and his empathy for her softens his heart. They both hide secrets that can prove to be deadly.
This one reminded me of how we often view ourselves as unworthy of love because of some flaw we think we have, but God calls us worthy and loves us unconditionally. Fighting our pasts and trying to hide it just hurts us in the end. It's a journey to accept who we are just as God made us and coming to grips with it can free our hearts. Coy found out in the end that no matter where he came from or who he really was, he was worthy, loved and cherished by both God and eventually Aimee.
Trails End by Sandra Merville Hart
Abilene, Kansas, May 1870:
I think this one was one of my favorite stories of the four. Adoring Wade Chadwick from the beginning when he stood up for Miss Abby didn’t hurt either! Staying in town waiting for his turn to load cattle on the train, and running low on funds compels him to ask for temporary employment from the pretty restaurant owner. Seeing how rough and tumble the town is made him protective over her.
This was a fun one just watching Abby go from mistrusting cowboys to eventually admiring Wade. I also loved when he took it upon himself to take her brother Gordon under his wings. He has regrets he feels he needs to make up for with his own brother. I liked that Abby wanted to prove to her Pa that she can make her own way in the world and desire to help support his dream of starting a ranch. She’s a tough one and a mite stubborn, but I admired her all the same. Really, I just loved everything about this story! At the end, it reminded me of how sometimes we need our own someone to save us and pay our debts, just as Christ did because of His everlasting love for us.
Loving a Harvey Girl by Linda Yezak:
Harvey girls are a particular favorite piece of history I love learning more about. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t get into this story as much as I wanted to. I like Eva and her determination to find employment so she could send money home to her family, and wanting to prove to the town minister that Harvey girls weren’t what he perceived them to be. But that’s where it ended for me. It seemed the girls were catty and spread rumors about anyone in town, and I didn’t really care for Melody or how she manipulated Cal. I had a lot of trouble connecting to the story.
But I’d like to add a positive here. The “Author’s Note” at the end was really eye-opening and I got a glimpse into Fred Harvey and how the Harvey girls first started. That was fun to learn! Please take time to read it; I think you might learn a thing or two like I did.
In conclusion—Each story was unique and showed the authors talent for writing. I enjoyed getting to know the cowboys in this one as they faced danger, fell in love and just lived everyday life. I knew I was in for a treat when I saw the cover; I certainly can't resist a ruggedly handsome cowboy. If you like westerns and heroes to stir your heart, then I think these are for you!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book and was under no obligation to leave a favorable review. All opinions are my own. *
The Cowboys: Taming the West—One Heart at a Time takes readers back to the late 1800s, through Kansas, Indian Territory, and Texas to a time of saloons, outlaws, gambling, and Native American conflicts. This collection of four novellas by Cindy Ervin Huff, Jennifer Uhlarik, Sandra Merville Hart, and Linda Yezak each contains a unique Wild West adventure with courageous heroines and handsome cowboys that readers will be sure to enjoy. The rich historical details and the dangerous encounters faced in the Wild West make each novella come alive and captures the attention of the readers.
Becoming Brave and Trail’s End are my favorite novellas from the collection because I was captivated by the romance and the cowboy heroes Coy Whittaker and Wade Chadwick, but each novella has a fascinating adventure and is worth reading. The powerful themes of forgiveness, courage, and healing are weaved throughout this inspirational novella collection. The Cowboys is recommended for readers of historical fiction who enjoy western romances filled with action and adventure.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine.
Kim chose these 'Quotes from The Cowboys':
“You needn’t give up your dreams for me.” He brushed her forehead with a kiss. “You’re worth every speck of gold dust and more.”
- Healing Hearts by Cindy Ervin Huff
“Oh Lord, how she loved this man – and yet there was still so much to get to know about him. So much he didn’t know about himself.”
- Becoming Brave by Jennifer Uhlarik
“Abby glanced up at Wade and melted under the warmth of his smile. More than one female head had turned when she walked in beside the tall Texan, handsome in a dark blue coat, red vest, and string tie. He couldn’t smile at her like that and then rob her the next minute, could he?”
- Trail’s End by Sandra Merville Hart
“He still caught glimpses of the firelight shining in her hair and caught the sound of her laughter, light and happy, as someone else swung her around and back to him. She’d smile up at him from a flushed face, and all he could think of was how he wanted to kiss her.”
- Loving a Harvey Girl by Linda Yezak
Back Cover Blurb:
The Cowboys: Taming the West—One Heart at a Time
Healing Hearts by Cindy Ervin Huff
Lonnie Holt’s external scars remind him of his failures, his internal scars torment him. Genny Collins seeks safety at the ranch once owned by Lonnie’s uncle. When Lonnie and his brother arrive, sparks fly and distrust abounds. While Lonnie and Genny fight the love growing between them, his past haunts him, and her past pays them a visit.
Becoming Brave by Jennifer Uhlarik
When Coy Whittaker stumbles upon a grisly scene littered with bodies, he wants nothing more than to get his boss’s cattle out of Indian Territory. But when a bloodstained Aimee Kaplan draws down on him, his plans—and his heart—screech to a halt.
Trail’s End by Sandra Merville Hart
Wade Chadwick has no money until his boss’s cattle sell, so he takes a kitchen job at Abby’s Home Cooking. The beautiful and prickly owner adds spice to his workday. Abby Cox hires the down-and-out cowboy even though the word cowboy leaves a bad taste in her mouth. Just as she’s ready to trust Wade with her heart, money starts to disappear … and so does her brother.
Loving a Harvey Girl by Linda Yezak
Eva Knowles can't imagine why the local preacher doesn't like Harvey Girls—women who work serving tables instead of finding a husband and falling in love. But if Eva can get the handsome and wayward cowboy Cal Stephens to join her in church, maybe the reverend will accept the girls. Or maybe she'll forfeit her job for a husband, hearth, and home!
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