Recent Reading: Western Romance

Two Western American romances, both set largely in brothels (not the most romantic of settings!): very different books, but I enjoyed both.

Between Love & LiesJacqui Nelson’s Between Love & Lies is the first in her new Gambling Hearts series, set in the wild cow town of Dodge City. After her small farm is destroyed by a cattle drive, Sadie Sullivan finds herself working at the Northern Star saloon, sold into servitude there by her alcoholic father, just before he took off with all their money. Sadie has avoided prostitution by faking syphilis, but the medicine of the day may be killing her instead. She’s not about to give up, though—she has a mission to accomplish.

It was Noah Ballantyne’s cattle that wrecked the Sullivan farm, and Noah has been haunted by worry for Sadie ever since. When he drives another herd north from his Texas ranch, he’s determined to find out what has happened to her. When he does, his guilt keeps him in Dodge, determined to rescue Sadie from the brothel, not realizing that his good intentions threaten to upset all her plans.

Nelson does a great job with her western setting, filling it with interesting characters (including Bat Masterson and Wyatt Earp!), the action is exciting, and the romance is deep and moving, as Sadie learns she may have found a man she can trust.


 I read and enjoyed a number of Margaret Brownley’s light-hearted historical romances years ago. More recently she has been writing for the inspirational market, not my subgenre of choice, but I couldn’t resist Petticoat Detective—she had me at “female Pinkerton detective.” I don’t know how many writers could pull off a humorous inspirational historical romance set in a brothel, but Brownley has done a fine job of it.

Petticoat DetectiveWhen Pinkerton Agent Jennifer Layne arrives at Miss Lillian’s Parlor House and Fine Boots in Goodman, Kansas, hoping to follow a lead involving one of the ladies of the house, Miss Lillian mistakes her for a “fancy lady” seeking work. The next thing Jennifer knows, she is undercover, and underdressed, as Amy Gardner, and worse, nearly witness to a murder.

When ex-Texas Ranger Tom Colton arrives at Miss Lillian’s, he is looking for the same prostitute, known as Rose, who may have been engaged to his late brother.

Tom wants to know if his brother was murdered. Amy wants to know if he was the Gunnysack Bandit, the man she’s tracking. And they soon realize they both want to know more about each other. But that’s hopeless. Tom is an upright rancher who could never fall for a hooker, and Amy is an independent Pinkerton detective with no interest in settling down.

Petticoat Detective is funny, suspenseful, and gently inspirational without being preachy. If you enjoy sweet western romance, give it a try.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Jacqui Nelson
    Feb 22, 2016 @ 10:07:14

    Thank you so much for reading and sharing my Dodge City novel, Between Love & Lies, Kay!



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