RITA Reader Challenge Review

RITA Reader Challenge: The Texan’s Bride by Linda Warren


Title: The Texan's Bride
Author: Linda Warren
Publication Info: Harlequin SuperRomance 2011
ISBN: 978-0373717354
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Book Cover This review was written by Suzette. This story was nominated in the Best Contemporary Series Romance category.

The summary: Sheltered her entire life, Jessie Murdock has rarely gotten her way. Until her dying father makes a deal with Cadde Hardin. Cadde will get shares of Shilah Oil on one condition—marry Jessie. In love with him for years, Jessie doesn't hesitate to sign the papers. But she didn't sign up for a completely absent husband. Now Jessie has a counter offer. She'll give Cadde controlling interest of the business if he'll give her a baby…the natural way. Only he has a few caveats of his own. When life refuses to follow their written plan, Jessie and Cadde have to decide which is more important: their unspoken love or the family business.

And here is Suzette's review:

When I read the synopsis for this book, it was all I could do not to groan out loud. The first and only romance I read that involved a pregnant heroine left me gnashing my teeth with feminist rage for days. My expectations were lower than low going into this story. However, in spite of my initial prejudice, I have to admit that I absolutely love this book. That is not to say that it isn’t flawed. Some parts are so bad that they are unintentionally hilarious, but the positive elements of the story overwhelm the silly ones.

The two biggest elements that work for me were the likeability of the protagonists and the sense of realism. Cadde and Jessie are genuinely nice people who I want to cheer for. For the most part, the author does a thorough job of developing their motivations, so their actions never seem nonsensical. Furthermore, the author integrates a lot of subtle details that make the story feel more authentic. For example, Jessie volunteers at a shelter for abused women. The specifics of her role at the shelter are smoothly woven into the narrative, lending plausibility to many of the plot elements. As a result of the consistency of characterization and coherent plotting, I was able to suspend disbelief when events took a turn toward the clichéd.

Finally, I have to say that the last third of the book is what really knocked my socks off. (Spoiler) Jessie has a miscarriage as a result of a brutal attack. The pain that she and Cadde feel is visceral and shattering. This part of the book packs a serious emotional punch. I felt so devastated on their behalf that I almost cried (don’t worry they get their HEA.)

This is my first category romance novel, so I have no idea how this book measures up in contrast to others in the genre, but I would recommend it to those who are looking for an emotionally affecting read and don’t mind a little bit of over-the-top schlocky sentimentality.

Grade: B+

A few other awesome things about The Texan’s Bride that don’t fit into the review:

Jessie- she is half-Hispanic and fantastic. Even though her race plays practically no role in the story, just the fact that she is not your typical lily-white heroine is a big win for me.

Oil drilling metaphors-sadly, none of these turned up during the sex scenes, but I still giggled every time I saw the word “gusher.”

Ridiculous names-here are a few examples: Cisco, Roscoe, Hub, and my personal favorite: Hooter. Who the hell would name their kid Hooter? I wonder if he has a brother named Cooter.

This book is available from Goodreads | Amazon | BN | Sony | Kobo | All Romance eBooks.

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Lindleepw says:

    Awesome review! I’m still laughing at your Cooter comment. I was on the fence about this book but now I think I’ll give it a try. Thanks!

  2. 2
    Nabpaw says:

    You should issue a spoiler alert if you’re going to reveal major plot points.

  3. 3

    Great review…..having grown up in a small town in Texas, I’d argue that weird names are pretty standard…..though usually it’s a nickname and not a formal name….usually your mama doesn’t name you something like Hooter….your older brother or best friend or the kids down the road start calling you that and you’re stuck for life…..;)

  4. 4
    SB Sarah says:

    This is totally my fault and I apologize. The code I put in to white out the spoiler didn’t work, and I am very sorry about that. It’s been corrected – totally my bad.

  5. 5
    RebeccaJ says:

    I read this book a week or so ago and I really enjoyed it. I liked that Jessie wasn’t afraid to ask for what she wanted of the marriage. I also like the way she was at the beginning of the book….totally unawed by Cadde….LOL

  6. 6
    Bnbsrose says:

    I don’t usually care for the arranged marriage in a modern context, but you’ve intrigued me. I’m not thanking you for that….

  7. 7
    Jrcode says:

    I read this one and quite liked it.  I did think the writing was kind of clunky in places.  And the names were just weird.  But the one place I really got pulled out of the story and started thinking WTF? was the part involving the big spoiler. Don’t read further if you don’t want to know what it is. 

    I wondered whether there was something off about the physical/medical details around the pregnancy.  Apparently, she was only three months along at the time of the miscarriage (Cadde says this to the paramedics, I think?), but she was showing already.  The miscarriage was referred to as “premature labour” that could be stopped with drugs.  And the fetus was sufficiently developed to determine the sex.  Maybe I missed something here.  But based on my own experiences, none of that stuff fits for a pregnancy of three months gestation.  But I could be wrong.  All I can say is that I was wondering a lot at that point and that diminished the emotional impact significantly.  Maybe I’m just misremembering the “she’s three months’ pregnant” comment, though…

  8. 8
    Suzette says:

    @Lindleepw: Thank you! For me, this book managed to hit both my sweet spots in that it was an enjoyable read and it offers lots of snark potential. There is an entire section from about 53-66% on my kindle reader where the story takes a detour to wtf-ville. At one point Cadde and Jesse are endlessly blithering about how they have to get the BIGGEST CHRISTMAS TREE EVERRR (compensating for something Cadde, hhhmmm?) that had me shrieking with laughter and making snide notes in my kindle. An hour later, I was trying not to cry because THE CHRISTMAS TREE WAS DEAD and it was sooo sad (and I felt like an evil bitch for mocking the poor tree.)

    @Lady Love Tarot: Your comment made me giggle. I actually really enjoyed the nicknames, especially Hooter, which allowed me to make endless boob jokes to myself as I was reading. I also like Cisco, but only because I saw Crisco the first few times I read his name, which made me fantasize about what a romance novel with a hero named Crisco would be like. The answer is deep fried and delicious and there would definitely be anal (sorry I have a filthy mind and the sense of humor of a fourteen-year-old boy.)

    @SBSarah: Thank you for posting my review! I just started reading romances about six months ago and SBTB has led me to so many good reads!

    @RebbecaJ: I know, right! I love that Jesse is often the aggressor in the relationship. She pursues Cadde, but she doesn’t sacrifice her dignity, nor does she let him walk all over her. It is great to read a story about a woman who isn’t afraid to ask for what she wants in a relationship.

    @bnbrose: I generally don’t like the modern day marriage of convenience trope either. This one worked for me because it was better developed and more plausible than most, but a certain amount of suspension of disbelief is still required because hello, it is the 21st century and women have rights now.

    Spoiler Alert! Don’t read below this line!

    @Jrcode: to be honest, I have no idea. I don’t know anything about pregnancy, but my guess is that she would have been four or five months along. I think there was a jump forward in time after the mention of her being three months pregnant, but I read this book a month ago, so the details are blurry. I’ll search my kindle and see if I can come up with something more conclusive because now this is starting to bother me too.

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