Rugged and Relentless (Husbands for Hire - Book 1) by Kelly Eileen Hake
Publication Date: March 2011
Publisher: Barbour Publishing
Genre: Christian Fiction/ Western
(Received for review from Barbour Publishing via Net Galley)
Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Christianbook.com, IndieBound
Kelly Eileen Hake on the WEB: Website
Excerpt (courtesy of Google Books) from Rugged and Relentless
Roll into Hope Falls, Colorado, where three women are seeking mates to help them establish a sawmill. Evelyn Thompson never dreamed their husbands-for-hire ad would bring so many bachelors to their tiny town. How will she ever figure out which feller to choose? Jacob Granger, a logger-turned-bounty hunter, is hot on the trail of his brother's killer. When a clue leads him to Hope Falls, he has no choice but to pretend to court Miss Thompson while waiting for the killer to show his hand. Will Jacob's unexpected adoration of this sweet cook prompt him to speak vows before getting vengeance?
Kelly Eileen Hake's latest release from Barbour Publishing gives readers a twist on the mail order bride storyline. In Rugged and Relentless it's the women who are doing the husband hunting instead of the men. This Christian Fiction western romance will have readers laughing out loud at the banter between the characters and staying up all night to see who the women will choose. Hake's ability to find a new twist on an old theme sets this novel apart.
Evie Thompson and three of her friends are on a mission to revitalize their town of Hope Falls, Colorado. Nearly a ghost town due to a mining accident these four determined women plan to turn the town around by building a new sawmill. The trouble is four women alone on the frontier is not the best scenario. So the women decide the need to find husbands and fast. When they place and advertisement for husbands for hire, they are blown away by the response. Hope Falls has become a haven for bachelors of all kinds trying to woo the women into marriage. Jake Granger is different from the rest. He is searching for his brother's killer and comes to Hope Falls believing that the killer will try to secure a rich wife by answering the ad. He pretends to court Evie as he waits for the killer to make his move. But will his emotions get in the way of revenge?
Hake has crafted a novel that will have western romance fans on the edge of their seats. As the suitors start to pile up the situation gets more and more comical. Hake uses humor to diffuse the darker elements of the story. Her twist on the mail order bride theme is unique and will hold the interest of many different types of readers. The introduction of a killer into the mix gives the story a sense of adventure and anxiousness. Hake did an excellent job of allowing the reader a glimpse at what it might have been like to be on the frontier where there are five men for every one woman.
I loved the overall premise of the book and it flowed very well. This is a great first novel in a series and readers will definitely tune in to see who the other women choose and what happens to them. Four headstrong and resourceful women is a big draw for those of us who don't want to be considered 'fragile' and unable to do things because of our gender. I thought the author did an excellent job of showing the strength of these four women, while also allowing them to be vulnerable. Evie's comments about being self conscious of her curves and going on a diet will allow readers to identify with her character, as well as her ability to cook.
I liked Hake's character Jake most of all. He was a strong and loyal man. But he had vengeance on his mind in this book. He intended to find his brother's killer no matter the cost. But when he came across four unprotected women on the frontier he was willing to put aside his own desires to protect them. His attraction to Evie is evident from their first meeting. I enjoyed the banter between the two of them as they were more likely to fight then anything else. That's always a good sign of romance in the making LOL...
Rugged and Relentless is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!