Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Review and Giveaway: In Want of a Wife

In Want of a Wife (Bitter Springs - Book 4) by Jo Goodman

Publication Date: 05/06/2014
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Sensation
Genre: Historical Western Romance
Pages: 384
ISBN-13: 978-0425264171

(Received for an honest review from Berkley Sensation)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Indiebound

Jo Goodman on the WEB: websitefacebook, goodreads

Books in the Series:

The Last Renegade
True to the Law
"Nat Church and the Runaway Bride" from Boots Under Her Bed (short story)
In Want of a Wife

Coverart: Click the Image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.

Excerpt from, In Want of a Wife, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature.



Jane Middlebourne needs a way out. In 1891, life in New York is unforgiving for a young woman with no prospects, especially when her family wants nothing to do with her. So when Jane discovers an ad for a mail-order bride needed in Bitter Springs, Wyoming, she responds with a hopeful heart. 


Rancher Morgan Longstreet is in want of a wife who will be his partner at Morning Star, someone who will work beside him and stand by him. His first impression of the fair and fragile Jane is that she is notthat woman. But when she sets out to prove him wrong, the secrets he cannot share put into jeopardy every happiness they hope to find….


Author Jo Goodman brings readers another story from Bitter Springs with her latest book, In Want of a Wife. Goodman is able to take a Western theme and turn it into just about anything she wants. With this book, she takes a reoccurring theme in Western romance, the mail order bride and adds to it child exploitation, to create a story that is multi-layered while still being romantic. Readers who are looking for a good cowboy romance, this book is that and a lot more. Jane is a sassy East Coast girl and Morgan is a Wyoming cowboy looking for a wife. It's an explosive combination. 

What I liked:

With any Jo Goodman book, especially her western historicals, readers know they will get good quality writing and engaging characters. I think I like Goodman's westerns best because she is able to capture not only the customs and traditions of the times, but also the heart of people who lived them. She gets into character so well and readers are drawn right along with her. Her character's speech patterns and mannerisms are authentic and that adds so much to the overall feel of the book. In Western writing of any kind atmosphere is key and Goodman has got it down to a science.

I always appreciate an author that takes the time to get a little more in depth when it comes to romance than just boy meets girl, they fall in love and live happily ever after. Goodman's books don't tend to be that straightforward. With any good book, there is conflict and with In Want of a Wife, the conflict is two-fold. When Jane and Morgan meet for the first time, she is coming to him as a mail-order-bride, but she isn't exactly what he was expecting. Morgan has some demons of his own to face in this book and that struggle it what made this one so interesting. Between both those issues, Goodman has conflict galore, and for whatever reason it works with this book. I liked all the secrets and the situations that brought these two characters closer and made their relationship grow.

Child molestation and exploitation isn't often something you find in western romance. It is a theme that Goodman has used in several of her other books as well. In this book I think it was handled with respect for it's devastation and in way that showed recovery is possible. I think that needs to be central when writing about this subject. Yes, it is a horrible thing, but those who have suffered it's consequences can move forward and find love and happiness and Goodman portrayed that well. 

What I didn't like:

The romance between Jane and Morgan is slow building and romantic but there were times when I felt they were pushing the boundaries of where they were in the relationship. Moving a little too quickly and sometimes not quick enough. The pacing was a just a little off, but it wasn't a big issue. It was still a very well written love story.

Bottom Line:

Goodman's western romances may not be for the readers who want their HEA's all tied with a bow. I liked the complexity of Jane and Morgan's relationship and how their pasts did not keep them from having a wonderful future together. I want my character's to earn their HEA and Goodman sees to it that they do.

In Want of a Wife is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

About the Author:

Jo Goodman is the USA Today bestselling author of True to the Law, The Last Renegade, and Kissing Comfort,.

Giveaway Details:

The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of In Want of a Wife by Jo Goodman.

~ You must be an email subscriber to participate.
~ US addresses only.
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST, June 3rd.

1. Please leave a comment about why you think the mail-order bride story line is so popular in Western romance novels.

2. Please fill out the FORM.


Jane said...

I've been a fan of Jo's Regency romances, but haven't yet tried her westerns.

Charlotte said...

Ti was the best way for them..

traveler said...

They are always fascinating and memorable. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

holdenj said...

I suppose it's a popular trope because it was something that happened regularly. There weren't as many women out West, so there had to be a reason to head out that way. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

One reason I believe is because as women it is so hard to imagine to travel so far from where we were used to, to a strange and a strange man to marry him. But in those times in the west there was a shortage of women available, and so many men. If a woman wanted to mary and have a family sometimes this was her only chance. But, I imagine it was hard. I would love to win and read this book.
Maxie mac2629at)me(dot)com

Anita Yancey said...

I think it's because the author knows that in rural or in western areas there was a shortage of good women, that weren't saloon girls.


Texas Book Lover said...

I honestly haven't read this genre yet...but it sounds very interesting!

CrystalGB said...

I think it is popular because it is gutsy of the heroine to take this chance to marry a man they don't really know.

CrystalGB said...

I think it is popular because it is gutsy of the heroine to take this chance to marry a man they don't really know.

bn100 said...

seems like some authors jump on the same story lines at once

Natasha said...

I think it is so popular because it takes awhile for the romance to happen usually and they have to grow to trust one another.
Thanks for the chance to win!

lag123 said...

They advertised for what they needed.

lag110 at mchsi dot com

RAnn said...

I think it is popular because it involves taking a chance on love, rather than analyzing it to death.