Thursday, September 7, 2017

Review: The Last Outlaw

The Last Outlaw (Outlaw Hearts - Book 4) by Rosanne Bittner

Publication Date: 9/5/2017
Publisher: Sourcebooks Inc.
Imprint: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Western Historical Romance
Pages: 448

(Received for an honest review from Sourcebooks Casablanca)

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Books in the Series:

Outlaw Hearts

1. Outlaw Hearts
2. Do Not Forsake Me
3. Love's Sweet Revenge
4. The Last Outlaw


Excerpt from courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature


"An emotional powerhouse!"―RT Book Reviews 4 1/2 Stars, TOP PICK! for Do Not Forsake Me
"Fresh and alluring."―Publishers Weekly STARRED for The Last Outlaw

True Love Never Dies

Times have changed, and the old Wild West is a thing of the past. Nestled in his beautiful Colorado ranch, surrounded by family, infamous former outlaw Jake Harkner's hung up his guns for good and finally found a measure of peace―but dark memories haunt the woman who has always been his strength, and not even Jake is certain he can save his beloved Miranda this time.

All he can do is swear to remain by her side. But it takes more than a hope for peace to outrun a past defined by violence, and it isn't long before Jake is embroiled in a rescue mission he simply can't refuse. Life has brought him back full circle as he rides into Mexico to save a young girl from a dreadful fate...leaving Miranda behind one final time, fearing that the man she loves more than anything is destined to die the way he's always lived―by the gun.

Readers of western historical romances usually know the name, Rosanne Bittner. She has been called the queen of this sub-genre and if you haven't tried one of her books, it's high time you did. With the final book in the Outlaw Hearts series, The Last Outlaw, Bittner brings to culmination a love story spanning over 30 years. Jake and Miranda Harkner's story has captivated readers with it's spine tingling action and epic love. Bittner once again takes readers to the heart of the Colorado ranch country and into the lives of a family in crisis. The era of the gunslinger is ending and Jake is struggling to find his place in this new world, while his wife Miranda claws her way back from a devastating attack. Strap in tight readers, this story is far from over!

What I liked:

Though I have not reviewed any of the other books in the Outlaw Hearts series, I have read them. Rosanne Bittner is a favorite of mine in the western historical sub-genre. This series has been such a wonderful glimpse into the west through the eyes of one family. The Harkner's are the epitome of the ranching family. They've worked hard to get where they are and the patriarch of the family, Jake has been pivotal. It is not often a romance writer uses a hero and heroine in their autumn years. Jake is over 60 in this book, but still very vibrant and alive. While Miranda is ten years younger, she is represents the strong western spirit and tenacity. I liked the fact that Bittner did not shy away from that in order to capture a younger audience. This love was epic and it required an epic ending. Bittner did not disappoint.

Jake, like many a man has a past. He struggles with that and it haunts him to an extent. Self worth issues are something many of us can relate to. Now, times are a changing and Jake must change and adapt to a new way of life, where he can't use his guns to solve his problems. The politics and climate of the west is becoming tamer and he must figure out his place. Bittner did a wonderful job of showing a man who has fought for his place and loathes to see it slipping away. From an outlaw to a marshal to a rancher, but what will he become now?

At the end of the previous book, Miranda suffers a heartbreaking attack that leaves her devastated. Her recovery is long and arduous. She is clearly suffering from PTSD and it will break the heart of the reader to see this once strong and passionate woman reduced to shreds. But in true Bittner fashion, Miranda will come out stronger than before and watching her rebuild her foundation was amazing. I loved this part of the story because it showed courage and faith and how family makes all the difference.

What I didn't like:

Like many western historical's you only have a certain amount of content to work with. I struggled a little with finding some elements of the story a little to repetitious. Things I had seen before or tropes already used. But not surprisingly Bittner always seems to turn it into something that takes unexpected twists and turns that captivate and keep the reader glued to the pages. 

Bottom Line:

This was a great ending to a wonderful series. Rosanne Bittner knows how to write a good western romance. Though somewhat repetitious in idea, the execution was unique. Bittner gives reader a older hero and heroine that should be done way more often than it is. She tackles themes like self worth and inner demons like a pro and handles PTSD with kid gloves. This an author you really need to try. Not a book I would recommend to be read out of order, but that's okay, this entire series should not be missed.

The Last Outlaw is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

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

About the Author

USA Today bestseller and award-winning novelist Rosanne Bittner is highly acclaimed for her thrilling love stories and historical authenticity. Her epic romances span the West-from Canada to Mexico, Missouri to California-and are often based on Rosanne's personal visits to each setting. She lives with her husband and two sons in Michigan.

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