Title: Heartbreak Creek by Kaki Warner
Runaway Bride Series, Book 1
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Genre: Historical, Romance
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B
From Kaki Warner comes an exciting new series about four unlikely brides who make their way west-and find love where they least expect it…
Edwina Ladoux hoped becoming a mail-order bride would be her way out of the war- torn South and into a better life, but as soon as she arrives in Heartbreak Creek, Colorado, and meets her hulking, taciturn groom, she realizes she’s made a terrible mistake.
Declan Brodie already had one flighty wife who ran off with a gambler before being killed by Indians. He’s hoping this new one will be a practical, sturdy farm woman who can help with chores and corral his four rambunctious children. Instead, he gets a skinny Southern princess who doesn’t even know how to cook.
Luckily, Edwina and Declan agreed on a three-month courtship period, which should give them time to get the proxy marriage annulled. Except that as the weeks pass, thoughts of annulment turn into hopes for a real marriage- until Declan’s first wife returns after being held captive for the last four years. Now an honorable man must choose between duty and desire, and a woman who’s never had to fight for anything must do battle for the family she’s grown to love…
The first installment in Kaki Warner’s Runaway Bride series, Heartbreak Creek is a delightfully heartwarming novel that sweet, sexy and filled with adventure. Edwina Ladoux and Declan Brodie’s marriage is off to a rocky beginning with their inauspicious first meeting. Will this couple overcome their misgivings about their marriage and misconceptions of one another and find everlasting love?
Appearances can be deceiving and first impressions are sometimes misleading. Declan Brodie and Edwina quickly learn this lesson following their first meeting as husband and wife. At first glance, Edwina appears delicate and quite proper. Although she occasionally dithers and appears flighty, Edwina she possesses a backbone of steel and a steely determination to make a new life for herself as Declan’s wife and stepmother to his four children.
Declan is a larger than life and hardworking rancher with more than his share of troubles. He has more work than hours in the day and his children are in desperate need of a mother. Declan is dedicated to his family, and he will do whatever it takes to protect them.
Edwina and Declan are well-drawn and three dimensional protagonists. They are strong characters with realistic flaws. They both carry some pretty heavy baggage from past relationships yet neither becomes mired down in their self perceived failures. Both possess a wonderful sense of humor, and it is a sheer delight to see them work through their issues and discover the love they share.
The secondary cast of characters is equally well-developed and likable. Declan’s children are rambunctious with four distinct personalities. Their resistance to Edwina’s new role in their life is understandable and Edwina slowly but surely finds her way into their hearts. Edwina’s new friendship with Lucinda and Maddie is endearing and lays the foundation for the future novels of the Runaway Bride series.
But the most compelling and interesting secondary characters are Prudence Lincoln and Thomas Redstone. Through their characters, Ms. Warner realistically approaches the racial prejudices and inequalities that existed in the aftermath of the Civil and Indian Wars.
With a richly drawn cast of characters, a vibrant setting and an engaging storyline, Kaki Warner brings Heartbreak Creek vividly to life. Fans of historical romances are sure to fall in love with this beautifully written romance.