Monday, January 28, 2008
Texas Splendor - Lorraine Heath
Another reread this final book in Heath's Texas trilogy and another A read. However this one had a few things I didn't like.
The trilogy of the Leigh family about three Texas-born brothers continues. After spending five long years in a Texas penitentiary, Austin Leigh is free to return home, only to find his sweetheart is now married. Despondent and alone, Austin sets out to clear his name of the crime he didn't commit. En route to the state capitol, he meets a young girl and her dog, the survivors of a mysterious tragedy. Together, the young couple will find redemption, forgiveness, and a true love greater than either could have imagined.
What I did like was Loree and Austin! I liked both their personalities, how they got to know each and fell in love. How knowing and understanding each other was a big part and important part of their relationship and how Heath made it slowly happen. do feel Heath is particularly gifted in conveying the characters emotions. We really feel what they feel so to speak.
Loree and Austin are forced to marry after they spend a night together and she finds herself with child. Not one to run aways from his responsabilities Austin decides to marry her and build a relationship with her. They return to Leighton where they plan on staying with his family but also where he has to face a city who believes him a murderer and where his best friend who betrayed him with his girlfriend also live.
What I didn't like was exactly how that situation was handled. Austin is scarred by 5 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit and when he is released he discovers the woman he went to prison to protect didn't even wait for him and married his best friend. I was first annoyed that when Becky saw Austin the first thing she does is scream at him because he hit her husband. There was no I'm sorry I didn't wait for you? Life happens and 5 years is a long time, I understand that she married Cameron. But Austen spent 5 years in prison just to save her reputation and she can't show him any kindness or understanding when she meets him again? I wish he had posted that announcement in the paper about having slept with her!! Besides they never attempt to talk to him and explain. He is the one who does all the work of understanding and finally making the peace with them. I did not like it! I'm tired of characters too good for their own good!
Fortunately Becky and Cameron are kept in the background for most of the book but even so the influence of their actions is felt through most of it. Loree is unsure of herself after she sees how beautiful Becky is, she is unsure of Austin's love for most of the book. But I also felt Heath dealt really well with all this. It never leads to a misunderstanding but to Loree and Austin getting to know each other better. After he buries his past Austin is the most atentive husband and never leaves Loree in any doubt that he really loves her.
From the beginning we are subtly told that Loree is hiding a secret and near the end it all come to light to provide a neat ending. I was annoyed again because if Duncan could ask for a conviction why couldn't Cameron and Dee say something for the defense too? But this is just to show how involved I was in the story.
I've read other Heath books but I never again felt the magic we have in this Texas trilogy. Couldn't she just write about the Leigh children? There is a whole lot of them and I would like to know more!