Guess what … I’m reviewing a book today!
Okay, I guess it’s not all that surprising considering that’s just about all I do here, but … but …? YAY I ANNOUNCED IT! IT’S OFFICIAL!
Now, y’all know I
obsess over like historical romances, particularly the Christian or Inspirational type … but it’s very rarely that they’re set in the Old West! And rarely to they involve kidnappings and bandits and all kinds of awesome, hilarious characters.
(Also, for some reason I replaced all the the‘s in the subtitles with le‘s. I have no idea why, but when inspiration strikes …? You’re right, I should have ignored it …)
About le Book
Red Dickerson is shocked to see a young woman running through the woods in the freezing rain. He’d gone to the far end of Hawk’s Wing Ranch to think after his engagement was broken by the woman he planned to marry. Recognizing her as Gema Volkovichna, one of the women from Sanctuary House, he spurs his horse to go after her. Finding she’s escaped after being kidnapped by the infamous King Gang, he vows to keep her safe.
Gema Volkovichna is one of the newest women to come to Sanctuary House in Stones Creek, Colorado. She came to find work and possibly a husband. When a spring blizzard forces them to spend three days alone in a line shack, there’s only one conclusion. She and Red must marry to salvage her reputation.
Can Gema and Red learn to be husband and wife? Will love grow from this forced marriage? Will the King Gang return to reclaim what they lost? Can Red and Gema learn to dance together to the MUSIC of HER HEART?
About le Author
Her first books were all historical fiction romance. They’ve won multiple awards and garnered rave reviews. Now, Sophie has branched out into contemporary romance though she plans to continue writing historical and hopes to add more books in her popular Cottonwood and Stones Creek series.
Sophie lives with her husband and very old cat on a farm in western Illinois. She’s an avid seamstress and was a professional quilter for a number of years before the writing bug bit. She’s just thankful it’s not fatal.
Title: Music of Her Heart
Author: Sophie Dawson
Series: Stone Creek Ladies, #2
Genre: Christian Western Romance
Era: mid/late 1800s
Setting: Wyoming (Old West)
Source: from author (in exchange for honest review)
Overall Rating: 3.5/5 stars
I wasn’t sure what to think going into this book. All I knew was the genre and that it involved an arranged marriage (something I’ve become very skeptical of in past years – they tend to have almost-but-not-quite sex scenes, not something I appreciate at all).
But you know what? I’m glad that I asked to read it! It really was a special book, and I found it pretty entertaining. I did have a few problems (and I did end up finding the content to be a little much) – but, overall, it was a great story!
I felt like a strongly-structured plot was perhaps this book’s weakest point. Just before halfway through the book, about half of the plot was resolved, and I didn’t care about the other half twice as much (especially since I haven’t read the first book).
It felt that – at times – the story just went on and on, incorporating different scenarios, but never quite adhering to traditional story structure – something that is very necessary for a well-written novel.
It wasn’t exactly a boring plot, though, and I did enjoy it. I thought it was an intriguing idea, and I found many parts exciting.
Loved the characters! Very well-developed and interesting. They all had different personalities, different quirks, different backgrounds … basically everything that makes a colorful, assorted, attention-grabbing cast was here.
My favorite was probably Gema. (And yes, I do realize it’s cliche to love the heroine, but how can I help it?) She was just such a sweet character, and I feel so sorry for her! I enjoyed her love of music and her struggles with the English language (just like me! 😉 ).
Red also seemed like a great guy. It was funny how he thought he was an “old geezer” at thirty-something. That made me laugh.
The one problem I had was that I struggled to keep them apart (there was a large cast), and I didn’t really know anything about their backgrounds (most of the women had terrible pasts), so I was a bit lost. However, if I’d read the first book, I’m sure it would all make sense, so I won’t detract points for that.
It wasn’t all that notable to me (mostly because it’s a setting I’m pretty familiar with, haha), but it was still well-developed. I loved the descriptions of the terrain, felt they were satisfactory, and couldn’t ask for more or less. Just right.
I also loved the details about Gema’s Russian background.
Also, does anyone else really want to get stuck in a blizzard? Not with a man, duh, but in a nice cozy cabin in the mountains? I know it’s terribly inconvenient and you might freeze to death and you’ll be super bored … but I want to. *can’t explain my weird thoughts* I just think it sounds fun!
I enjoyed Sophie Dawson’s writing style. It was very exciting, and it had an air of movement to it, if that makes any sense – almost poetic, but not superfluous. It was also well-edited.
Violence: some shooting (including a gunfight), some blood, a gunshot wound, few to no details, nothing graphic
Sexual: talk about something being improper (the main characters must marry because they spent several nights together in a cabin, snowed in – nothing happened), kisses and snuggling (not detailed), Gema and Red both fear and then anticipate their wedding night (which they end up delaying several months, though they do share a bed). They think about this a lot. When they eventually consummate their marriage, we know that it happens though it’s not described. Afterwards, they reflect that ‘everything is going all right in that area,’ etc. Gema also asks one of her friends for advice beforehand, and Gema ‘schemes’ to create this perfect ‘wedding night’ scenario which is frankly uncomfortable for me.
This all worries me, quite frankly. I mean, in some ways I hate to condemn a book when the characters did it ‘right’ – getting married, actually being loving to each other, etc. If I weren’t an unmarried teen, I might not mind it.
More Sexual Content:
Several characters have terrible backstories including rape, prostitution, other sexual abuse, etc. Though it’s not talked about a lot, it is there, and they are fairly frank about it. Women rejoice that Gem didn’t get raped, and her being spared is talked about often. The King Gang has a history of kidnapping women and using them as slaves, also sexually abusing them. It was fairly tastefully handled, but still there.
Okay for 15+ (possibly with some parental guidance depending upon maturity level). Not recommended for younger teens or middle grade readers. A star removed for content.
Though I really enjoyed this book, I ended up giving it a lower rating due to content. It was just too much for me personally. However, this is no reflection upon the book or author as I am a young unmarried woman – a mature, married woman would be find with this book.
Anyway, this was an exciting, interesting story. I enjoyed the characters, plot, and setting – as well as the writing – and hope to read more by Sophie Dawson in the future.
In honor of the Music of Her Heart Blog Tour, Sophie is giving away one print copy of Music of Her Heart along with an autographed tote bag. Also, two Kindle copies will be awarded. Winners will be notified by email – keep your eyes open for an email from Sophie Dawson.
You can enter here.
Le Tour Schedule
Rachel Rossano’s Words – Excerpt
Well, that’s all for today! I hope you enjoyed the review – remember to go check out the other posts in this tour, enter the giveaway, and check the book out!
Do you enjoy westerns? If so, what are some of your favorites? How much is too much content in a book for your taste? Are you going to check out the other blogs in this tour?