Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Westerns and Cowboys . . . A Journey of Discovery

For most of my life I have shuddered when contemplating reading any kind of Western fiction. In my growing up days we were awash with Western movies, Zane Grey novels along with other Western action authors, the Lone Ranger, Paladin, Have Gun Will Travel, and other like shows that inundated TV programming. It was either a Western or I Love Lucy (which I refuse to watch anymore because that was all that was on when my kids were growing up.)

So now I am faced with an entirely new kind of romance fiction and one that has found a very comfortable niche as a contributor to erotic romance. So what's an old adversary to Westerns going to do with all this erotica set in the West, with Texas/Oklahoma cowboys that are reported to be gorgeous, tall, with their iron-set chins, their 5 o'clock shadow, a Stetson that casts a mysterious shadow over their solemn faces, and jeans that just keep on looking better and better the older they get? Why, give in, of course!!

Thanks to authors like Linda Lael Miller, Carolyn Brown, Sandra Hill, Lorelei James, Heather Rainier, Missy Martine, Jodi Thomas and others, this ole gal is having a blast with cowboys. Cowboy romance is IN and it is very revealing when surfing through the various ebook publishers at the really extensive line-up of publications available. Whatever your preference, there are cowboy stories to fit the bill. They come in singles, doubles, triples, and more. If menage is your bag, there are cowboys to fill your reading hours. If you like the old fashioned historical variety, authors like Beth Williamson can provide scads of wonderful cowboys who may be drifters, old soldiers from the Civil War days, ranchers, bounty hunters--you name it, you can find it.

My finest discovery, however, is the groups of books such as the Rough Riders from Lorelei James and the Creeds from Linda Lael Miller. Such good writing, such unique heroes and getting to know an entire family has an addictive effect when a reader begins to feel that they know these characters personally. Beth Williamson has written a seven-book series about a historical Malloy family that I found fascinating. And like all historical fiction, these romps through the Old West are educational as they are entertaining. (When I was teaching school I would often find a historical novel that highlighted the time period we were studying in history class. The students took to those books lots better than they did to the history textbook!) And who can forget those captivating heroes in Sarah McCarty's books--men who really don't figure on being steady and dependable husbands and family men, but discover that the love of a very good woman makes a world of difference. I have just finished a trilogy from Miller about the Creeds of Lonesome Bend, Colorado that I really enjoyed. In fact, they were so good that I was really upset when each book ended. That has to be the mark of some really good writing! Who would have thought only a handful of years ago that I would be eating up those cowboy novels.

What am I reading right now? Well, I just finished a review for The Book Binge

entitled Love Drunk Cowboy by Carolyn Brown. It was the first Brown novel I had ever read, and perhaps that made me more aware of her as an author. Lo and behold, All-Romance eBooks were offering two of her novels at a reduced price and even if I hadn't ever read some of Ms Brown's books previously, the reduced price really got my attention. (Those who know me really understand that statement.) Now I am enjoying Hell, Yeah, a part of her Honky Tonk series. Narly, prickly, I-don't-need-a-man-in-my-life heroine, a gorgeous, intrepid, and transcient cowboy who gives her a New Year's kiss and manages to sneak past her defenses-- it is such a fun story with rockem sockem characters, witty conversation, improbable action and surprises all along the way. Each book in the series is about a new owner of the Honky Tonk bar, each is a woman who has had her fill of irreverent men and impersonal affairs, and who have come to feel that the Honky Tonk is really a good place to focus her energies.

So needless to say, there are a variety of historical and contemporary cowboy-related books in my TBR pile--an entire series from some authors that I have picked up for myself at the second hand book store and some that are awaiting review and which will be released soon. Like other types of romance fiction, these stories embracing the ranching lifestyle or highlighting rodeo or just involving cowboys in a variety of settings, they are fun reading and most come with their own Happily Ever After. (Got to have that at least a good portion of the time.) I really can't believe how far I have come. After all, and I certainly know this better now than ever, a good romance is a good romance, no matter the setting. Finding love in a messy world is a great discovery, no matter where or with whom.

So let's get on our literary horse and ride that cowboy book . . . well, actually, if you can find a cowboy, that's even better!!


Artemis said...

I have always been fascinated by our Western history. Going so far as to read biographies of some of The West's more colorful figures. My favorite being Doc Holliday; another Kit Carson. So reading western historical romance is only second nature to me.

Chris said...

I've tried, and the cowboy thing just does nothing for me.

Dr J said...

Ad an addendum: I don't know why I have begun to like them . . . really didn't for so many years. But for now they keep my interest.

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