200 pgs (61K words)
Bold Strokes Books
Buy it BSB (ebook, paper), Amazon (paper), ARe (ebook)
By Guest Reviewer- Jill Sorenson
In 1860's Montana Territory, Kate Beecher, a young woman from Boston, faces the hardships and hard choices of life on the frontier. Just eighteen and quietly struggling against the social constraints of the era, Kate meets a woman who fires first her imagination, and then her dreams. Jessie Forbes, a fiercely independent rancher, finds in Kate the passion she never knew she had been missing.
This is the story of their struggle to love in a land, and time, as cruel as it was beautiful.
Since my last review, I’ve been on a mission to find a good f/f romance. I’ve spent hours browsing ebooks online, but the offerings are meager and I’m picky about my purchases. Bad covers and awkwardly written blurbs are common. Most of the excerpts I read (if I get that far) don’t sell me on the book. It’s frustrating.
So I decided to look elsewhere: the library. In the comments thread at Dear Author, LVLM mentioned Bold Strokes Books and Mfred recommended an author named Radclyffe. I was able to request several of her titles, including Tomorrow’s Promise and Innocent Hearts.
I liked Tomorrow’s Promise, a contemporary romance set in a sleepy coastal town, but it wasn’t a homerun for me. Innocent Hearts was. I really, really loved it.
This historical romance, set in the Montana territory in the 1860s, opens with Kate Beecher, an 18-year-old girl from Boston. She moves to the wild frontier with her parents and finds it breathtaking. Even more breathtaking is Jessie Forbes, a young female rancher she meets at a round-up. Kate has never been interested in her male suitors, and neither has Jessie, but they don’t know why. The women are confused and exhilarated by their mutual attraction. They fall in love before they even share a kiss; this is very much an affair of the heart.
When Kate and Jessie finally realize what they are feeling, they express it physically and emotionally, exploring their newfound sexuality. The love scenes are sweet and sensual. Although Kate and Jessie want to be together forever, they have to keep the relationship a secret, and face many hardships. Kate’s parents want her to marry a man, naturally. These struggles are dealt with in a way that seemed true to the time period and to Radclyffe’s style, which relies heavily on passionate declarations and near-tragic occurrences.
The setting details are well done, and that Radclyffe’s portrayal of a tight-knit ranching community seems authentic, if a bit idyllic. Kate and Jessie are strong, likeable characters. Their love for each other is so powerful it’s almost overwhelming. They will do anything, risk anything, to be together. While some readers might consider this aspect melodramatic, or find the innocence of the characters unrealistic, I ate it up with a spoon. If I had one nitpick, it would be that the sex scenes weren’t quite explicit enough. *blush*
I feel a glom coming on.