Thursday, July 22, 2010

Review: AND ONE RODE WEST by Heather Graham

I’ve never really read anything remotely Western before.  For some reason, the Wild West period in history just doesn’t appeal to me.  However, I met Heather Graham at RT a couple months ago and found her to be a very nice woman, so when I saw this book on the shelf at Goodwill, I thought I would give it a shot. 

And One Rode West is one of Graham’s earlier novels and the third in her Civil War series.  (No, it is not necessary to read these in order, since each novel follows a different member of the same family.)  The novel opens in the early days after the Civil War has ended and Reconstruction is ravaging the South.  Christa lived through the war in her family’s Virginia plantation house with her sister-in-laws and several freed slaves.  No longer a Southern Belle, Christ is tough and has learned how to survive off the land.  As a Rebel, she has an extreme fear and fear of Yankees.  When some Northerner illegally attempts to take the family home and land from her, Christa is willing to do anything to save it, including convincing her Yankee brother-in-law whom she detests to marry her.  (If a Yankee has legitimate claim to the property, it will prevent the seizure.)  The brother-in-law Jeremy agrees to marry her, but insists it be a “real” marriage.  As a Colonel in the Army, he is being sent to lead troops west into Indian Territory.  He forces Christa to come with him. 

Much of the novel is spent with these two fighting the fact that they love each other.  Christa has a hot temper and can be unreasonable.  She thinks about herself and the South first, always putting her husband’s needs last.  Jeremy is stubborn and gives up trying too easy.  The love story in this book can get rather frustrating.  There were times when I almost wished the Comanche would run off with Christa so Jeremy could find a woman who appreciated him.  As for his attraction to her, it almost seems purely physical.  He is struck by her beauty and his sexual feelings for her.  As a result, she is able to manipulate him with seduction.  I’m just not a big Christa fan. 

One thing I liked about this book was the history involved.  It is obvious that Graham did a lot of research about the Civil War and the Native Tribes of the time.  She also provided a somewhat balanced view, not taking sides between the North and the South.  Instead, she describes both of their arguments and faults. 

Overall, I give And One Rode West

Plot – 2 ½ bookmarks
Character Development – 2 bookmarks
Love Story – 1 ½ bookmark
History – 3 bookmarks
Dream Cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) – Megan Fox (Christa), Eric Dane (Jeremy)

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