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Prairie Moon Mass Market Paperback – October 29, 2002

26 customer reviews

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The Scarlet Letter Scandal (Scarlet Letter Society) by Mary T. McCarthy
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

For ten years, Della Ward has struggled with guilt over the tone of the last letter she sent to her husband, Clarence, before he was killed during the Civil War. Now she is forced to resolve her feelings when gun-slinging lawman James Cameron, who was with her husband when he died, brings her Clarence's last letter and with it an account of his final minutes. But Cameron's calm, cool exterior is deceptive, hiding a guilty secret that he knows he must eventually share, even though it could destroy them both. Set against the stark background of post-Civil War Texas, this well-developed, character-driven Western romance clearly depicts the realities of the times and beautifully describes the developing relationship between Della and James and their reluctance to embrace it. With her classic flair and with great sensitivity, Osborne has penned an intense story of two emotionally fragile people who find healing and hope in their love for each other. Readers will be waiting. Winner of both a RITA Award and the Romance Writers of America's Lifetime Achievement Award, Osborne (The Bride of Willow Creek) lives in Colorado.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.


“One of the best writers in the business.”
New York Times bestselling author

“Wit, style, and class. Maggie Osborne is a storyteller who consistently delivers all three.”


Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Ivy Books; Reissue edition (October 29, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804119902
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804119900
  • Product Dimensions: 4 x 0.8 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,763,011 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Huntress Reviews on November 17, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Though she has lived a rough and scandalous life, Della Ward has been drilled in the ways of proper society. Despite this, she is drawn to gunslinger Cameron, who appears on her doorstep one day with a last message from her late husband.
The beautiful, young widow has been haunted by her husband's death for years, and by the mistake of giving up her child to her in laws to raise. When Cameron convinces her to go and just see her daughter, even if only from a distance, they set out on a perilous cross country journey that will bring them closer to giving in to the temptation of one another, even though a terrible secret and haunting grief stand between them.
***** A memorable and unique story is told in this novel. Two scarred and troubled individuals find exactly what they need in one another's arms, only to be almost wrenched apart by the truth. The pain they share will touch your heart, and their passion will ignite your blood. *****
Reviewed by Amanda Killgore.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Sarah on December 11, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This story of two hurt and broken souls, James Cameron and Della, is an interesting and poignant read. It is hard to actually write a review for this story without giving away too much of the story. James Cameron is a lawman/bounty hunter in the West following the American Civil War in the 1870's. He's running from his past and more importantly, himself. War changes people and after a close up killing during a battle, James is determined not to kill any more and fix things as best as he can by being a lawman and upholding the code of what is right. Unfortunately, this means that he has a lonely existence and really does not care whether he lives or dies (and ironically ends up killing more people because he has such a quick draw and is a legend).
Della lives in Texas and has also had a hard time of things. A Northerner trapped in the South during the War, she marries a young Southern gentleman. His family/mother never accepted her and was abusive towards her. She is young, lost and scared when she writes her husband that she needs him and that she hates him. He dies with that as his last communication from Della and she is racked with guilt about this last correspondence.
James carries around Della's picture for ten years before coming to talk to her. Thus basically STARTS the story. The books centers around their growing feeling for each other and a "quest" for Della to face her in-laws and regain custody of her daughter. James is quiet and does not talk much, but what he does have to say is incredible. My only criticism with the story is that it is a bit slow paced until the end. I like the idea that these two get to spend time together and have their relationship grow slowly, but to me, at points, the story dragged. But, with its wonderful character building and excellent writing, I thoroughly enjoyed Ms. Osbourne's newest release.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Serene Night on July 28, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I'm a fan of Maggie Osborne's novels. But I found Prairie Moon to be tiresome. Mostly because I just didn't like either Della Ward (the heroine), or James Cameron (the hero.) Della was too self-pitying. Cameron also suffered from his share of overblown angst, but was also a bit cold. The whole 'quest' to find Claire (the daughter Della was forced to give up at 17) was very unsatisfying.

I like Osborne best when she sticks to Americana, but also when the subject matter is a little more upbeat. This novel dwelled a bit too much on the past (the fate of Della's late husband Clarence), and the fate of her child (Claire), and not on the relationship or current situation of either of the main two characters. Because Claire and James' pasts were not that upbeat, I found it a trifle maudlin and not very romantic. My advice? Skip Prairie Moon, unless you simply MUST read an author's entire backlist.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By janlouise on August 3, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It had a different story line to it - and I liked it. Della had struggled for years with the death of her husband, Clarence (a rebel soldier during the CW). She never was able to tell him her true feelings before his death to apologize for the tone in her last letter to him. Not knowing if he even got it. Then James Cameron, a gun-drawin' lawman, show up bringing up memories all over again. James, who was with her husband when he died, brings Clarence's last letter to Della along with all of the letters that Della had written Clarence and their wedding picture found on his body, forcing her to resolve her feelings. Only there is some misconception here because Della is thinking James was a friend of Clarence's when actually he was the yankee soldier that killed Clarence and has lived with the guilt of it all these years. And with all of this going on - James is staying with Della on her farm, sleeping in the barn, seeing how poorly she is living. He starts helping out and they get close spending time together. It is the sweetest story. For me it was an intense story with a twist at the end. I enjoyed it and hope you give it a try.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jane VINE VOICE on February 21, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Ten years earlier, Della was married to Clarence a Confederate soldier. He was killed in battle. She was pregnant and living with Clarence's parents in Atlanta. The parents didn't like her and sent her to live on a small farm in Texas without her daughter. She receives a small amount of money each month to live on. Della still grieves for her husband and her daughter.

James was a soldier in the Civil War. He was there when Clarence died. Clarence wrote a letter to Della which James has been carrying for ten years. Finally he travels to her Texas home and gives her the letter. He stays a while, fixing things like the barn roof. Now he offers to finance a trip taking her to Atlanta to visit her daughter, and they do this. After the war James became a fast-draw-gunslinger-lawman-bounty hunter. Someone wrote a book about him making him famous. Now he is always on the alert for hot shots who want to kill him and show that they're faster.

This was not a fun romance story. The last fifty pages were kind of good, but I'd throw out the first 300 pages. It was sad, vague, too much pondering. The subject matter was a downer with Della grieving for her lost husband, daughter, and her lost life. And then James was troubled with guilt about killing soldiers during the war. I never understood why James waited ten years to give Clarence's letter to Della. He should have visited her sooner. Finally things start happening at the end. But even then I didn't like some of the things in that part of the story. I didn't like the way Della got mad at James and left him. I didn't like the way they planned for Luke to solve James' problem. I would have done it differently. What they did was too risky. I liked James.
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