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56 of 64 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon September 1, 2010
I once took a class during my graduate studies on the US Westward movement and how the public tends to romanticize the west. One of our assignments was to read a classic western novel. I chose to read one by Louis L'Amour and when I finished it, I deemed it to be pretty much a romance novel for a guy. Honestly, almost every western story I've read has been like that. Cowboys fighting Indians, a duel, stagecoach robberies, and a saloon with a bar fight seem to be the staples in these stories. That's exactly what this book gives, a traditional western story.

Emily is an interesting character right from the beginning of the story. Her situation is unusual and the circumstances she is placed in is very intriguing. I don't know if I could have been a mail order bride especially to someone I had absolutely no prior contact with. I found it interesting she completely trusted her seniors and even though she was being sent out for marriage, she didn't question them at all. Luke is a cowboy who's out for revenge and seeking justice for the death of his father. As fate would have it, the two characters meet up in a chance situation and soon become stuck with one another. The banter between the two in the beginning of the story is both humorous and endearing.

It's just sad to say that about halfway through the book, I just stopped caring for the characters. I didn't lose interest in the story but it became very predictable as to what was going to happen. I didn't see any huge conflict that could drive apart Emily and Luke so even though they would get separated at times, I always knew they were going to eventually reunite. I just didn't buy their love story because it happened VERY fast that they fell in love. Also, right from the beginning, I did not like Luke because of the way he treated Emily. He was acting in the stereotypical male lead of a romance story who thinks he's all big and bad and doesn't listen to what the woman has to say and always has to be right. I think the biggest kicker was him throwing Emily over shoulder in the beginning of the book like a sack of potatoes even though she clearly doesn't want to go with him. Not a good way for me to start liking you.

There's also quite a big of Christian talk throughout the book and sometimes I found it to be a bit heavy handed. Not a problem for some readers, but if you're coming in strictly for a western romance, it's a bit pushy at times. Overall, the story is interesting, but I just don't think it's for me. It might have to do with my dislike for western stories in general. If you are a fan, I do think you will like the book. There's lots of action to keep you interested. I just didn't think it was the book for me.
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on January 9, 2011
Bethany House Publishers sent me this complimentary copy to review for them.

"Luke Sullivan just wants to reclaim the money stolen from his father. One stagecoach heist later, his pockets are full and he's one feisty mail-order bride richer. Only problem is, she was on the way to marry his bitter enemy--and she doesn't take kindly to her "rescue." Yet crossing this dangerous man is only the beginning of Luke's problems. As he realizes what a true treasure the beautiful--but headstrong--redhead in his care is, how far will he go to prevent her prearranged marriage?"

Not one of my favorites. It started out pretty good, but then puttered out about halfway through and I just wanted to finish the book to finish it. The storyline lost it's luster in which the book lost it's audience, me, in the process.

If you like reading a fast, easy book with a western flare and lots of talk of faith, you'll like this one.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on November 5, 2010
Yvonne Harris


Bethany House


Reviewed by Cindy Loven

Set in Montana Territory in 1884, we find young Emily McCarthy on a stage coach on her way to be married to a total stranger. All arranged by the director of the orphanage where Emily was raised. Now that she is of age, they need the room she lives in so arrangements have been made. Emily is not happy about this at all, but has resigned herself to accepting it.

As she nears her destination, the stage is held up and robbed, and she is abducted after the "robber" finds out she is going to be married to Bart Axel, an older man who is rumored to have killed his last wife. Emily does not react kindly to her "rescue" or her rescuer.

This is a fast paced story that will draw you in and having you anxious to read it all. Full of danger, action and excitement you will not want to put down this book. You will sympathize with Emily as she tries to make sense of all the drama surrounding her, you will laugh at her antics as she tries to present a picture of a young woman in control of her destiny. You will feel the pain of the rescuer, Luke as he comes to terms with his childhood hurts. A truly marvelous, heart stirring story, this is the first book I have read from this author and I hope it is not the last, I totally enjoyed her writing style. Great book!

297 pages $14.99 US 5 stars

This book was provided for review purposes only by Bethany House Publishers. No payment was received for this review.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on February 10, 2011
When I stumbled across this book I thought, it would be a story about a strong female character whose life was entwined with a vigilate. I read the back of the book and thought the story was about a girl moving out west, having been sent for as a mail order bride. This is where the published missed the mark for the book.

The story was not about the bride. It started out that way and she seemed a fairly endearing character. A teacher at a girls school. After the first several chapters though the story evoles into a tail about the man that stumbles across the stage coach as it makes it's way toward an old rancher. The Vigilante takes issue with such a young girl taking up with an old man twice her age and kidnaps her to an orphanage. As though not a stretch the girl is thrust back into her previous life in a different location.

The Vigilante is not the old rancher who sent for the bride, though he is a bad man, but a man who wants to leave the vigilantes life for a simpler one. The tale unravels into a different tale altogether, and we barely get a sense for the true villian.

I found the plot decent albeit not what I'd expected. What I didn't count on was that as the story evolved it became less a strong female story as much as how a good man becomes a vigilante and decideds to leave the life, and try to make a good life for himself and regain his faith. Along the way the details of his past are sordid out and he realizes that what he once thought about his parents isn't the truth at all. He forgives his dead parents and seeks to punish those responsible for his parents downfall.

As for the bride she's lost in the story, and seems almost trivial. She becomes just another predictable tale about a girl that needs rescuing and the handsome prince that she meets along the way who saves her.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on August 6, 2011
This book does not live up to its description or to the hype of the 4 and 5 star reviews. The story is not engaging: the bad guy rarely appears to do anything bad, the "climax" is resolved easily and with almost no drama, I did not really connect with the characters, and the book was not about the vigilante's bride at all. I was expecting a completely different story. The book was promising in the beginning, but I think the author tried to do too much. She introduced a story line, and never followed through with it, and then just wrote one line at the end to tie up the line unsatisfactorily. For example, a land deed was wrong, she builds it was like it was going to be a huge part of the story, and then in the end has one character tell another to bring it up when he goes to Washington. What? Why bother with it at all? The writing was poor and was very formulaic. When I read the book, I got the impression that the author read a bunch of romance novels, though to herself, "Hey, I could do that," and followed a very obvious formula, with poor writing and dialogue, to create this book. Don't buy into the gushing reviews, and don't waste your time.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 17, 2010
Emily McCarthy grew up in an orphanage and is now on her way from Chicago to Montana Territory as a mail order bride. But she never makes it to her wedding since her stagecoach is robbed and she is abducted. And it's a good thing too because she was going to marry Bart Axel, a nasty man and the enemy of Luke Sullivan, her abductor. Axel is not pleased with Luke and plans to get rid of him, for reasons other than Emily, but things don't turn out as either of the cowboys planned.

It's been a long time since I read a Western romance. The Vigilante's Bride was an entertaining read and I enjoyed it. The romance is predictable, but the setting and the circumstances had me interested until the last page. To tell you the truth, I was waiting for Bart to try to get Emily back or abduct her too--something to build more tension and threaten the budding relationship between Luke and Emily. Axel didn't bother to get her back, and after their initial encounter, I never felt Emily was in danger from Bart Axel. Things came quite easy for her, as a matter of fact, a little too easy. Emily ends up staying at New Hope, another orphanage where she teaches the children and fits right in.

Harris writes about the Wild West with knowledge. I learned a thing or two about cattle rustling, land boundaries and the Crow Indians. It was a wild territory where men took the law into their own hands, including Luke Sullivan. He reminded me of Lucky Luke. I enjoyed the banter between Luke and Emily, which was sometimes silly but mostly downright funny. I wish there had been more of it. Emily wasn't your typical female and although I enjoyed their spats, there wasn't enough physical attraction between them. Their first kiss failed to move me, and I didn't feel it moved Emily all that much either!

Also, I felt the tough, gun-slinging, fast-shooting ex-vigilante cowboy didn't suit the image of a praying devout person nor, at times, the feisty Emily who was a little too forthright and thought nothing of massaging the naked back of a man, a very intimate gesture. This made me question two things: First: Why would the headmistress of New Hope let Emily take care of Luke alone in his room? Propriety was not questioned during several occasions, and I found this a little unrealistic for the late 1800 Christian setting. Second: Wouldn't an 18-year-old girl with little exposure to society react at the sight of a strapping cowboy's torso? Not Emily. No elevated heartbeat, no blushing, no obvious attraction. I'm not saying the author should have avoided the situation, but I would have expected some repercussions, whatever they would have been. It would have rendered the story more realistic and served as romantic tension between the couple.

However, I did enjoy the story, and if you like a clean Western romance the story is well written and captivating.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon September 8, 2010
I usually love mail-order bride stories, and I even like an occasional western, but the combination of both in this book just did not do it for me. I'm not sure where it started to go wrong, but overall, the story did not flow well.

I came into the story expecting Emily's point of view. After all, the story is called "The Vigilante's Bride," emphasis on bride. She came out west as a mail-order bride to this foul man, which she, thankfully, did not have to marry. Once she was released of her marital obligations, the story switched to Luke's point of view. He's the vigilante of the story, and that's really where I lost interest. There seemed to be too much focus on the unrest between the New Hope ranch where Luke and Emily were living, and the ranch owned by Bart Axel, the man Emily came out west to marry. Also, there was little to no romance, and hardly any character development, particularly for Emily.

If you're looking for a story about a mail-order bride, then let me suggest Lori Copeland or Amanda Cabot. As for western stories, I highly recommend Mary Connealy. All of these authors weave excellent stories that will hold your interest...I guarantee it. My rating for The Vigilante's Bride is 2 Stars.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 7, 2011
I found this book fairly boring, at times downright awful. I also feel the book is totally misnamed. The woman is NOT married to the vigilante. I will not be on the look out for other titles by this author.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 8, 2011
I hate these kinds of books. The kind that have a great plot and likeable characters, but just falls short. The premise behind Emily's trek to the West is a great one. She is kicked out of an orphanage and is to marry Mr. Axel who ends up being the bad guy. Luke "saves" her (of course)from a stagecoach, he is robbing. This is where the story falls a little flat. The Author rushes through the reason Luke robs the stagecoach and rushes through his past even more! The love story between Emily and Luke is vague and once again rushed. The main part of the story is about cattle rustling. Which, is ok except the title is "Vigilante's Bride" Not Vigilante and the Cattle Rustlers". I kept reading and reading and it never did it for me, which is so disappointing. The idea behind the story is a great one, it just wasn't executed properly.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon November 2, 2010
I probably never would have chosen this book if Bethany House hadn't offered me a free copy to review, but I would have missed out on a great story! This one had it all, dangerous cowpoke with sticky marshmallow center, prim schoolmarm with heart of gold and lots of bad guys trying to get the drop on them! And if that wasn't enough it was chock full of charming orphan kids and a bunch of Indians to boot! It kept me reading till I finished the last page. And to put the icing on the cake and the cherry on top, the main characters had a relationship with God that didn't seem contrived by the author to get the "Christian Fiction" label on her book. I highly recommend this one and can't wait to see what else this author has available or coming soon!
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