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Lena's Courage (Spirited Hearts Series) (Volume 2) Paperback – September 23, 2015
About the Author
Ruby Merritt writes historical western romance. Her passion for imagining life and love on the High Plains has its roots in reading and rereading Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House books as a child. Although Ruby doesn't call the High Plains her home, she resides in an equally beautiful and rustic locale, The Gateway to the Texas Hill Country. When Ruby's not reading or writing, she can be found riding her horse or homeschooling her children who are avid horsewomen and readers as well.
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4.5 Stars - This can be a stand alone but I recommend reading the 1st (Ella's Choice) to get more backround on existing characters that show up again in Lena's Courage.
This is the second book I have read by this author and I cannot express enough how much I appreciate her extensive research to ensure historical accuracy.
First I strongly suggest reading the prologue regarding the history of the bushwackers. I found it not only interesting, but also found it added to the atmosphere of the story.
Being part German, this book truly spoke to me on a personal level. I had to laugh out loud at how accurate Merrit's depiction of the German characters were. I especially roared with laughter when Lucas was remebering how his mother would say something like a penny saved is a penny earned, because my German grandmother was always so cost conscious too! Do not misunderstand, this is not a humours book, my laughter was personal as I related Merrits characters to my own German relatives.
This is again a difficult story to summarize but I will do my best.
Lena (heroine) was raped at the age 16 by antagonist Frank Piecere, a wealthy spoiled dandy. Lena ended up leaving for Missouri to live with her Aunt Miriam after finding out she was carrying the child of her rapist. She returns 6 years later (after confirming Frank Pierce is not living there any longer)to Cheynne wanting her son to meet, live and grow up with her loving German family.
Lucas Kline, is a lawyer who has moved to Cheynne only 3 months ago. He has not spoken to his German family in over ten years due to some unfortunate mishaps that he blames himself for. He also sadly, has set aside, and hidden his German heritage.
When Lena and her son Jonah arrive in town and surprisingly spot Frank Pierce, they quickly duck inside the first business they come to. Lucas Klines Law office.
And here the story begins!
I will not give away any more but I will say that I love the themes here of family, respect, trust, honor.
The author does a superior job at showing the struggles of rape victims as they try to pick up the pieces of their lives. I also found it interesting that the rapes that occurr in this story are "date rapes." In making them so, the author then expands into the psyche of the victims as they try to come to terms with guilt and fault.
The characters are very well developed and complex. I loved them all, including the secondary characters (especially Mutti). The antagonist was a real person, not cartoonish. I actually felt a little bit of sympathy for him as well.
The pace is slow and steady.. which I personally like, but it did seem to lag a bit from time to time, but not enough for me to skim.
I lowered a half a star for the slight lag in the already slower pace and because we never get the verbal ILY'S.
Yes it is beyond clear that Lucas and Lena truly love each other deeply.. no question about it BUT!!! They never actually say it to each other, and I was a little disappointed about that. Ok Ok, I know Germans are generally people who do not express emotion easily and I suspect this may be the reason the author chose to exclude it. And in all truth, it really didn't need to be said, but it would have been nice.
I really loved the heroine who was strong and courageous. The hero was just perfect!
Most of all.....I really love the fact that this author does not feel it necessary to write about or to expand upon the heros past women. In fact she mentions nothing of this heros past relationships and I so LOVE her for it!!!
So to my friends with triggers like me, here is a short list of what you may want to know:
1. No OW mentioned at all. Yeay!
2. Nothing ever mentioned about heros past, but he is apparently experienced.
3. Heroine was raped (not by hero) but it is not described in detail, it was in the past
4. Another woman gets raped (not by hero) but it is not described in detail.
5. Hero never cheats or strays
6. No cursing that I recall
7. 1 or 2 loving scenes done tastefully (and detailed)
Overall I will continue to read this authors work, and would absolutely recommend to all my friends.
Definitely recommend for historical romance lovers.
I believe 100% that all books containing rape or sexual assault should come with a warning. This is a topic many people are uncomfortable with for varying reasons, and can be unreasonably confronting if not prepared.
Merritt is a great story teller with very original characters. I loved the German ancestry that flows through this book as well as it reminds me of my childhood and hearing the same German words in my home.
Overall, this is a great addition to the Spirited Hearts Series! I am excited to see who the main characters will be for book 3, even though I think I have a suspicion. :)