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The Promise of Jenny Jones Mass Market Paperback – Large Print, April 1, 1997
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Don't let the title of this book prevent you from reading one of the most moving historical romances of 1997! A tearjerker from the very start, you have no idea where this story is going to end up. Imprisoned in a Mexican jail and condemned to die, Jenny Jones hasn't lived a traditional life. When a dying woman offers Jenny her life in exchange for a promise, Jenny believes she has bested the barter. But one thing about Jenny--she may steal, fight, curse, and spit, but she doesn't lie, and a promise means more to her than life. Jenny Jones is one of the strongest, most compelling romance heroines ever written.
About the Author
Maggie Osborne is the author of over fifty category and historical romance novels, written as Margaret St. George and Maggie Osborne. Maggie is a former national President of Romance Writers of America, and a co-founder of NINC, an organization for multi-published authors. She has been regularly featured in the Doubleday Book Club and is published worldwide as well as in audio and large print editions. Among the many awards Maggie has won are a RITA for Best Long Historical from the Romance Writers of America, and a RITA for Lifetime Achievement. She has many Career Achievement awards from Romantic Times, including an award for Best Category novel of the year.
Maggie and her husband live in Northern Nevada.
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Jenny was thrown out of her home by her mother at age ten. She supported herself by driving mules, skinning buffalo, and just about anything other than selling her body. She's strong, tall, and holds her own in fights with men. She believes she's on the ugly side. She cusses a lot. Her one source of pride is her honesty and she never breaks a promise. While on a job in Mexico Jenny killed a man who attacked her. She is in jail awaiting execution when Marguarita visits her. Marguarita expects to die soon of tuberculosis. Marguarita offers to be executed in Jenny's place. In return she wants Jenny to take her six-year-old daughter Graciela to northern California to be raised by Graciela's father Robert. Jenny agrees and they change places. Marguarita has Graciela delivered to Jenny with a horse, food, and money. Jenny and Graciela take off. At this time Graciela hates Jenny and wants to return to her Mexican relatives.
Marguarita's family is Mexican. Robert's family is Caucasian. They are both wealthy families living next to each other in northern California. The fathers were in a long-time feud, hating each other. Marguarita's father threw her out when she became pregnant and married Robert. Marguarita went to Mexico to live with relatives. Marguarita knows that her Mexican cousins will kill Graciela so they can inherit from her wealthy father Don (who is in California). Robert's father threatened to disown him, so Robert stayed in California to protect his own inheritance. He didn't leave to be with Marguarita.
Robert's father recently died. Robert now feels free to be with Marguarita. He asks his younger brother Ty to travel to Mexico to bring her back with their daughter. Ty does this and meets Jenny and learns what happened. He steals Graciela from Jenny. Jenny steals Graciela back. Along the way the cousins steal Graciela and try to kill Jenny and Ty.
Very sweet story - a few scenes had me teary eyed with happiness. It's the traditional romantic ending - everything wraps up neatly and perfectly. Nothing unusual or edgy, but that is ok. It's what you'd expect for a romance written in 1997. I was so happy that there were none of my pet peeves (for example no vague communication causing misunderstandings). There's nothing heavy about this. It's just a fun escape to take your mind to another place for a while. The three main characters don't like each other at first, but that changes. I enjoyed watching the development of those changes.
The interaction and dialogue among the three characters is good. Jenny and Ty are both people of integrity, used to working alone. Jenny doesn't like children and doesn't know how to interact with them. She speaks to Graciela as if she were a grownup. Graciela doesn't like or trust Jenny. Ty is swoon worthy with the way he slowly and consistently seduces Jenny with sweet words.
Story length: 377 pages. Swearing language: mild, including religious swear words. Sexual language: mild. Number of sex scenes: 3. Estimated number of sex scene pages: 13. Setting: late 1800s mostly Mexico and California. Copyright: 1997. Genre: historical western romance.
There is only one thing tragically wrong with this book: it's not an ebook readily available for anyone who loves extraordinary, intelligent storytelling and lively, unique and achingly funny characters. This is just flat-out magnificent. MAGNIFICENT. I was able to nab a OOP paperback here on amazon.
Wow. And I don't read American HRs, western HRs, or anything. The muscles at the corners of my jaw ached I smiled and cackled and grinned and gritted my teeth in turns so much.
Jenny Jones grew up in the hardest of hardscrabble circumstances, and as a result, she has become as tough and resourceful as the men she deals with and competes against in all manner of thankless jobs. She's had to make her own way, with fists up and wits about her. Unfortunately, that toughness has earned her an appointment with a firing squad. (She's killed a Mexican soldier attempting to rape her. Although there were no witnesses, she told the truth in court. Why? She will not lie or break her word. Ever.)
A well-born Mexican aristocrat dying of consumption and desperate to ensure her child's safety, offers Jenny a life-saving deal which Jenny accepts very reluctantly (her reasons for reluctance were the first spit-take for me). Wonderful. This Mexican aristo offers to take her place before the guns, if Jenny will bring her only child, a six-year old daughter, safely to her American father in California, or if he can't or won't accept his child, Jenny must raise her herself.
This dying mother knows her child is next in line to inherit her grandfather's estate upon her death and there are those in the extended family who would kill the kid to claim the inheritance.
Jenny knows almost nothing about children -- and what little she does know, doesn't endear them to her. And this one lives up to Jenny's worst fears. Graciela is Jenny's feminine, pampered, prissy polar opposite. The friction and mutual antagonism is priceless. (My second series of spit takes occurred while the two negotiate their differences.) Worse, she blames Jenny for her mother's death and is convinced her scheming, greedy relatives love her.
What I loved to death: 1) the little girl is a tiny pain-in-the-ass, yet she teaches Jenny how to care for another, and forces Jenny to acknowledge her own nurturing instincts; 2) and Jenny's resourcefulness so impresses the little girl, that she learns how to handle herself and escape her prissy, princess upbringing to become a capable, clever girl who has admirable inner strength.
Of course, there's a big, handsome hunk who will defend a woman like Jenny, even if she can punch the lights out of an attacker all by herself. By chance, he is on his way to Mexico to find Graciela and her mother and bring them to her husband, his brother after years of separation.
The author manages to balance all the conundrums of this story, the frictions, the well-drawn and contrary personalities, and never ever slides into cliche. I loved and understood everyone, even when they were annoying as hell.
Overall, the story is intricately plotted, the premise is reasonable and compelling and, though my summary gives none of the depth or details of the situation, I was caught up in it immediately. It was very carefully considered, plausible and felt like history of the borderlands. Excellent. There's gender conflicts, cultural biases, and gobsmackingly great, deep, living, breathing people who say what they think and mean what they say. Jenny, Graciela and Ty (Graciela's American uncle) deal with the hands dealt them with intelligence, courage and honor. And in one great scene, a handkerchief stuffed in a mouth (Third spit-take). The author has a wonderful, subtle sense of humor that made me love the H/h more and more as I got to know them.
This is just a flat out great, great read.
Jenny Jones is feisty, brave, true to her word. She drinks, dresses, fights and smokes cigars like a man. But handsome Ty Sanders falls for her the minute he first sees her. Six-year-old Graciela has been raised like a proper young lady but soon is mimicking both Jenny and Ty as they try their darnedest to get her to California and safety.
I loved this book. I loved the characters (a lot). The storyline was unique and great fun. The plot was laid out well and the ending was perfect. What more could you want in a historical Western romance?
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I had read another of her books and had enjoyed it.Read more
which comes with all her books. This one is just awesome.