Genre: Christian Historical Romance
Pub Date: August 2010, Whitaker House
Format: eBook (Kindle)
Source: Purchased from Amazon.com
Joshua Neville is a quiet, even-keeled rancher who was just minding his own business when he witnessed a brazen bank robbery in San Antonio, Texas, that leaves three men dead. Even more shocking than the heist itself is that the ringleader looked like a woman! Weeks later, when Josh is on the trail, a lost and confused woman stumbles upon his campsite. He agrees to take "Dinah" to Mexico, but soon their journey is hampered by harsh weather and wild animals. When Dinah breaks her ankle, Josh takes her to his ranch to heal.As the two grow closer, Josh realizes he's fallen in love, even as he learns the truth about Dinah. But does he know the whole story? And, after the truth comes out, will he put his life at risk to keep her with him?
Beautiful Banditi is the first book I have read by Loree Lough. I'll admit it's been sitting on my e-reader for awhile, probably because though I found the synopsis intriguing, that cover is a bit of a turn-off. And now that I've read the book, I just don't think that image suits "Dinah" (a.k.a. Kate Wellington) at all, not to mention that it just looks too modern, given that this is supposed to be fiction set in the Western frontier. But here we have a classic example of the saying, "Don't judge a book by its cover."
So that said, my advice to you (assuming you like to read Christian historical romances) is to ignore the cover and just dive right in! Though this story might not have pulled at my heart quite as strongly as some other Christian and/or historical romances have, I did think it was a good inspirational read and it kept me turning the pages to find out how everything finally resolved itself. I have to confess that I was really afraid that I was going to be annoyed by how Josh reacted when the truth about Kate/Dinah came to light. Thankfully, Lough did not choose to go the route of mutual misunderstandings, trumped-up, imagined hurt feelings, and/or false assumptions that I just find beyond irritating in historical romances. Sometimes it is nice to keep the drama at a minimum!
Lough's writing is fast-paced and she keeps the story moving along with every page. Though the outcome is admittedly predictable (but you know I love my happy endings!), Lough tells the story in such a way that it keeps you engaged and rooting for Kate and Josh. Though the story focuses heavily on the two of them, we also meet a lot of Josh's extended family and I expect you will love his "Mee-Maw" just as much as if she were your own grandmother. And while there is a sad side-plot in Beautiful Bandit, the overall story is touching, with Christian undertones that were just right for my tastes. I'm definitely looking forward to reading more by Loree Lough and adding her to my rotation of Christian fiction authors!
Read this book...
- If you enjoy Christian historical fiction set in the Western frontier (think: Tamera Alexander and Janette Oke)
- If you liked Love in Disguise by Carol Cox