Friday, 13 March 2009

Rachel and the Hired Gun by Elaine Levine.

What is Sager's full name? I don't think we ever find out.

This is basically a terribly nice and sweet romance, with omg! some pre-marital nookie. (Shame!) A lot happens in the story. The heroine is menaced by a rabid wolf, cattle-rustling, a homestead is attacked, a wicked step-mom is murdered a barn is set on fire, our heroine is kidnapped by thugs, the hero is drugged but his good friend conveniently steps in to save the day. But at no point in the novel did I feel either the hero or heroine was in any kind of danger. There was no actual evidence that Sager was in fact a 'hired gun'.

Both Rachel and Sager have had difficult early lives. But their emotions are entirely straightforward. Nothing twisted and certainly no bitterness. Take Sager. At one point he discovers that he'd been the lover of the woman who'd had his native american adoptive family murdered. I didn't get any sense of shame or guilt. Actually he should have been seriously ashamed that he'd done the dirty with his step-mom and that maybe his step-bro was actually his son!!! But there's none of that in the book. I liked Rachel. Because although she knows she's been brought home to marry the son of a local rancher, there is no question at all that she loves Sager and has no intention of allowing her family to pimp her into a loveless marriage. See. It's easy to be honest. In fact. I failed to see too much of the supposed enmity between Sid and Old Jack. I really enjoyed the scene where naked Sager teaches naked Rachel not to be afraid of swimming in a river.

Rachel is actually some kind of superwoman. She cooks, plants vegetables, shoots guns...and never feels a shred of fear. The characters of the main villains, Cassandra and Tom are very thinly written. The author is one of those writers who seems to have had no experience of nasty backstabbing people and so is unable to portray that kind of person with any degree of reality. tbh that made a nice change and its part of the reason why I liked the book. However the story did take me about 3 weeks to read through because there is absolutely no tension to drag the reader from one chapter to another.

There were some obvious series setting scenes towards the end of the book. (Julian, the two weird women, etc) The most unrealistic scene of all was were Sager and Sid basically give away 150 head of cattle like they were worthless beads.

Don't for a moment think this story is in any way comparable to the mind-blowing Only You (Willow and Caleb) or even the masterly Spanish Stirrup. But all in all. An ok read. Just strangely emotionless and superficial.

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