Sunday, July 17, 2016

My Review: No Other Will Do

I love how the outfit the model wears on the cover plays into the story at one point!  I've noticed it with all of Karen's books and I really appreciate the extra touch the publisher puts on each of her covers. :)

Men are optional. That's the credo Emma Chandler's suffragette aunts preached and why she started a successful women's colony in Harper's Station, Texas. But when an unknown assailant tries repeatedly to drive them out, Emma admits they might need a man after all. A man who can fight--and she knows just the one.

Malachi Shaw finally earned the respect he craved by becoming an explosives expert for the railroad. Yet when Emma's plea arrives, he bolts to Harper's Station to repay the girl who once saved his life. Only she's not a girl any longer. She's a woman with a mind of her own and a smile that makes a man imagine a future he doesn't deserve.

As the danger intensifies, old feelings grow and deepen, but Emma and Mal will need more than love to survive.

(Can you hear the "dun-dun-duh!" in that last line?)

About the Author:
Winner of the HOLT Medallion and the Carol Award and a finalist for the RITA and Christy Award, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer writes historical romance to give the world more happily-ever-afters. Karen makes her home in Texas, with her husband and three children. Learn more about Karen and her books at

My Review: 5 stars!
I’ve been so excited to read this book by Karen Witemeyer, mainly because she’s one of my very favorite historical fiction authors, but also because I’d heard so many wonderful things about it! I have to say that it definitely lived up to the sterling reviews shared with me and exceeded every expectation I may have had. The characters are fantastic (I’ll gush over Malachi shortly) and I always love how unique Ms. Witemeyer’s books are - plus, this one features a mystery, which just added another level of enjoyment to it for me. I’m also super excited, because it sounds like this book might be the first in a series (I’m hoping)!

I’m a big fan of historical fiction and Karen’s books are always by far some of my favorites. I’m always so excited to read one of her books, even without knowing a single thing about the storyline. I love her way with words and her attention to the smallest detail. I had no idea what was involved to be in demolition in the 1800s, or how a women’s colony could possibly work, but she brings both of these unique things to life between the covers of this book. I fall in love with her characters and I so enjoy how they break away from the norm of what I might expect in a western novel. Even when her books do edge a little more toward the traditional, there’s still a distinctive “something” that sets her books apart from the rest. Oh, and I have to brag on the mystery at least a little bit! I very much enjoyed having a mystery in the forefront of this story - it kept me on my toes, what with guessing who the culprit might be and wondering what might happen next. It played perfectly into the storyline and she set it wonderfully, leaving little clues and keeping the pacing just right to keep the story moving, without rushing or dragging it out.

Now, for my favorite part: the characters! I adore the opportunity to gush about the heroes (and there will be gushing!) and brag on the great heroines that round them out. In this case, Emma Chandler is the heroine and I did adore her! She was raised primarily by spinster aunts who taught her that women can do or be anything, and they don’t necessarily need a man to be happy. Which was scandalous at the time, and Emma soon found that not many shared their opinions. I loved her stubbornness and her determination to protect her ladies, even when that meant making hard decisions. Despite being self-assured, she struggles with knowing what the right choice is and doubts whether she’s the best person to be in charge. The doubts and fears are what make her so realistic that she climbed right off the page and into my heart. I loved the realism and seeing the softer side of her character: the one what wants to make the best choice possible, but doesn’t always hear God’s voice on what that is, or the one that treads ahead, rather than waiting for an answer.

Malachi Shaw is the hero in this tale, and what a great hero he makes! From meeting him the first time as a thirteen-year-old boy staring down a bossy angel, to getting to know him a decade later as a man responsible for blowing things up and in desperate need of a shave, he definitely makes the list of my favorite heroes! Malachi has spent his life just surviving, and trying to earn the respect of those around him. He lives with his heart stowed safely behind his walls and if his life seems a little empty, at least he’s not getting hurt. I loved watching Emma slowly pull him from his shell and the interactions between them alternated between making me laugh and sigh. Malachi is just as stubborn and strong willed as Emma, as well as being protective and rather cynical. He also has a streak of kindness toward the Aunts, Emma, and her ladies. I so enjoyed seeing this big man showing kindness to ladies who had had so little of it in their lives.

As aforementioned, I loved the relationship between Emma and Malachi! It started off a little slowly at first, but then slowly built throughout. I enjoyed the fact that they knew one another before, which added another layer to their getting to know each other as adults. Their history also kept the romance from being too fast or unbelievable, what with the somewhat short timeline of this story. There’s also a side romance going on, which I’m really hoping will be part of another book, because I really want to know what happens between the characters!

Overall, I give this book probably closer to 10 stars, rather than just 5, but websites are contrary things and don’t allow for the extra ratings for super amazing books.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical romance with a side of mystery!

Many thanks to Bethany House Publishing for allowing me the pleasure of reviewing this book!  I'm required to state that this is my honest review and I have not been compensated for it in any way.  Okay, legalities aside, thank you dear blog reader friend for taking the time to read my review!  I hope you enjoyed it and will consider stopping in to say "hi!" again!
Have a smile-filled day!


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