Author: Linda Howard
First published in 1990
Only true love could redeem....
Victoria Waverly, noble daughter of the war-ruined South, is sold in marriage to a ruthless rancher. Honor and pride help her endure life as a wife in name only but nothing can quench her forbidden desire for hired gunman Jake Roper. His gaze is hard, but tenderness he can't hide promises to unveil to Victoria the mysteries of love.
Only true love can destroy....
Jake curses his burning need for Victoria, for he wants nothing to stand in the way of his drive to reclaim Sarratt's Kingdom -- the ranch that is his legacy and obsession. But ancient wrongs and blazing passions will bind together the aristocratic beauty and the powerful cowboy. In a bloody land war, they will fight for Jake's birthright...and seize at all costs the love that is their destiny.If you have been following this blog, you will know that I am a big fan of Linda Howard, especially her earlier romance novels. This time out, I can't say that I enjoyed reading her book as much. A Lady of the West is definitely darker than most of the others that she wrote in her early days. There isn't a lot of joy throughout most of the book. While the love scenes do live up to her usual standard, I'm not sure I believed the love between any of the couples, except maybe Victoria's young sister and the ranch hand. Jake is not a likeable hero and I couldn't understand how Victoria fell for him, especially after he reveals who he really is. He all but bullies her into marriage to gain his land back and actually assaults her at one point. This being a deal breaker for me in real life might have something to do with why I didn't like their relationship. I didn't really care for Victoria either, she is a bit of a doormat, so that played a part as well.
As in everything, if you haven't read this one, you might give it a try. But, I don't think you will be missing anything if you decide to skip it.