3 Stars - I might recommend if you enjoy historical romance.
After Eddy's parents die she and her sister are left to fend for themselves. Eddy decided to cook and wash and save up money to move to California and open her own restaurant. When her money and train ticket are stolen her plans take a turn for the worst, and she must rely on the kindness of strangers to make her way West. When she is robbed yet again and left for dead in the desert she is rescued by Rhine Fontine, and nursed back to health. Rhine is the son of a slaver and slave woman, but appears white to the untrained eye. He has made a new life for himself in Utah as a white man, and tries to advocate for the colored community. When he meets stubborn and driven Eddy she will make him question his decision to cross the line.
I’m a sucker for old west plots and/or this time period, so I wanted to give this book a try. I appreciated the diversity in this particular story and the history that was so thoroughly included by the author. I thought this story was quite sweet and reminded me a bit of When Calls the Heart or something in that vein, though it does get a little bit R-rated. I thought that Eddy was a fantastic character. She was very independent and hard working, I loved her journey as a cook and building her life in Utah. Rhine was an interesting character too. I thought that their chemistry was great in the beginning and from time to time, and I love that she turns him down over and over (especially when he is engaged to another!). She's really fiery and doesn't let him call the shots. Overall I felt like some of the plot threads were built up and then dropped a little bit, and I did wish that they had more of a connection. It is also always a bit jarring when there are some steamy scenes... but then the bigger ones fade to black. I don't care if a romance is "proper" or not, but it is confusing to have so much back and forth. Overall I enjoyed this, but didn't like it quite as much as I had hoped.
Review excerpt: "First and foremost, this is a book about a period in history not talked about much in Romancelandia, and the whole world Jenkins gives us is drawn in such clear, confident lines. The hero is a hero I’ve never seen before, and the heroine is strong and also described as worthy of being cherished. That’s something we don’t often see for Black women in mass media. This is the beginning of a new series that jumped off from Through the Storm (published in August of 1998)."
this was my first book by this author who has been recommended by many blogs and reviews. It was indeed very interesting, especially with the two characters being Black and showing how different upbringing/class/money can greatly affect what you can do and who you could be. Eddie is fabulous as your main character and has been fully written, and Rhine makes for an interesting foil. It was missing a little something for me that I can't quite put my finger on (humour? more peril? sizzle?) but it is a worthwhile read.
If you like historical fiction, check out Michigan resident Beverly Jenkins.
Rhine Fontaine is building the successful life he's always dreamed of--one that depends upon him passing for White. But for the first time in years, he wishes he could step out from behind the façade. The reason: Eddy Carmichael, the young woman he rescued in the desert. Outspoken, defiant, and beautiful, Eddy tempts Rhine in ways that could cost him everything . . . and the price seems worth paying.
Eddy owes her life to Rhine, but she won't risk her heart for him. As soon as she's saved enough money from her cooking, she'll leave this Nevada town and move to California. No matter how handsome he is, no matter how fiery the heat between them, Rhine will never be hers. Giving in for just one night might quench this longing. Or it might ignite an affair as reckless and irresistible as it is forbidden . . .
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