‘An Englishwoman’s Guide to the Cowboy’ by June Kearns – More Than a Romance

unnamed

I discovered June Kearns’ books through the lovely Rosie Amber’s blog when I reviewed ‘The 20’s Girl, the Ghost and All That Jazz’ (see my review here). I enjoyed it so much that I had to read ‘An Englishwoman’s Guide to the Cowboy’. Hope you enjoy my review and the extract from the book that follows. You can read my interview with June here.

Review

This is a lovely book, thoroughly enjoyable, well written and with a cast of characters that you’ll love and hate!

Annie Haddon is dragged to the American west by her horrible aunt and vile cousin. Bullied and brow beaten, and threatened with marriage to a man she finds revolting, Annie is resigned to a miserable life as she travels by stagecoach  across the hot, dusty plains. But a hold-up sees her rescued by the handsome and dangerous Colt McCall and Annie is led into a series of mishaps, dangers and adventures.

Feisty but not perfect, Annie is a character that it’s easy to identify with. I so wanted her to escape the clutches of her horrible family and find the happiness she deserved.

June Kearns has once again invented a strong yet vulnerable main character, a leading man that you’ll fall in love with and a romance that is anything but soppy. And the social constraints that point to nothing but a life of misery for a girl who has so much to her and so much to give are a poignant reminder of how many women were denied happiness because they didn’t fit in with society’s idea of normal.

Highly recommended.

gold star

Extract

Annie’s  eyes  probed  the  shadows. Even  with  the  moon  up, it  was  hard  to  see  more  than  a  few  feet. Dark  shapes  and  silhouettes, all  perfectly  still. Trees, rocks, scrub. She  sensed  life  but  could  see  no  movement, nothing  to  suggest  they  were  not  entirely  alone. It  was  eerily  quiet.

    ‘Are  those  Red  Indians  still  behind us?’

    McCall  didn’t  answer  straight  away. Then, ‘Yep. Right  on  our  tails.’

    ‘I  can’t  see  any  sign  of  them.’

    ‘You  can’t  hear  them  either, but  they’re  there.’

    ‘Why  don’t  they  say  what  they  want?’

    A  careless  shrug. ‘They’ll  get  around  to  it, eventually. Right  now, they’ve  got  everything  their  way, they’re  in  no  hurry.’

    ‘Can’t  you  just … parley  with  them  or  something? Ask  them  to … go  away?’

    ‘You  mean  offer  a  handful  of  beads  and  greetings  from  the  Great  White  Queen? England  Rules,’ he  drawled, as  the  colour  rose  in  Annie’s  face  again. ‘I  wouldn’t  count  on  conversation  if  I  were  you. I  don’t  think  that’s  what  they  have  in  mind.’

    ‘Why  don’t  we  go  on, then?’ she  said. ‘Now  that  it’s  dark. I’m  feeling  much  better. Couldn’t  we  creep  away  while  they’re  not  looking?’

    A  faint  snort. ‘Comanche  are  always  looking. We’re  not  creeping  anywhere, we’ll  hole  up  here.’

    ‘Hole?’ she  said. ‘Up?’

    ‘Make  camp. Sleep, rest  the  horse.’

    ‘Here?’ Staring  blankly  round, Annie  stiffened. ‘In  the  open?’ Her  voice  rose  sharply. ‘Together?’

    ‘Good  water, some  shelter. What  more  do  you  want?’

    Doors, she  thought. With  locks. Walls. Privacy! She  was  covered  in  confusion.

    ‘You  can  rest  easy.’  McCall’s  mouth  twitched. Clearly  he  had  managed  to  add  mind-reading  to  his  list  of  talents. ‘I  never  move  in  on  a  woman  without  a  clear  invitation. No  matter  how  alluring.’

    Oh, ho. Annie’s  eyes  rolled. Very  funny. She  didn’t  need  mirrors  to  know  that  she  looked  a  fright. Face  scorched  by  wind  and  sun, hair  a  wayward  red  bush  down  her  back. Probably  blood-shot  eyes  and  a  coated  tongue, as  well.

    But  men  like  McCall  had  never  shown  the  slightest  interest  in  her  before, even  when  she’d  been  well-dressed, nicely  shod  and  prettily  groomed. Why  would  things  alter  now?

    He  passed  her  a  blanket, then  stretched  out  full-length, propping  his  head  on  his  saddle.

    ‘Are  you  sleeping  there?’  She  shot  him  a  startled, side-ways  look.

    ‘Yep.’ He  tilted  his  hat  over  his  eyes. ‘This  is  as  private  as  it  gets. Just  you, me  and  the  lone  prair-ree.’

    ‘But … what  about  those  Comanche?’      

    ‘Whatever  they’re  planning, they  won’t  come  in  tonight. They  rarely  risk  dying  in  the  dark. Think  their  souls  might  lose  their  way.’

    In  spite  of  everything, Annie  felt  stirrings  of  interest. Hadn’t  she  yearned  for  travel  and  adventure? Epic  journeys  to  far-flung  parts  with  an  elderly  female  relative  as chaperon? Well, here  she  was. Another  dream  shattered.

    It  was  some  time  before  she  could  settle  down. So  many  strange  and  unfamiliar  sounds. The  whisper  of  water, wind  in  the  cottonwoods. Rustlings, night  noises. Birds – a  covert glance  at  McCall – and  beasts.

    Had  the  man  no  consideration? Couldn’t  he  climb a  tree, sleep  in  that?

    A  harsh  wail  echoed  a  way  off. Annie  sat  up  sharply. ‘Mr  McCall!’

    He  didn’t  stir.

    ‘Was  that  a  wolf? A  coyote?’

    ‘I  sure  hope  so.’ The  drawl  drifted  up  from  beneath  the  brim  of  his  hat.

    That  was  it? No  reassurances, no  sleep  well? No  keeping  watch?  ‘But,’ she  said, breathing  hard, ‘what  if –’

    ‘I  sleep  with  one  eye  open. Try  it  yourself.’

    Hauling  the  blanket  up  round  her  ears, she  lay  down  in  semblance  of  sleep. Eyes though, were  wide, fixed  on  black  velvet  sky  and  a  million  stars  over  her  head.

    ‘If  you  need  anything,’ he  said, the  amusement  clear  in  his  voice. ‘I’m  only  six  inches  away.’

    Annie  lay  stiff  as  a  board. The  lamb  stretched  out  next  to  the  lion. But  would  the  lion  be  licking  his  lips  in  the  morning? 

You can buy a copy here (UK) and here (US)

June is on Twitter: @june_kearns

on Facebook

and at: www.junekearns.com

www.newromantics4.com

Advertisements

27 comments

  1. Lovely post, ladies. I’m a huge fan of June’s writing and thoroughly enjoyed both her novels. Bring on more, that’s what I say! 🙂 x

    Like

  2. Good afternoon everyone, just popping by to say I concur with everything stated above. A great debut novel, I’m looking fwd to reading #3 at some point. No pressure. Thanks also to Rosie Amber and her fabby blog which has brought us all together.

    Like

  3. I wholeheartedly concur with this positive review. I loved June’s first novel and her second too.
    Original plots, empathetic characters and pacy writing. I’m already looking forward to the third.

    Like

  4. June Kearns has a rare talent as a writer, her words seem so effortless, the soft ebb and flow of her writing draws you in without realising you have fallen for her characters and are submerged in the plot. I loved both of her books …and am delighted both Ruby and then Alison have shone a light on her work, they know a good ‘un when they spot one.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Agree with this great review. Loved An English Woman’s Guide, everything about it. The characters, ambience, the underlying menace. I could feel and smell the heat. An absorbing read.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s