Dearest Darling by Andrea Downing

dearestdarlingWhen Emily Darling intentionally reads a letter left on her doorstep, but addressed to Ethel Darton, it becomes more than a mistake in postal service. It becomes a chance of escape from her over-bearing brother. The letter, starting with the greeting “Dearest Darling” captivates her heart and hopes. What kind of man would write such an endearing and tender letter? He is obviously in need of companionship, living in the wilds of Wyoming, and is making travel arrangements for his mail-order bride. But wait, there’s more: a train ticket to Cheyenne with instructions to take a stagecoach to Jackson Hole where he will meet her.

From the letter she learns these two have never met, but that Ethel Darton has sent a picture of herself in an earlier letter.

When Daniel Saunders meets the stagecoach on the appointed day, he meets an imposter, someone who has taken advantage of a free train ticket. He’s outraged. But what is he going to do? He can’t leave her in town, alone, with no means of supporting herself. He needs time to sort this out.

A novella, Dearest Darling is a delightful read, cleverly paced with seemingly insurmountable complications, and realistic, convincing dialog. Details of Wyoming ranch land enhance the story, giving the reader an exciting view of yesteryear’s west.

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Book Review: Loveland

loveland_w6692_3001Andrea Downing has crafted a masterpiece with Loveland. Her fast-paced romantic western keep readers wondering how the story can ever be resolved. The novel takes place in the mid-1880s, during the West’s glory days.

When ten-year old Lady Alexandra Calthorpe is wrenched from her uncle’s ranch during the night, she’s heart-broken. She screams for her best friend, Jesse, a ranch hand. But Jesse Makepeace and the others are powerless to help. The decision has been made: Lady Alex is returning to England.

Ten years later, Alex returns to Faringdon, the family ranch run by her uncle, near Loveland, Colorado. Now seventeen, she’s still the strong-willed girl she’s always been, but now she’s ready to resume the life she’s craved–to be a part of the ranch, make it her home. But, along with her fervor to become a rancher, she brings emotional baggage and scandalous history. Even though she comes from a high-society family, below the surface lurk dark secrets.

An emotional bond resumes between Alex and Jesse, but now Jesse, several years older than Alex, is dealing with a woman. As their romance blossoms, so do complications regarding the ranch and Alex’s past.

Downing is a strong writer who has written a worthy premiere novel. She handles romantic scenes with flair while showing the nitty-gritty of ranch life in the 1880s. Loveland is packed with action and emotion, leaving the reader wanting more. Loveland is one of those books I hated to have end. A hands-down five-star novel.