Avon, $5.99, ISBN 0-380-80528-6
Historical Romance, 2000
A healer heroine who, unfairly charged with causing the death of her father in some malpractice thing, flees her life. Doctor hero who is once an outlaw and has demons from his past to deal with. Matchmaking sister. Elderly fusspot auntie.
Welcome to the very familiar frontier Western bang-bang adventure that is Always Her Hero.
Eden Mallory is the hand-wringing, virtuous obedient heroine in question. Her destiny is tied up to Dr Michael Jones when he saved her from outlaws eight years ago and then vanished without a trace. She haunts his dreams since, and he hers. Now that Eden has fled to her auntie’s care, she happens to find Michael to be the practicing doctor in her new town. Well, hello there.
There’s the obligatory villain with guns in here, but the main crux of the story revolves around two people who think so lowly of themselves that they push the other way almost to the point of desperation. Oh, they can’t resist, but they will keep pushing, pulling, pushing, pulling… I think I have a headache. It is Doc’s little sister that tries so hard to bring them both together, and I can’t help but to wonder if she should just concentrate on bagging herself a nice young man of her own.
Of course, I’m sure some – many – readers would find Michael and Eden romantic characters, ones who are willing to endure solitude and pain for the sake of giving the other a better life than one with their miserable, unworthy selves. Martyrs who are willing to sacrifice all in the name of love. Me, I think these two are only causing each other unnecessary pain. I have a headache too.