Harlequin Historical, $6.50, ISBN 978-0-373-29823-5
Historical Romance, 2015
Rosamond Dancy is one of those lost and broken souls who found a safe haven in the town of Morrow Creek. Fleeing a brutal past, she has new friends and she even founded the Morrow Creek Mutual Society when she’s not babysitting the children of the town. Her brutal past left her with a phobia of being touched, but she vows to find a way to overcome that one day. As she sees her friends settle down with their beaus, she finds herself thinking that, one day, she may find some happiness for herself too. First, she will get her life back in order and get rid of her inner demons. Somehow.
The poor girl didn’t have many happy moments in her past, but she still remembers fondly one Miles Callaway, probably the only bright spark from her past. When he shows up in town again, is this her chance at a happily ever after, or is everything too good to be true? Naturally, Miles has his own secrets, and his presence in Rosamond’s life is just the beginning. The poor girl’s past is coming back to haunt her, big time.
Morrow Creek Runaway is an interesting book – from an academic standpoint – in that its biggest problem is the plot device the author chose to append to the hero as his reason for showing up in Rosamond’s life again. No matter how I look at things, it’s still dumb. Let me get this straight: Miles wants to find Rosamond again, but to do that… he agrees to bring her back to the very people she fled from for a reward? Come on, if he wants to find her that bad, can’t he do it on his own without hauling this baggage along with him? Of course he can’t come clean to Rosamond even long after he’s decided that he would never honor this bargain he made with the devil, letting her to discover this fact on her own. How do you think she will react to this revelation? I know the author probably wants another conflict to go along with that caused by the bad guy, but surely there is another kind of conflict that won’t make the hero look like a twit?
Also, the first few chapters of this story are pretty rocky due to the constant repetition of the same handful of details, Still, things get much better a few chapters later once the author finds her groove. One really good thing about Morrow Creek Runaway is that Rosamond, despite not being some gun-totting Wild West diva, is one of the strongest heroines I’ve come across in a while. She actually overcomes her inner demons and even faces down the big bad guy on her own. This is one story where the heroine’s character development is not largely dependent on the presence of the hero in her life, and I am pleasantly surprised and delighted by this. She also comes off as intelligent, smart enough to put two and two together often, and she is also not some self-pitying dolt. I’m also fond of wounded characters who try to overcome their frailties while being the best they can, and Rosamond is one of those characters.
Miles isn’t a bad character despite his “What are you thinking?” baggage. He’s actually a nice guy, and he has some pleasant chemistry with Rosamond. I like how the author doesn’t completely turn this romance into a rescue fantasy – the romance is more of two people connecting and falling in love despite the issues that stand before them, and I never feel that Miles is somehow saving Rosamond by falling in love with her. Does Pamela Morsi still write historical romances? The romance here is sweet, sometimes almost too wholesome for my liking, reminding me of those Western historical romances that Ms Morsi has written in the past. I don’t like every book Ms Morsi has written, of course, but I do like this particular book and it has a vibe that reminds me of those books by Ms Morsi that I had enjoyed.
A part of me really wants to give this book one more oogie, but let’s be fair. That plot device! I’m sure the author has her reasons, but that particular aspect of the story is done in a way that I can’t buy wholesale. Morrow Creek Runaway feels somewhat artificial and contrived as a result. Still, while it gets three oogies, it’s a three-oogie book after my own heart. It’s so sweet, after all.