Avon Impulse, $4.99, ISBN 978-0-06-285610-4
Historical Romance, 2019
Yes, Texas Legacy is a short addition to Lorraine Heath’s critically acclaimed Texas trilogy that was published almost twenty years ago. I’m not sure whether this heralds a return to Western romances worth of celebration, though, as it’s published in Avon’s digital line, which is usually a place for them to dump Lorraine Health’s “extras” to established series, sort of like an extra means for fans to give this author some extra cash to spend. Let’s wait and see, but for now, this one is going to be a disappointment once one takes off those nostalgia goggles.
Indeed, the first few pages are a trip down a lovelier time when books were cheaper and there were a bit more variety in story lines and setting. We revisit the Leigh clan, and those who are new are introduced to Rawley Cooper, the guy who were taken in by the Leighs when he was a boy, who grew up to fall in love with the pretty daughter of the couple who took him in. Because his father was a very bad man, though, he can never acknowledge that he is the “son” of Dallas Leigh, although he’s perfectly fine with calling the man’s wife Cordelia his “mom”, and also because of his father, he would never be worthy of this loving family and the loving daughter Faith, so he left to pout and do hard work and woo, Healthcliff, it’s me Cathy, outside your window, woo… wait, wrong story.
So, now he’s back because Cordelia has summoned him home. Dallas has chest pains, oh dear, and if you think that bastard will actually drop dead here, you clearly must be new to the genre so well hello there. At any rate, Rawley and Faith are reunited, and oops, she has a five-year old daughter now. I eagerly wonder what will happen next…
… And the author then decides to do a flashback. I give a frustrated shriek and wonder whether it’s rude to sit on this book in public (I bought the mass market paperback) and deliberately pass gas on it.
Maybe it’s just me, but I’d find a story about a more mature couple having a second go at romance while overcoming past baggage always more interesting than one of a starry-eyed teenage girl throwing herself at the brooding emo brat from the wrong side of town. So I don’t appreciate being dragged out of the story to read about Faith’s vapid teenage infatuation. Who cares? I want grown-up love stories, no teenage hormones gone wild.
Texas Legacy never recovers from the ill-advised move to insert flashback scenes. This is already a short story, so space is a premium and it’s wasted on… that, shudder. Worse, the scenes taking place in the present aren’t any better. Instead of focusing on Rawley and Faith reconnecting, it’s the standard “A villain who conveniently shows up after vanishing for years, at the same time that Rawley comes back too, just to menace Faith and have Rawley save her, so it’s love baby, and we all know it, because he saves her, woo-hoo!” nonsense.
The story is of course easy to read and digest as Lorraine Heath is an old pro at the game, but it is also a huge wasted opportunity. It focuses on all the wrong things, and jettisons all potential emotional poignancy in the story line for some ill-conceived “Muahahaha, villain is here!” nonsense as some kind of 300% proof that the hero is totally worth getting back with. I am taking one oogie off the final score out of spite, because baby, I deserve better than this.