Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Review: Wildest Dreams by Rosanne Bittner

Wildest Dreams 
by Rosanne Bittner
Re-Release Date:  Jan. 5 2016
Publisher:  Sourcebooks Casablanca
Pages:  640
Format:  eARC
Source:  NetGalley

My Rating:  
Sultry Scale:

A sweeping saga of passion, excitement, and danger...as a beautiful young woman and a rugged ex-soldier struggle against all odds to carve out an empire-and to forge a magnificent love."Lettie McBride knows that joining a wagon train heading West is her chance to begin anew, far from the devastating memories of the night that changed her forever. She doesn't believe she can escape the pain of innocence lost, or feel desire for any man...until she meets Luke Fontaine.

Haunted by his own secrets, Luke would never blame Lettie for what happened in the past. One glance at the pretty redhead is enough to fill the handsome, hard-driving pioneer with a savage hunger.

Against relentless snows, murderous desperadoes, and raiding Sioux, Luke and Lettie will face a heartrending choice: abandon a lawless land before it destroys them, or fight for their Wildest Dreams.

I think that fans of the western romance genre will really like this story. The writing was incredibly detailed and true to the time period from what I can tell. I have only recently tried to branch out into the western genre, and I am finding that historical westerns may not be my thing. I thought that because I am such a huge fan of the Into the Wilderness series by Sara Donati, that I would like westerns and/or Native American stories... but so far I have not found any that I really connected with.

There were some things that I liked about Wildest Dreams: A Poignant, Epic Western Historical Romance. I loved the hero, Luke Fontaine. You simply could not ask for anything better in a historical hero of this time period. He was honorable, capable, hard-working, ambitious and loved his wife and family to distraction. He was also pretty much a cowboy badass. He fought (and won) against Indians, outlaws, bobcats, grizzly bears and political opponents! He is a hero along the lines of Jamie Fraser (Outlander) and Nathaniel Booner (Into the Wilderness). Luke Fontaine is definitely not a hero that you will forget soon... and if I had lived back in the time, I would have been looking for a cowboy just like him.

I liked the heroine, Lettie, for the most part. She suffered a horrible tragedy but carried on with strength and dignity, and her love for Luke was strong as iron most of the time. I loved that she weathered the rough Montana environs while maintaining her femininity, but was not afraid to get out and work to help her husband and family as needed. There is a part of the story where she pushes Luke away and I did not care for her for that chunk of the book - but I was able to get over it once they found their way back to one another.

I also liked all of the secondary characters. All of the characters were well-developed and interesting. Will and Henny were particular favorites, but all of the settlers and ranchers were interesting and added something to the story. The villains were truly horrendous and cringeworthy - what you are usually expecting from the big bads of the story.

What I disliked about the story was the sense of impending doom that I had the whole time I was reading it. It gave me anxiety and kind of cast a shadow over my reading. And believe me, THERE WAS A LOT OF DOOM! This was not a happy-go-lucky historical - these people had a hard life and suffered some truly horrendous things. There were so many plot conflicts that I thought the doom was going to do me in. And just when I thought the doom was over and the story was winding down - BAM - More Doom! Which kind of leads in to the only other thing that I didn't like - the length. By the time I got to 60%, I felt like I had read three books. This is truly a sweeping family saga, from cover to cover, the story spans more than a 20 year period. The length combined with all the doom was exhausting for me. The story is slow-paced simply because it is so detailed with so many highs and lows and following the daily life of these settlers... the pacing is not a bad thing, its just a product of the story type. It was not a fast-action suspense is what I am trying to say. I used to like these saga-type books, but now that I am blogging, I find that I don't always have the patience for them.

Don't get me wrong - I totally understand all the 5 star reviews for this story. Up until about 60%, I was still rating this one 4 stars. But it just got too long and started dragging for me, which brought me down to a respectable 3.5 star / 2 flame rating. I think that true fans of this genre will be tickled pink by this one, so don't let my review discourage you. I did think it was a good book and I liked it - but I am not sure westerns are ever going to be my thing.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.