Open Country by Kaki Warner

Open Country coverart

When Molly McFarlane arrived in Savannah to visit her ailing sister  what she found was a surly brother-in-law (Fletcher), a terrified niece and nephew, and her sister at death’s door.  Before she took her last breath, her sister begged Molly to take the children and get as far away from Savannah (and Fletcher) as possible.  Fletcher and a group of men were searching for a book of valuable information that could lead to another war between the north and south.  They were convinced Molly or the children took the book so they sent a search team to find them.

A few weeks later, traveling west through Texas, their train derailed.  The train company paid out death benefits to the dead passengers’ families.  Feeling desperate, Molly claimed to be engaged to a man who was barely alive.  Told she must be his wife to collect the money, she arranged a deathbed marriage and found the local minister to bless the union.  The patient (Hank Wilkins) didn’t die and Molly used her nursing skills to help him recover.  Hank’s brother Brady arrived to bring him back to the family’s New Mexico ranch.  Upon hearing about his brother’s marital status Brady convinced Molly to come to the ranch where she could continue to help with Hank.  This sounded like a good idea to Molly because she and the children needed to be protected until she could figure out her next move.  She was certain that Hank would want the marriage annulled once he regained his memory and realized he didn’t know her, much less propose to her, before the derailment.

Kaki Warner takes us back to Rosa Roja Ranch – home of the Wilkins brothers.  In Pieces of Sky we met  Brady, the oldest brother, and his English wife Jessica.   Open Country is the story of Hank, the second brother, and Molly, the woman he doesn’t remember marrying.  Hank is the intelligent, quiet brother – a man you want on your side.  I enjoyed the story of Molly and Hank.  Both are used to being self-reliant and are slow to back down when they feel tested.  They each feel a duty to family and that shines in this book.  The author wrote touching and emotion-filled scenes for these two vibrant characters.  It was nice to see minor characters from the first book, especially Dougal.  He added perfect comic relief.

This novel has action, drama, romance and humor.  I look forward to the third and final book in the Blood Rose Trilogy (Chasing The Sun – January, 2011).

I recommend Open Country to fans of (Western) Historical Romance.

Review copy from Jennifer at Crazy Book Tours