Book Review – The Girl Who Loved Cayo Bradley by Nina Romano

The Girl Who Loved Cayo Bradley
Nina Romano
Print Length: 254 pages
Publisher: Prairie Rose Publications (February 21, 2019)
Publication Date: February 21, 2019
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English

BOOK BLURB :   When Darby McPhee falls in love with Cayo Bradley, a wild cowboy from a nearby ranch, her world is ripped apart. Caught in a lifeless existence of caring for her father and brothers since her mother’s death, Darby does little else but work. But a death-bed promise to her mother to get her education now stands in the way of her heart’s desire to belong to the rough-and-tumble Cayo Bradley.

Darby is Cayo’s redemption from a horrific act in his past that torments him. After being captured as a young boy by the Jicarilla Apache, he now tries to settle back into white society—but how can he? If he loses Darby, he loses everything.

Darby is determined to keep her promise to her mother, but will Cayo wait for her? In this stunning tale of love and loss, Darby comes to understand that no matter what happens, she will always be THE GIRL WHO LOVED CAYO BRADLEY…

REVIEW: The story takes place in the mid to late1800s in New Mexico, and the details of place and history are well established, putting the reader firmly in the dusty plains or the rugged mountain areas. I also appreciated the opportunity to learn about the Jicarilla Apache, a tribe I was not familiar with. As Cayo, or Coyote his Indian name, finds his place in the tribe that kidnapped him, it is interesting to see the kindness of the Indians in some scenes, contrasted to the brutality of the murder of his parents. The tension that contrast creates in Cayo is palpable and it visits him often, bringing great anguish.

He was just sixteen when the Apaches raided the ranch where he lived with his parents and sisters. It was during that raid that he experienced what no boy of sixteen should ever have to go through.

The thing that haunts him still.

In the opening of the story, the reader meets Darby at her home where she is busy taking care of her brothers and her father. A small detail of characterization that made her endearing to me is when she is writing notes for the men on how to clean up after themselves when she is gone. She is going away, you see. Plans are already put in place for her to go to St. Louis to school.

But then there’s Cayo.

Darby didn’t plan to fall in love with this man nine years older than she. Still, she has, and now she struggles with the tension between her desire and her promise to her mother. That tension, and Cayo’s, is as deftly handled throughout the story as those details of setting and history.

Cayo Bradley won my heart the first time he and Darby made love. It was truly a love scene. Not just lust. Not just sex, but two people who really loved each other showing that through physical intimacy. Afterward, when he so gently and lovingly washed her and dried her, it was like a ritual of honor; and something so tender that here again, there was a stark contrast between the Cayo of today and the Connor of before.

“Cayo took her in his arms and touched her face with curled fingers and great tenderness, outlining her cheek and jaw as if he were a painter taking notes on what angle best to face her toward the sun.”

Then he says to her, “You’re like the breath in my body. And I sure as hell can’t tell myself to quit breathing now can I?”

This is a love story on one level, but so much more on many other levels; history, social mores, choices, and how those choices affect lives, often in the most unexpected ways. The Girl Who Loved Cayo Bradley is a book well worth your time.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Nina Romano earned a B.S. from Ithaca College, an M.A. from Adelphi University and a B.A. and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from FIU. She lived in Rome, Italy, for twenty years, and is fluent in Italian and Spanish. She is a world traveler and lover of history–her novels, short fiction, and poetry reflect both travels and history.

She has authored a short story collection, The Other Side of the Gates, and has published five poetry collections and two poetry chapbooks with independent publishers. She co-authored Writing in a Changing World. Romano has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize in Poetry.

Nina Romano’s historical Wayfarer Trilogy has been published from Turner Publishing. The Secret Language of Women, Book #1, was a Foreword Reviews Book Award Finalist and Gold Medal winner of the Independent Publisher’s 2016 IPPY Book Award. Lemon Blossoms, Book # 2, was a Foreword Reviews Book Award Finalist, and In America, Book #3, was a finalist in Chanticleer Media’s Chatelaine Book Awards.

Her latest novel, The Girl Who Loved Cayo Bradley, a Western Historical Romance, has recently been released from Prairie Rose Publications.

You can find out more about Nina and her books on her WEBSITE  and meet her at FACEBOOK ** TWITTER  and GOODREADS

4 thoughts on “Book Review – The Girl Who Loved Cayo Bradley by Nina Romano”

  1. Heartfelt thanks for this lovely review of my debut Western! I’m so pleased you liked the book. Your review is original and nuanced, touching on deep characterization. I’m most grateful for you time reading and reviewing. All best wishes, Nina Romano

        1. So glad to bring you such joy. 🙂 I know the thrilling feeling to get a nice, positive review. We work in such isolation that sometimes we have no idea if people like what we’re putting out there or if we should stop. We need encouragement and feedback.

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