COURTING MISS EMMA
The Hangman’s Daughters, Book 2
Western / Clean & Wholesome / Sweet Romance / Historical Fiction
Publisher: Severn House
Date of Publication: November 7, 2023
Number of Pages: 203 pages
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Texas, 1868. Emma Taggart has finally found a place to belong – setting up Heaven’s Door orphanage with her sister Maura was a new beginning for her – and one she will do anything to protect.
When guarded ex-army man Stone Landry buys the neighboring land and moves in – camels and all – Emma’s world changes forever. He is an infuriating man who instantly gets under her skin – in ways she never dreamed possible, and despite herself, Emma starts to wonder if, just maybe, he is man enough to take on a Hangman’s daughter . . .
But their newfound connection is quickly tested by violent night raids, kidnappings, and underhand tricks by powerful rancher Zeke Parker, who is intent on running them out of town and taking the land he deems to be his. Can Emma find enough courage to trust in Stone to give her the life, the family, she’s always dreamed of?
Courting Miss Emma is a sweet romance but the storyline does not shy away from difficult situations and very dramatic moments in a time in history that challenged the most stalwart of people.
Emma is the sister who thought she would never be courted since she was not young and soft and demure like most “ladies” of the time were.
But the fact that she was not all of those things is what Stone Landry finds so attractive in her. She is feisty. Speaks her mind. And doesn’t avoid a conflict. However, he doesn’t find those qualities so attractive when they first meet. He has come to tell her that she should keep the kids who live in the orphanage from wandering onto his property, and she tells him in no uncertain terms where he can put his advice on childrearing.
He’s never had a woman stand up to him. Well, he’s not had a whole lot of experience with women, so what does he know? So he just rides back to his place more than a bit befuddled from the meeting.
Since this is a romance, the reader knows that Stone will get over his initial dislike of Emma, and she will also get past thinking he is an insufferable, bossy man. They are both introduced as characters the reader will immediately relate to and cheer for when they face the hired killers who are trying to drive them off the land.
In the times when the orphanage is being threatened, Emma stands with her Uncle Max and the other men to hold off the attacks. Emma is a very strong woman, and that’s one of the things I like best about her. She will do anything to protect the children in her care, as well as the other people in her life that she loves.
I loved the first book in this series, Winning Maura’s Heart. It has a perfect balance of western and romantic elements, that this story doesn’t. At least not for me.
Because of the type of characters that Emma and Stone are, and the difficulties that they face from the threats by the man who wants to take their land, it seemed like that would take precedence over the growing feelings they have for each other. Not that there shouldn’t be moments, but maybe not in the middle of a battle?
Despite that little problem, I did enjoy the story a lot. It was great to see the change in Stone as he adapted to civilian life and figured out how to be a good neighbor to the folks at the orphanage. And, as always, it’s always a pleasure to read a story that has a surprising, yet satisfying conclusion.
The role that the camels play in the story is quite clever, and they, as well as Stone’s Army buddy, add some comedic moments that lightens the intensity of the drama.
All of the characters from the first book in this series, Maura and Cutter, as well as Uncle Max and the French nuns; and, of course, all the children are included in this story. And they are not mentioned just to be mentioned. They all play an integral role in the resolution. What the kids do is priceless. Then there are some new characters that hint at more stories to come in the series.
Readers who like a western romance that is sweet and decent with a terrific cast of characters will enjoy this book a great deal.
I’m a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of western romance novels and short stories. Watching TV westerns during my youth fed my love of cowboys and the old West and they still do. On a still day, I can often hear the voices of American Indians, Comancheros, and early cowboys whispering in the breeze here on the high West Texas plains. We refer to this land as “cowboy” country and men here still ride the range just as cowboys of old. My stories focus on family life and almost all have children.
GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!
1st $25 Amazon gift card; 2nd hardback copy of WINNING MAURA’S HEART;
3rd eBook copy of COURTING MISS EMMA; 4th audiobook of ONE SHOT AT LOVE.
(US only; ends midnight, CDT, 11/17/23)
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