Title: Rosa’s Land (Western Justice #1)
Author: Gilbert Morris
Publisher: Barbour Publishing, Inc.
I have read some of this author’s mysteries and have enjoyed them quite a bit, but I had never read any of Gilbert Morris’ westerns. When this book was published, I decided to read this first book in a new series, “Western Justice”. Portions of the story take place in Texas, New York and Oklahoma when it was still Indian Territory. The year is 1886, and the two main characters are Lafayette Riordan and Rosa Ramirez.
Rosa works long hours at the local cantina to provide food for her family. Her father got cholera and is too ill to work, so she supports him, her mother, her sister and her brother. They live in poverty, wear rags and barely have enough to eat. Rosa is constantly harangued by the male clientele at the cantina and carries a knife for protection. She thinks to herself, is this all her life will consist of? Unexpectedly, they hear from her mother’s father who is very ill and wants the family to come live with him and manage his ranch. The Ramirez family views this as providence as they feel life couldn’t get any worse. They pack up their meager belongings and head out for the Oklahoma Indian Territory.
Lafayette Riordan has led a pampered life of wealth. He has never worked a day in his life and has spent his time painting. He is a talented artist, but is that all there is to be in his life? His mother is a Christian and has tried to instill her beliefs in her son, though he later admits to not practicing his faith. He has two older brothers who have taken after his aggressive father, who owns a factory. These three men make it clear to Faye, to his family, that they don’t think of him as much of a man. Faye tends to agree and realizes he is feeling unsettled. He secretly learns how to box, shoot and ride a very docile horse, and after a month away from home living off the land alone, he tells his family he wants to be a marshal for Judge Parker. His mother is adamantly against this, but Faye will have his way and soon leaves for Fort Smith in Oklahoma.
When these two first meet, Rosa views him as definitely less than a man and not what she was looking for to help her bring the “bad guys” to justice. She treats him very badly and pulls a cruel trick on him. Riordan, as he goes by now, just goes with the flow. He doesn’t get angry at her or confront her. Eventually, he wins her over with his quiet, gentle way. Both come to a saving grace by accepting Jesus as their Savior, and after a predictable, not very exciting climax, the two marry.
I found there to be not much excitement and events to be contrived and predictable. I did not like Rosa as she vehemently opposes anything and everything Riordan does and is very mean to him, then he does one good thing for her and suddenly her feelings for him appear to change, but she still gets in her nasty digs toward him here and there. I didn’t find it very realistic that she would ever accept him as a man no matter what he did. As for them both accepting Jesus at the same time in the story…well, to me was convenient and wasn’t realistic.
My rating is 2.5 stars.
Note: I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book. The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility. Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/ . Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457