Friday, August 28, 2009

Redemption by E. Jamie

TITLE: Redemption
AUTHOR: E. Jamie
PUBLISHER: Amira Press
LENGTH: Novella (roughly 27k)
GENRE: Historical erotic romance
COST: $4.50

Katie became Ben Cready’s wife thinking he was going to hang the next day. Six months later, he shows up on the doorstep, fully pardoned and looking to move on with his life. Their marriage was just meant to be a convenience, but without someplace else to hide, Katie wants to stay. That means learning to live with a man who has no qualms about killing…

Sometimes, I fall for stories when I think I shouldn’t. Elements of this story should be hot buttons for me – a bossy hero with seemingly little regard for the heroine’s sense of self, editorial issues (anyone writing a historical set in the old West should know the difference between reigns and reins, at the very least), a mousy heroine who wants to hide from the world. And yet, in spite of everything, I ended this story with a smile on my face.

It’s because of the two lead characters, I’m sure of it. Ben Cready is an unrepentant outlaw, who doesn’t want to go to church, who ignores some of Katie’s wishes, who makes it clear that he will kill anybody he perceives a threat. I really shouldn’t like him nearly as much as I do, but behind all that, he had a melancholy appeal that forced me to look past the surface and see the man underneath. That might have been because of Katie. She was frightened of him a bit when he returned, but ultimately, her hero worship – something he recognizes and tries to break her of, admirably so – seeps through her every reaction to him, compelling me to view him in the same way. I was even forgiving when it seemed like his emotional turnaround came too quickly. He more than satisfies a bad boy hero kink anyone (i.e., me) might have.

The story does fall victim to its length, however. Katie is hiding out from her uncle, who she watched kill her mother. The resolution of that gets crammed into just a chapter or two, and it’s not nearly as satisfying as watching Katie and Ben get to know each other. The answers feel a tad easy once they’re over their initial wariness, actually, but it wasn’t until the events with the uncle that I decided that it was just a little too easy. Not the events themselves, but the emotional resolutions, like the author had to stay within a certain word count and didn’t have the room to fully explore the depths.

But even with the rushed ending, I still liked Ben and Katie. I would have loved reading a full length novel with these two, but I guess I’m just going to have to settle for the morsel I got.


8/10 – Minor editorial mistakes, but genuine emotions and appealing characters made it a swift read anyway


8/10 – I shouldn’t like him. He’s gruff, the emotional turnaround is too fast, and…for some reason, it doesn’t matter.


7/10 – I genuinely liked her, though her quick sexuality wasn’t very believable

Entertainment value

7/10 – I really liked the romance, but the story was too short to fully develop the suspense of the uncle

World building

7/10 – There’s enough detail to create the illusion of the setting, but not so much to make it sparkle



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