Lori Copeland has a penchant for writing some rootin', tootin', rip-roarin' books and each one is a gem in its own right. I just finished a trilogy of Wild West Brides and I thoroughly enjoyed all three of them.
Three Claxton brothers are returning home from the uncivil Civil War, and each one encounters love in a significantly different way. Wynne Elliot is on her way to River Run, Missouri, to find Cass Claxton to do him a serious injury because he took her money and left her standing at the altar. While on her journey, she is overrun by the Beeson gang and robbed of her last bit of money to finance her trip. Cole and Beau Claxton happen on the stage just moments after the robbery occured, and offered to take her into town and help her out for a bit. What Wynne doesn't know is that they are Cass's brothers. When she finds out, she decides to strike out on her own to find Cass and do him in. Cole can't let that happen, so he follows her and from there, all kinds of sparks fly.
Beau comes home from the war to marry his high school sweetheart, Betsy. About a year later, Bets is bitten by a rattlesnake that kills her and their unborn child. After the funeral, Beau leaves River Run--in an effort to run from his grief. His running leads him to Cherry Grove, Kansas, and into the mouth of an angry, injured wolf--which does him a great injury itself. Charity Burk sees what happens and drags him to her house and takes care of his injuries until he gets better. In the meantime, her best friend, Letty, dies in childbirth and her husband leaves the baby in Charity's care. In order for Charity to keep her claim and keep the baby, she needs to marry Beau, it's just getting Beau to come around to her way of thinking.
On his way home from Kansas City, Cass drops in on Beau--the day he marries Charity--and helps him prove up Charity's land. On a trip to town, he and Beau encounter Leviticus McCord and his daughter Susanne. Susanne is rather spoiled and not afraid to throw a major hissy fit in public in order to get her way. She ends up hitting Cass in the face with her purse and later comes to Charity's house to try to talk Cass into taking her to St Louis. When her original plan doesn't work, she resorts to blackmail to force Cass to marry her and take her to St Louis. When Cass drops her off, he demands that she get the marriage annulled. Six years pass by and now Susanne needs a place to run her orphanage and house "her" nine children, and the place she finds to fill her needs is owned by Cass Claxton. When he won't lease the place to her, she decides to move the children back to Cherry Grove to live with her father. She manipulates Cass by sending a telegram to him "from" Beau telling him he needs Cass's help. On the way to and after they reach Cherry Grove, Susanne does a lot of growing up, especially in her spiritual life. This one of the three novels had me crying for more than half an hour.
Lori has done a tremendous job with these three novels. There was a bit of repetition in SOME of the elements of the books--Charity and Susanne both do a bit of manipulation to get their way and their man. Both of them retreat from their manipulation, but not until they have done some serious damage to their relationships. That is the only real criticism I have for these books or for Lori's writings. Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and a wagon train ride west.