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Sing My Name by Ellen O'Connell
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Sing My Name

by Ellen O'Connell

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I fell in love with Sarah and Matt as they struggled to survive after a deadly Comanche attack. The love that blossomed between them was sweet and had a pure quality about it. There is a lot of angst in this story and I grew to despise Carter (a high ranking Union soldier and Sarah's intended) as well as a few townsfolk for causing it.

Sarah was a wonderful heroine. Matt taught her how to survive during their time together on the Texas prairie. When they reached civilization, she knew what she wanted and mustered all her courage to get it. Carter's jealousy and hatred led him to "punish" and interfere with the couple in a way that tore them apart, leaving emotional and physical scars. Still, Sarah wasn't willing to give up on life, or the man who held her heart, so she fought with all she had to get back to him. Her love kept her going, even in the face of unfair judgments and pious criticism with little to no support.

Matt's wit and humor were endearing and he lived life with a code of honor, having seen too much death and injustice in the military. He was a war hero, but treated as Rebel trash at the hands of Carter and his powerful friends. Despite the years stolen from him, he never stopped loving Sarah. He was a bit lost for awhile and even from the beginning he told himself he wasn't good enough for her, a notion she refused to accept. I also liked the way his "code" rubbed off on others, especially Beau and the other gunslingers he rode with.

It was interesting to see how two people's lives could affect the people around them. I was firmly rooted in the story and never stopped pulling for that happy ending. I was not disappointed. If you like Historical Western romances, you'll want to add this to your list. It's a story of love surviving against the odds that will stay with me for years to come. ( )
  Becky_McKenna | Mar 10, 2016 |
I love all of Ellen O'Connell's other books, but this one didn't quite do it for me.

One was the writing style at times, I don't remember this from any of her other books, but in this one she had a habit of hinting at something, but not fully explaining it for a few more pages. This threw me a few times. And in a similar way there were times when things just weren't explained well in general. The ending in particular comes to mind here as the final confrontation was written a little vaguely. I had to read it a few times to get the gist of what had happened.

These other two things that bothered me are just my personal preferences. One was that I didn't fall in love with Matt. Of all of O'Connell's leading characters I found him the least consistent and believable. However, the dialogue between Matt and Sarah (which is one of the author's strengths in my opinion) was still good. Not quite up to par as her other books - which are often knock-you-on-your-ass romantic - but still frequently better than most.

The last point is that most of the book is rather on the sad side, IMO. For the first 30% they are fighting for their lives escaping Comanches and traveling across the Texas desert. Then, when they are rescued, they are separated and Matt goes to trial and then jail for 3 years. Sarah has a baby on her own and has to learn to survive and Matt gets so beat up he loses an eye and is severely scarred. Then Matt is released and they spent the next four years apart for no good reason. When they are finally reunited (60% in) Matt is determined for Sarah to have a life without him in it. Its heartbreaking most of the time that forces keep these two apart. I like my romances to be a little happier. Also, what I loved in O'Connell's other books was that the hero and heroine spent the majority of the book falling in love. It always felt believable to me that her characters would get to know each other over many months and then fall in love. This book doesn't follow this formula.

Still a book by Ellen O'Connell is still better than most. She has a way with words at times that speaks to the heart.

"One thing about it, staying awake all night making sure she didn't talk or cry out in her sleep was going to be easy. No power on earth could make him sleep through one moment of holding her."

"I forgot that happiness isn't just a quiet, passive thing. It isn't just the lack of unhappiness. This is happiness, this wild, delicious feeling fizzing inside me."
( )
  emmytuck | Sep 27, 2013 |
I was blown away by her first Western and when I finished it and it came to picking the next book to read it was a no-brainer that this would be the one I'd read. As with the previous book, this, THIS is the reason I love Westerns so much. This book is all that I can ask a romance to be; poignant, moving, sad with tenderly sweet funny moments. Both the hero and heroine are to die for great and as with EoS,EoG, the characters are HONEST with each other even though they may not agree.

The story starts out with Matt being mistaken for an outlaw by a couple of bounty hunters. The fact that they have the wrong guy doesn't bother them at all. It picks up after the two bounty hunters and their prisoner have joined an army wagon train heading west. Sarah is headed west to join her fiance, and army officer. She's not in love with him, but is going along with the engagement as she thinks he is better than she can expect and her parents are quite impressed with him. During their journey, she is horrified at the way Matt, our prisoner is being treated and she takes measures to make sure he is treated more humanely. Not long after this, the entire party is attacked by Indians and Matt and Sarah are the only survivors. While Sarah has lived a life of pampered luxury, Matt is well versed in how to survive and the two of them head out to try and make it to the nearest fort. As it's just the two of them, they get to know each other very well. Sarah soon realizes that Matt couldn't possibly be the criminal he was under guard for and for his part, while Matt realizes that Sarah has lead an entirely different kind of life than he has, he admires her tremendously for her 'pluck'. Along the way they fall deeply in love and while Matt is aware of the difference in their stations, he succumbs to the growing love between them. Because they spend time talking, and getting to know each other, the reader can feel the love developing between them. Unlike many a romance where the hero/heroine only have a surface knowledge before declaring their love, with Matt and Sarah, we know it's solid, but undeclared on Matt's side.

They finally make it almost to the fort where they are headed before giving in to hunger, thirst and exhaustion. When Sarah awakens, it's too a livid fiance; a fiance with power who doesn't hesitate to use it. Matt is sent to jail on trumped up charges and Sarah reputation is ruined. At this point there is a separation between them and those reader who aren't fans of long separations may be disappointed in this next section. But it didn't bother me as I was loving the story and I felt that this parting was necessary. The time focuses on Sarah and how her life is a struggle and yet she is so determined to wait for Matt no matter what obstacles are thrown in her way. It serves as a real transition time for her from a somewhat helpless young woman unsure of her own strength into a woman with loyalty, patience and, well, true grit who will survive anything.

Matt is finally released from prison and takes up with a gang of gunslingers. While they don't do anything illegal, they skirt the line at times. He believes the time is lost where he and Sarah could have made a go of it, but Sarah has never faltered in her love for Matt and when circumstances bring them together once more, she absolutely refuses to take no for an answer. I've mentioned before how I love it when a hero is gone for the hero but in this story it is Sarah who is completely gone for Matt. Obstacles? What obstacles. The only one she sees is Matt himself and simply will not take no for an answer.

Sing My Name is simply..... beautiful. It's gritty at times and not easy to read in some places but it's balance out with gently humour and a hero who no matter what life throws at him, meets it with a level headed kind of acceptance. While he had every right to be bitter and angry, he's mature enough to know that he would be the one hurt the most. Sing My Name is REAL. The characters are wonderfully written, from Matt and Sarah, both young and innocent at the start of the book, to mature and capable at the end. The secondary characters are also so very well done. The gang of men Matt is a member of come alive, two in particular. A very dear friend of Sarah betrays her and while she did it thinking it was in Sarah's best interest, there is no simple forgiveness that often drives us readers nuts.

I loved Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold but I think I love this one just a tiny bit more. I know I'll be reading both of them over and over. ( )
  dkthain | Dec 29, 2010 |
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A hardened gunfighter and a respectable widow should never meet, never fall in love, except that Matt Slade and Sarah Hammond did - eight years ago when love between Rebel boy and Yankee girl nearly destroyed them both. Now nothing will stop the old desire from tearing through their lives again.… (more)

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