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Wild Rain: Women Who Dare (2021)

by Beverly Jenkins

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Women Who Dare [Jenkins] (2)

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I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Spring Lee was seemingly as untamed as the Wyoming mountains, and frankly, just as impressive.

Second in the Women Who Dare series, Wild Rain, returns to the town of Paradise in the Wyoming Territory. Frequent readers of Ms. Jenkins will recognize a lot of characters and relations of former stars from previous books but I would only suggest Tempest, book three in the Old West series, as a possible book that you might want to read before this. The staring heroine here is Spring Lee, the sister of Dr. Colton Lee from Tempest but our hero Garrett McCray is a new character from out east, coming to interview Colton for his father's sundown newspaper. Spring comes upon Garrett after he is thrown from his horse and with an early spring blizzard, normally surly Spring lets Garrett stay at her cabin until his knee heals.

He’d left her feeling treasured, desired, something she’d never experienced before. It awakened a long-buried part of herself to the possibility of what could be, and that scared her.

Spring was the star of the show for me, she's fiercely and competently independent, strong willed, has some bite, and a little bit of vulnerability. When she was eighteen her grandfather threw her out of the house when she wouldn't marry the man he'd chosen for her. She ends up working on a ranch where the owner makes her trade sexual favors for the job and even “shares” her with his son. There's no flashbacks to this but the few times Spring thinks back to it, clearly shows how traumatic it was for her but how she survived and fought for the independent life she has now. Spring is one of those heroines who is deeply clear, what you see is what you get but there's an ocean to her thoughts and feelings.

Being enslaved, who he wanted to be had been beyond his grasp. Now free, his life, ambitions, and dreams were his own. He’d not turn the reins over to anyone else.

Spring was such a strong character that Garrett paled in comparison. A little farther into the book, we learn that he ran away from enslavement when he was fourteen and joined the Union Navy, read law because that was what his father wanted but ultimately became a carpenter for his own self-fulfillment. The author calls him a “cinnamon roll” hero and while he sweetly loved Spring and introduces her to foreplay and desire, he was too blankly just there for a lot of the story. There was some instant love going on too, he's ready to move out west to be with Spring already at around the 40% mark.

She’d chosen him for now, so he contented himself with holding her close and listening to the rain.

As always, Ms. Jenkins shines with her family dynamics and the second half provides that with Garrett having a heart-to-heart with his father about how he wants to live his life his way (it's a pretty emotional conversation as Garrett's father explains why he tries to control and hold so tightly to his two children) and Spring having to deal with unresolved issues with her grandfather. There's some drama with the son of the man Spring worked for, which I thought added good angst, but he brought along another character that wanted to build a saw mill and that whole storyline and its characters never felt settled in right and broke up some cohesive story structure for me. Along with emotional family dynamics, you'll always get interesting historical portions that help create a feel for the setting and characters. There's mention of sundown newspapers, the Sandy Creek Massacre, a Civil War ship battle, and the beginning of Jim Crow.

Being around Garrett McCray had altered her thinking about life and her place in it in ways that were new and challenging: from how she defined respect, to what she deserved from a man in bed. In his calm, quiet way he’d changed her, not necessarily into a better person but a different one.

With Spring and Garrett's love feeling too instant for me, I never fully felt the emotion in their bedroom scenes and those were what was left to carry the heft of their relationship in the second half. There's some ending angst with Spring not wanting children that gets resolved fairly quickly but still in a way that left me feeling their relationship was more of a happily for now instead of a happy sigh ever after. Ms. Jenkins does the old west vibe wonderfully, this couple just didn't strike any heavy emotionally chords for me. ( )
1 vote WhiskeyintheJar | Feb 5, 2021 |
I was rather late to discovering Beverly Jenkins, but when I did I rapidly devoured every title of hers I could find. I'm a huge fan of her contemporary fiction the "Blessings" series (and it's being developed into a television show). But I was introduced to her via her historical fiction and I reread all of them every year. (Yes, you read that correctly. I re-read all of her historical fiction titles every year!) I kicked off this year by re-reading her "Old West" series, and I'm glad I did because book three of that series introduced us to the Lees of Wyoming, Dr. Colton Lee, his sister, Spring Lee, and their cantankerous grandfather, Lee. Although it wasn't necessary to read Tempest before reading Wild Rain, it helped to refresh my memory a bit. (Hey, you try reading 450+ books a year and see if you can remember all of the details of every book read!)

Wild Rain is the second book in the Women Who Dare series and the action takes place a few months after Tempest ended. Tempest featured Colton Lee and his relationship with his wife, Regan Carmichael Lee. Wild Rain centers on Spring Lee, her developing relationship with Garrett McCray, a reporter from the East trying to help his father's sundown newspaper survive by bringing in stories of intriguing people of color from the US territories, namely Dr. Colton Lee. However, once Garrett McCray arrives in Wyoming territory, he finds that he is ill-prepared for riding horseback most of the day, days filled with snow, and his encounters with the unique Spring Rain Lee. Spring winds up saving Garrett on numerous occasions and introduces him to the folks in and around Paradise. Just when it seems as if Garrett is beginning to acclimate himself to life in Paradise and spending time with Spring, someone from her past makes an appearance in town and revives stories that belittle and demean her as a woman of worth. Can Garrett accept his attraction to a woman willing to stand up for herself and go against the norms of the time or will he succumb to his family wishes and return to D.C. and a life filled with constraints?

Although I had been looking forward to the next installment in the Women Who Dare series by Beverly Jenkins, I had no idea it was centered on a character from a previous book. Yes, I should have known and would have known if I had just read the synopsis. But all I saw was a new Beverly Jenkins book, historical fiction, and it was "hey, count me in!" Readers were introduced to a bit of Spring Lee's backstory in the book Tempest, but Ms. Jenkins provides quite a bit more in Wild Rain. We're also provided more information about Colton and Spring's paternal grandmother, and parents. It was quite nice getting to know more about Spring and her family heritage and it helped to explain why she made the decisions made in the past and why she lives as she does in the present. To say that Spring had a bit of a harsh upbringing after her parents' death would be a major understatement and most of that rests with her paternal grandfather, Ben. Garrett McCray was an interesting male protagonist. He was a former slave, former sailor during the Civil War, a skilled carpenter, and a reporter for a sundown newspaper (a newspaper that people worked on a part-time basis after they worked their full-time jobs, usually after the sun went down). Initially, Garrett was taken aback by Spring's lack of a male guardian, the fact that she owned and operated her own ranch, wore what he considered male clothing meaning denim, and went into saloons, but he grows to respect and love her for exactly who she is. Ms. Jenkins always provides interesting tidbits of Black American history in her fiction and her books usually feature an author's note at the end with a list of suggested reading. Wild Rain is a romance so of course, it has a HEA, but you'll need to read it to find out how the couple arrives at their "Happy Ever After." There's plenty of drama and even trauma before they get there. If you've read Tempest, then you'll definitely want to read Wild Rain. If you read Rebel, book 1 in the Women Who Dare series, then you should grab a copy of Wild Rain to read. If you enjoy reading historical romance or simply well-crafted romance, then I suggest you grab a copy of Wild Rain to read. For all you Ms. Bevy fans, I don't even have to tell you anything because I know you already have this one on your TBR list or you've pre-ordered it. I'll be ordering a print copy to give to my 86-y.o. mother now that I have her hooked on reading Ms. Bevy's books. Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did.

Happy Reading, y'all! ( )
  BookDivasReads | Feb 1, 2021 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Beverly Jenkinsprimary authorall editionscalculated
Barrow, PatriciaCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kmet, AnnaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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