The Windswept Flame
Marcia McClure / Western Romance
Broken - irreparably broken. The violent deaths of her father and the young man she'd been engaged to marry, had irrevocably broken Cedar Dale's heart. Her mother's heart had been broken, as well - shattered by the loss of her own true love. Thus, pain and anguish - fear and despair- found Cedar Dale, and her mother Flora, returned to the small western town where life had once been happy and filled with hope. Perhaps there, Cedar and her mother would find some resemblance of truly living life - instead of merely existing. And then, a chance meeting with a dream from her past - caused a flicker of wonder to ignite in her bosom. As a child, Cedar Dale had adored the handsome rancher's son, Tom Evans. And when chance brought her face-to-face with the object of her childhood fascination once more, Cedar Dale began to believe that perhaps her fragmented heart could be healed. Yet, could Cedar truly hope to win the regard of such a man above men as was Tom Evans? A man kept occupied with hard word work and ambition - a man so desperately sought after by seemingly every woman?
(click on the title to read how I felt)
I have NO idea where to start other than to say that Marcia McClure should be declared a LETHAL weapon to the hearts of women. Honestly, her books need to have a warning label on them because I can't read one without being reduced to a puddle of mess when I'm finished. This book was no different and to say that I LOVED this book would be a HUGE understatement. But as I sit here trying desperately to write this review, I'm stuck because what do I gush over first because believe me, all I want to do is gush. This book has EVERYTHING a lover of romance is looking for and pulls you so deeply into the lives of the characters that you feel everything alongside them. To me that's a sign of a great writer, when I'm worn out after reading because I've experienced a wide range of emotions. So where to begin?
First off, I need to finally admit that thanks to Marcia, I'm starting to have a thing for cowboys. My gosh, I knew I was going to like Tom because he featured in his brother Slater's book Weathered Too Young but nothing prepared me for just how MUCH I would love him. What truly did it for me wasn't the image of a ruggedly handsome cowboy with a mischievious smile but of a memory Cedar had of him from when she was a young girl. How can you possibly resist a man who patiently sits with a crying girl and talks with her as he works to untangle her hair from the knots she put in it? I know I can't and I can pretty much mark that as the moment I melted and from then on, it was ALL a downhill slide to the puddle I ended up in. Tom is truly a sigh worthy character and I'm afraid anything I say about him wouldn't near do him justice.
I LOVED the way he flirted with Cedar (who by the way I also loved and what an amazing name right?) from when he boldly asked her whether she thought he would be a good lover to where he dared her to back up into the doorway so he could show her how scandalous he could be. He is an INCREDIBLY easy character to fall in love with and that's not even mentioning the man's kisses. MY GOSH!!! I could sit here forever and gush over the kisses in this book. This is something you can guarantee when you read one of Marcia's books - she will ALWAYS give you at least one kiss that will absolutely have you gasping for air. Tom and Cedar's first date waltzing in the moonlight (did I mention Tom was also EXTREMELY romantic) leads up to a hot kiss that rivals other Marcia kiss favorites of mine - Lochlan in The Highwayman of Tanglewood, Swaggart in Kissing Cousins and Mason in Shackles of Honor. MY GOSH I think the sigh I let out reading those pages were loud enough that my parents in Australia heard it. Add on top of that, Tom giving Cedar one of my personal types of kissing favorites - an up against the wall (well in this case up against the school door) and I was in kiss HEAVEN.
Cedar was a worthy love interest for Tom and I felt a real connection with her. She had lost her father and fiance in a brutal act of violence and she struggled with balancing the love she had for her fiance and the renewed love she was feeling for Tom. I understood her worry that she hadn't grieved enough and of the guilt she felt that it was too soon for her to feel hope again. She was a great character to read and I LOVED watching her open up to Tom and regain some of the spunk she had lost. Tom was so considerate in his courting her, torn between loosing control and as he said "mauling" her in his growing desire and being "careful" with her because she had been so hurt. It was great being able to her reach out and take what she wanted despite her fear of losing again. GREAT GREAT storyline.
Add all that together and the story was amazing by itself but Marcia couldn't just leave my heart be. Nope, she had to go and add a SECOND love storyline into the book, one that would have reduced me to a puddle by itself. I'll let you discover that on your own when you read the book (it would be crazy for you not to) but as a little teaser let me add - when the woman shared with the man that he hardly knew her, his sigh inducing reply was "My soul knows yers. That's enough for now" and it sealed the deal that this was my new Marcia favorite. There are so many beautiful, funny and heart melting places in this book. I went into the book knowing I'd enjoy it and was left feeling like I'd been given much much more. As with all her books, this is a MUST read and one that will be still sitting on my shelves, lovingly and thoroughly read when I'm old and grey... well older and greyer. Happy reading :D
Rating : 5 VERY HUGE stars
What Kind Of Review Can You Expect?
If I could describe what kind of reader I am, I would hands down say I was an emotional one. When I read I want to fully experience the book, from the emotions coursing through the characters to reacting to the twist and turns of the storyline. I'm looking for those books that fire up my imagination and leave me breathless when it's over. It's for this reason why the reviews I write aren't so much what I think and are more on how I feel. My hopes in sharing my review in this way is that something will spark an interest and have you wanting to have the same experiences. This isn't to say I don't have issues with grammar, word choices etc. Trust me I do and most times all it takes is waiting for the story to grab hold for it not to matter. When I do include things about what I thought about the book (for example I've included comments about word choices and being too descriptive), I only do so because it directly affected how I felt. I hope this helps. Enjoy!