Friday, April 28, 2017

~REVIEW BLITZ~ Love On the Prairie ~ by Ciara Knight

Title: Love on the Prairie
Author: Ciara Knight
Genre: Historical, Western Romance
Cover Designer: Clarissa Yeo
Editor: Cora Artz and Emily Sewell
Hosted by: Lady Amber's PR

Abigail McKinnie refuses to allow her sisters to be dispersed across the nation as mail order brides. Despite the fact the union soldiers took everything from them during their march through Atlanta-their lands scorched, house burned, food stolen-she won’t give up. With a plan in place, she sets out for Kansas to her second cousin under the guise of marriage. But instead, she plans to convince him that the seven of them can help run the homestead for him. Her plan is full proof, until she makes the arduous journey to discover he’s dead.

Owen Baker vows to never have a woman in his life again after the death of so many in his life, but when Abigail McKinnie struts onto his land claiming ownership on behalf of her dead cousin, he’s dumbfounded by her drive and beauty. Despite her abilities and their attraction, he vows to throw her over his horse to deliver her to the first train home the minute she recuperates from her trip.

Faced with living in a small dugout through storms, Indian attacks, and violent gunmen, they realize they must work together to save the homestead, the last hope for the McKinnie sisters and Owen’s heart. But when their attraction becomes more formidable than the surrounding elements, they will have to overcome their fear or lose everything.

I think it's only fair to start this review with the admission that I really don't tend to gravitate towards books that are straight romance. The only romance I usually read is the paranormal type. BUT, in this case, I knew this author. I knew there was going to be nothing typical or cheesy about this read. And frankly, anything based in the Civil War era intrigues me, because there was so much more to it that didn't make the war as simple as our history books have made it sound. Nor was the westward expansion that was going on at the same time. Americans during this time period had to work HARD to survive, no matter where they were, who they were battling, or if they were trying desperately to avoid battles altogether.

I could not have been more right about trusting this author and where she would take this story. If you're looking for steamy romance, this book isn't where you'll find it, but you definitely won't need it. This author did her research -- like you wouldn't believe the details. I don't think there's anything she DIDN'T research. From the first page, you immediately FEEL the hardships those that were in the middle of the war (literally) dealt with. It didn't even matter if they chose to be a part of the war -- pure location of their home made them a part of it. And the women had more hardships than I realized, as men in the families -- sometimes all of them -- died in the war, leaving the women to take care of entire plantations alone. If they survived it. Homes and land were burned, and the women were often left with nothing, sometimes being forced to be mail order brides in order to save their own lives or the lives of their families.

This is where Abigail's story begins. The eldest of her sisters, she heads to the prairies to marry someone she's never met, hoping he's not abusive or dangerous himself, and finds prairie life is a whole different type of difficult. The storms, the hard land, the wars with Indians, a different culture...and a man that's living on the land that she didn't expect, because he was working with the man she was supposed to marry...who died while she was traveling.

My absolute favorite part of this book is the fact that it wasn't a story of a hardened man, softened by the love of a woman, and they live happily ever after. Largely because it simply didn't work that way in that time. From the very beginning, with bleeding feet and building blisters, she fought to work the land every day, and prove that she didn't need this man's help, and she would never give up on saving her sisters from becoming mail order brides, being separated forever. She would build enough to get them there so they could work together to build their new home. This story was about an exceptionally strong woman, and a man that felt more affection towards her for her toughness and bravery.

Abigail found on a daily basis that there were more twists and turns that life, and other people in the town and the prairies would throw at her, and she not only rolled with the punches, but she did it in her own way...not the way others would expect. And along the way, she had the growing admiration and attention of the only man who's opinion mattered to her.

By the end of this book, I had such admiration for Abigail, Owen, and her other sisters. I found their strengths giving ME drive to do better in life. This was the perfect combination of true history, and being able to really feel for myself the daily hardships, while being able to grow relationships that were both powerful and sweet. I can't wait to read the next book, which I assume is the next sister's adventures, and find how she overcomes her own obstacles and past horrors.

Ciara Knight writes with a ‘Little Edge and a Lot of Heart’ with her contemporary and paranormal romance books. Her most recent #1 Amazon bestselling series, Sweetwater County, has topped the charts and received acclaimed reviews. Her international best-seller, Pendulum scored 4 stars from RT Book Reviews, accolades from InD’Tale Magazine and Night Owl Top Pick. Her young adult paranormal series, Battle for Souls, received 5 stars from Paranormal Romance Guild and Night Owl’s Top Pick, among other praises.

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