Sunday, June 30, 2013

Review: Scattered Petals by Amanda Cabot

Book Cover and Synopsis:
Longing for adventure, Priscilla Morton leaves Boston and heads for Texas, never dreaming that the adventure she seeks will leave her badly injured and her parents dead. Priscilla is determined to rebuild her life and make a home for herself in the beautiful Hill Country. But the bandits who took her parents' lives also destroyed her hope for the future.

Ranch foreman Zachary Webster knows what the future holds for him, and it's not a woman like Priscilla. She deserves a cultured East Coast gentleman, not a cowboy who's haunted by memories of his mistakes. The best thing he can do is leave her alone.

When necessity draws them together, Priscilla and Zach begin to forge a life that, like the scattered petals of her childhood, is filled with promise. But then the past intrudes, threatening their very existence.

My Thoughts:
There's something about arranged or "convenient" marriages that makes for a great story. Without fail, it's always fun to watch the aftermath of these situations as two people slowly fall in love with each other, in the midst of their marriage. In this case Priscilla's trauma adds a unique twist to the typical situation, as she can't stand the thought of a man's touch--not even something as little as holding hands--for fear of the horrific memories it evokes.

Generally I don't pick up books that involve a woman being assaulted, simply because I prefer to read lighter fare... In this case I had previously purchased the whole Texas Dreams series based solely on the synopsis of the first book, so I didn't really know what I had here until I started reading. Though I was initially hesitant, I quickly found myself caught up in Priscilla's drama, wondering how she would manage to pick up the shattered pieces of her life.

The story touches on--and in many cases actually revolves around--some pretty tough issues, but it's handled very tactfully. The author presents the raw matters with realism, yet keeps certain details vague enough to prevent the content from being too edgy.

If there's one thing I didn't care for, it would have to be Jean-Michael and the small sections of story written from his perspective. Admittedly, I never have much sympathy or affection for villains, but I can't help feeling that his character was a bit one dimensional. His thoughts alternated between revenge and pride over his (supposedly) high intellect, and that was pretty much the extent of his character.

Despite a semi-annoying villain, ultimately I'm glad to have read this novel. Priscilla's story is a difficult one, but it's very intriguing to watch as she slowly heals and pieces together a new life. Zach is very kind in his consideration for Priscilla, and even though it makes things difficult, he is always mindful of her fear of men. They both have deep wounds from the past, but together they slowly help each other heal, without even realizing it. It's these two characters and their slow-but-steady relationship that made this my favorite book in the Texas Dreams trilogy. Recommended!

My Rating: 4 stars

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