Series: Mesquite Springs #1
Published by Revell Books on March 3, 2020
Source: the publisher
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Ten years after her parents were killed, Evelyn Radcliffe is once more homeless. The orphanage that was her refuge and later her workplace has burned to the ground, and only she and a young orphan girl have escaped. Convinced this must be related to her parents' murders, Evelyn flees with the girl to Mesquite Springs in the Texas Hill Country and finds refuge in the home of Wyatt Clark, a talented horse rancher whose plans don't include a family of his own.
At first, Evelyn is a distraction. But when it becomes clear that trouble has followed her to Mesquite Springs, she becomes a full-blown disruption. Can Wyatt keep her safe from the man who wants her dead? And will his own plans become collateral damage?
Suspenseful and sweetly romantic, Out of the Embers is the first in a new series that invites you to the Texas Hill Country in the 1850s, when the West was wild, the men were noble, and the women were strong.
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I flew through Out of the Embers by Amanda Cabot today while staying inside for social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic. This is the perfect story to read at a time like this because it is heartwarming and stress-free, and the characters are so likable. I felt like I could visualize everything in my head just like a movie, which made the experience even better.
The story takes place in 1850’s Texas in the Hill Country. Wyatt runs a horse ranch and lives there with his mother and sister. Evelyn is new to town after fleeing her old town when her home (the orphanage) burns to the ground. Evelyn brings with her a young girl named Polly who also lived at the orphanage and has lost both of her parents.
I love the way Wyatt’s mother Isolde and sister Dorothy take the girls right into their home. They feed them, they help them get some new clothes, and they don’t treat them as if they’re sad or pitiful. In fact, they allow Evelyn to show her thanks by taking over the cooking duties at the ranch, so Evelyn doesn’t feel quite so indebted to them. They all grow close and feel like family, and this is something that I felt leaping off of the pages.
Wyatt is great. He’s a leader on the ranch, shouldering the majority of the responsibility for taking care of his family. He’s also courteous and kind, and he treats both Evelyn and young Polly well. Even though there are eventually multiple people that have their eyes on Evelyn for courting and marriage, he is a gentleman throughout the process. The relationship between Evelyn and Wyatt grows from a friendship into a sweet romance.
I loved that even though this is very much an 1850’s-story, the female characters were not doormats. The women were esteemed in this town. They had responsibilities and jobs, and they were respected for their opinions and feelings. So this really feels very forward in terms of the social norms of the time without being so progressive that it didn’t ring true. I suspect that we’ll see even more of this as the series continues, as the next book features Wyatt’s sister Dorothy, who dreams of being a writer.
There is a thread of mystery and suspense in here, but not so much that it made my pulse pound. There are mysteries involving two of the secondary characters and I like the way everything worked out with their big reveals.
I loved the story, I loved the setting, and I can’t wait to hear more from Mesquite Springs, TX whenever I can get my hands on the next book.