Last year I reviewed Indigo by Beverly Jenkins, and it was book of the month for February 2012. I'm almost ashamed to say that I haven't read anything else by her since, but there are many books and little time. Until now. Let's jump right in.
Mariah comes from a rough upbringing, with her mother having abused her for most of her life. Finally breaking away after years of ill treatment, she pursues a job as a housekeeper for rancher Logan Yates. Logan is used to being the one in charge, so he's taken aback by Mariah's bossy and determined nature. He's even more surprised to find himself attracted to her, even as the two argue endlessly.
One of the things Jenkins seems to do very well is building chemistry through dialogue. The conversations between Mariah and Logan feel passionate, and you can tell that they have vivid feelings for one another, even when they're angry. It's a very effective way of building the sexual tension, as well as making them a genuinely convincing couple.
Much of the story and it's conflicts center around Mariah finding freedom, self worth, and a place for herself. I liked that she's willful, and I like that she stands up for herself when Logan tries to be pushy with her. I was genuinely glad that she manages to separate herself from her hateful home life, and that the new family she discovered was so very ready to embrace her.
The Yates family, apart from being full of sequel bait, are quite charming and unique. Alanza, Logan's stepmother, seems to have lead quite the interesting life, and she's come out of it with a great deal of self possession and perceptiveness. I'm eager to see more of her and her sons in future books.
If the book has a flaw worth mentioning, it's that the happy ending is arrived at rather easily. There's nothing really stopping Logan and Mariah from being together. This is evident when they finally decide to make a go of it, and the remainder of the book is a ride over rainbows on the back of unicorns under a shower of stars and happiness (and the unicorn kick's Mariah's mom in the face for good measure). It's just a little too much sweet for my taste, without the bitterness earlier in the story to make it palatable.
I finished this book, if not wholly satisfied, than at least fairly cheerful. I look forward to more books in the series. Historical romance fans who like a ranch setting will like this book. 4 stars.