Monday, September 3, 2018

Bound for Sin (Frontiers of the Heart #2) by Tess LeSue

Title: Bound for Sin (A Frontiers of the Heart novel)
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre:  Historical Romance
Series: A Frontiers of the Heart novel (Book 2)
Format: Paperback; 432 pages
Publisher: Berkley (September 4, 2018)
ISBN-10: 0451492595
ISBN-13: 978-0451492593
Author's Website:
Notes: I received an eARC loan through the publisher's First to Read program. Thank you.

'A respectable widow of means seeks resourceful frontiersman for the purpose of matrimony...'

That was the first line of the advertisement a desperate Georgiana Bee Blunt had listed in the paper. Georgiana has gotten herself into a real bind, or rather her late husband had. He and their young son had headed out west to make their fortune when he had passed away. Now she needs to go and retrieve her son, but there is a catch. Someone is holding him for ransom. She'll need to travel out west with her other children to save him. That means she'll need someone to help her because traveling so far with or without small children can be a deadly undertaking. Especially when you've been gently born and raised in the city where you've never needed to acquire any of the skills needed to survive such a perilous journey--not even cooking. She'll need someone to not only help her and her children make the trip safely, but someone who can help her maneuver the tricky situation she expects to  encounter once she finally gets to California. The major problem she's presently experiencing is that none of the potential candidates responding to her advertisement are anything near what she was looking for. Not even close.

Matt Slater is everything Georgina is looking for in a man--strong, knowledgeable about traveling the open trail, and capable of protecting her and her children. There is just one problem, Matt has no interest in settling down any time soon. He's made his living for the last five years as a trail guide escorting wagon trains back and forth between  Independence, Missouri and Oregon City, Oregon. He loves his job and it pays well. When he steps in to help the beautiful young widow who's in trouble, he finds himself in the middle of something he hadn't expected--a pretend engagement.

With months of traveling ahead of them, will Georgiana be able to convince the man to marry her, and escort her and the children to California to save her son? Only time will tell...
This was the second novel in the Frontiers of the Heart series by Tess LeSue. It can easily be read as a standalone as there is little to do with the couple from the previous novel in the series. Matt, however, is the brother of Luke (the 'hero' from the previous novel), and he is the reason Matt took over the trail riding job five years ago. He stepped in and took Luke's place when Luke decided to settle down. While I haven't read 'Bound for Eden', after reading the description, I really want to. It's a gender swapping novel and I always love it when the heroine poses as a boy. They are usually hilariously good.

I very much enjoyed 'Bound for Sin', and would love to see more Wild West period romances. Georgiana is a smart woman who finds herself between a rock and a hard place, and is boldly trying to strategically maneuver her way out of trouble. A difficult task to pull off  when living in a male dominated world. Ironically, my father-in-law just told me a story about how one of his ancestors had been a mail order bride. When she arrived in the United States to meet her prospective bride groom she decided she wanted nothing to do with the man and broke off their engagement. She eventually ended up marrying someone else, my father-in-law's great-grandfather, and the rest, as they say, is history. So there were definitely ways for smart  and innovative young women of the time to pick their own path in life, but it was by no means easy. I liked how Georgiana kind of turns the table on the mail order bride situation when she's gets to pick and choose her own spouse. I rather enjoyed how she took charge of her own destiny, and when things didn't go as she expected, she thought on her toes and found a solution.

Matt was a fun character who Georgiana describes as being very muscular, and looking like he could rip an oak from the earth bare-handed. He is a great guy who slowly finds himself falling for Georgiana and her kids. He's exactly what she needs but more importantly, she's exactly what he needs but doesn't know it yet. He tries to resist his feelings, but constantly finds himself being drawn to the young woman and her children. I loved watching these two fall in love.

It took me a little while to get hooked into the story, but I really liked it except for one thing--I took issue with the main character's last name--Bee Blunt. I'm guessing the author picked the name to be funny, but at times I found myself being ripped out of the fabric of the story when her true name was used because it usually coincided with a moment when I truly wanted Georgiana to be blunt and just spit out to Matt what was really going on. When this happened it emphasized the fact she should be blunt and it immediately released me from the story's grip. While it's fun to have little jokes running through a story, an author should make sure it doesn't distract the reader from the story. That is what unfortunately happened to me, and I didn't really care for it.

Overall, I gave this one 3 1/2 roses out of 5. It was a sweet, cute, and charming romance that managed to mix a little history into the story. I adored the chemistry between  Matt and Georgiana. and liked the reverse mail order bride scenario. There was some humor, a smidgen of suspense, and  a lot going on to keep one's interest. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating, this one earned a STEAM rating--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed.

Order of the Frontiers of the Heart series:

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