Author: Carla Kelly
Pages: 281 (Mass Market Paperback)
Publisher: Harlequin Historical
Release Date: April 23, 2013
Purchase: Amazon•TBD (affiliate link)
On The Frontier Of A New Life...
Tired and hungry after two days of traveling, Susanna Hopkins is just about at the end of her tether when her train finally arrives in Cheyenne. She's bound for a new life in a Western garrison town. Then she discovers she doesn't even have enough money to pay for the stagecoach! Luckily for her, the compassionate Major Joseph Randolph is heading in the same direction.
As a military surgeon, Joe is used to keeping his professional distance. But, despite Susanna's understated beauty, he's drawn to this woman who carries loss and pain equal to his own and has a heart that is just as hesitant and wary...
I was expecting Her Hesitant Heart to be a sweet Western Romance, and it was. Sadly, it was also quite boring once the romance portion actually started. Susanna has left her life in Pennsylvania behind. Well, she’s actually saving her life by leaving, since her husband is sure to kill her in his drunken stupor. Luckily, she has a cousin at Fort Laramie and a teaching position lined up for when she arrives. Unluckily, she can’t afford the whole trip. But Joe is heading that way and invites Susanna to join him for the rest of the journey.
What I really liked about Her Hesitant Heart was that Susanna wasn’t going to let society’s double standards hold her back. She knows what people say about women who file for divorce. But she knows that she would have ended up dead if she stayed. She’s not happy about leaving her son behind, but she also knows that her husband’s true nature will show itself and she’ll get her son back. But not everyone sees it that way. The cousin she’s staying with decides to tell everyone that she’s a war widow to avoid embarrassment, which is the driving drama force. I was glad that Joe knew the truth, so there wouldn’t be a stupid fight over it later.
Other than that, I just wasn’t that into Her Hesitant Heart. I felt like the romantic development was too subtle and almost completely in the background. A lot of the focus was on Susanna starting her life in this new place. While I liked seeing her stand up for herself, I wanted more out of her interactions with Joe. It’s all very sweet and proper. He’s her one ally in this town, because he’s also an outsider. But I just never felt that moment where they fell in love. Suddenly they just are and then live happily every after.