Monday, June 15, 2015

Ballad Beauty by Lauren Linwood

Publisher & Release Date: Soul Mate Publishing, March 25, 2015

Time and setting: 1875 Texas  

Genre: Historical Romance/Western Romance

Length: 232 pages

Heat Level: 1 Scorching Hot Flames

Rating: 4 Gold Crowns

After ten years apart, Boston schoolmarm Jenny McShanahan receives a letter from her beloved father that instructs her to join him in Texas. She has no idea that he’s become Famous Sam McShan, the Robin Hood of the West. She arrives to find Sam already gone, but he left instructions for Jenny to hire a guide and rendezvous with him in Nevada. 

Texas Ranger Noah Daniel Webster knows Sam personally because his father, Pistol Pete Webber, was Sam’s longtime partner in crime. When Pete is killed during their last big score, Noah requests the assignment to bring Sam to justice. Going undercover, he volunteers to act as Jenny’s escort across the dangerous prairie, using her to track her outlaw father’s location. 

As they journey through rough country, love blossoms—but Noah knows the second he arrests Sam, his betrayal will kill Jenny’s love for him. Should the lawman do his duty as a Ranger, or should he let love rule? The choice Noah makes will change their lives forever.

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Vikki’s Musings

I’m quite impressed with Ms. Linwood’s ability to go from one distinctly different sub-genre to another. I had enjoyed Music for the Soul and A bit of Heaven on Earth tremendously, which are both medieval and wasn’t sure that this switch would work for me, but she handled it well, taking me from medieval England to western Texas without a blink of the eye.

Jenny McShanahan receives a letter from her papa with tickets and money to join him out west. It’s been ten long years since he left her at a Boston boarding school, where she remained as a student for eight years and then a teacher for the last two. Now, as a young woman of twenty, she is ready to begin her adventurous journey with a joyous heart and finally be re-united with her father.

Noah Daniel Webster, a Texas Ranger, stumbles across Jenny in Texas where she is trying to find a guide to take her to her father in Prairie Dell. Turns out, her father is Sam McShan, a notorious outlaw, and Daniel needs to capture him and bring him to justice. He offers to be Jenny’s guide, and they set off on the arduous two week journey. Can a schoolmarm and a Texas Ranger find true love, or will Daniel’s secret drive them apart?

Ballad Beauty flows well and is a fast-paced story with loads of surprises along the way, keeping me guessing throughout the entire book. This tale of love led me on an enthralling ride through old Texas and Nevada. The story gave a strong sense of the time period, which is what I have come to expect from Ms. Linwood’s writing.

I enjoyed the romance between Jenny and Daniel a great deal. There is plenty of good old-fashioned sexual tension from their first meeting and it only burns brighter as the story progresses. Both characters are easy to love, Jenny with her fierce determination and independence, and Daniel with his perseverance to always do the right thing, even if it goes against his desires.

Now this is why I could not give Ballad Beauty 5 Gold Crowns. I found myself getting a bit lost in the timeline of the story. At times, it seems as if the events happened too fast, especially the part that involved the villain. It just seemed somewhat out of sync to me. The other small problem I had was the point of view shifts from one character to the other without any forewarning. That took me a bit out of the story.

Nonetheless, an enjoyable read, and I look forward to reading future books by Ms. Linwood. If you like stories with lots of action and a great romance, then Ballad Beauty will be one you will want to read. Happy reading!

Author Bio: 

Lauren Linwood became a teacher who wrote on the side to maintain her sanity in a sea of teenage hormones. Her historical romances use history as a backdrop to place her characters in extraordinary circumstances, where their intense desire for one another grows into the treasured gift of love. Her romantic suspense novels feature strong heroes and heroines who unite to defeat a clever antagonist and discover a deep, abiding love during their journey.
A native Texan, Lauren lives in a Dallas suburb with her family. An avid reader, moviegoer, and sports fan, she manages stress by alternating yoga with long walks. She plans to start a support group for House Hunters addicts—as soon as she finishes her next piece of dark chocolate.


  1. Thanks for taking the time to read & review BALLAD BEAUTY, Vikki!