Friday, June 29, 2018

More Than Meets the Eye by Karen Witemeyer #REVIEWED

Many consider Evangeline Hamilton cursed. Orphaned at a young age and possessing a pair of mismatched eyes--one bright blue, the other dark brown--Eva has fought to find her way in a world that constantly rejects her. Yet the support of even one person can help overcome the world's judgments, and Eva has two--Seth and Zach, two former orphans she now counts as brothers.

Seeking justice against the man who stole his birthright and destroyed his family, Logan Fowler arrives in 1880s Pecan Gap, Texas, to confront Zach Hamilton, the hardened criminal responsible for his father's death. Only instead of finding a solitary ruthless gambler, he discovers a man not much older than himself with an unusual family. When Zach's sister, Evangeline, insists on dousing Logan with sunshine every time their paths cross, Logan finds his quest completely derailed. Who is truly responsible for his lost legacy, and will restoring the past satisfy if it means forfeiting a future with Evangeline?

The prologue for this book is powerful. Had me tearing up within the first few minutes of opening the cover. From that point on, you have to know what will happen to the orphan characters, because you've become connected to them on a heart level, every single one.

Logan and Eva are both beautifully flawed characters, and their journey is a delight to read. From the heroine's unique family and newfound friends to a horse and pet pig named after Old Testament prophets (one of which wears a red bow to avoid becoming ham steaks), the secondary characters display show-stealer potential. Their plot weaves in and out with the main characters' goals so well. I have a hunch we'll be seeing Zach's story soon, and the anticipation is getting to me already. The jaded son of a riverboat gambler who gave up his dreams to raise two orphans? I have a feeling his story is going to be well worth the wait.

I was delighted to see a dual romance thread in this book. Smart, protective men and strong-but-feminine women shine through all the ups and downs of finding love in tough circumstances. The nerd in me loved to see a bookish romance between secondary characters, while the western-loving part of me smiled at the roguish antics of the tough and gruff leading man with his Lady Sunshine.

One aspect that sets apart the main romantic story, is the hero's "wooing" the heroine to get information from her that will advance his goals, which of course accidentally turns into a real courtship, leaving our hero with lots of well-deserved inner conflict! I enjoyed watching him squirm under the glaring light of his conscience while wrestling between serving up justice and admitting his heart had found its home with a plucky little farm-girl sporting mismatched eyes.

Overall, this story delighted me with surprises and fueled my curiosity for the next book in the series. There were only a couple times I didn't quite understand the hero's decisions in relation to the villain, but the resulting danger and edge-of-your-seat moments saw me turning pages faster to keep up with the action! The author's trademark wit, adventure, and warm western charm saturates this story. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys inspirational western romance with a giggle.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher free of charge. My review is voluntary, and the opinions expressed are my own.


Let's chat!