|ONLY HIS||ONLY MINE||ONLY YOU||ONLY LOVE|
|Caleb Black & Willow Moran||Wolf Lonetree & Lady Jessica Charteris||Matt "Reno" Moran & Eve Lyons||Rafael "Whip" Moran & Shannon Conner Smith|
Original first edition covers. They are in categorized as being "in exile" because they have been packed away for a few years now.
This series is a great example of the western romance genre. Part Little House on The Prairie, part spaghetti western. Hee! Great descriptions of trail riding and camping in canyons and meadows. You really get a feel for being in the Old West. I consider it a pretty honest depiction. Living out there wasn’t pretty; it wasn’t easy. The heroes don’t have massive sacks of cash to enhance their masculinity. They are heroes by virtue of their blood, sweat, tears and brains. Same with the women. I am exhausted after reading these books because the trail ride and the daily labor that goes into just surviving day to day in the Old West is relentless and often brutal. Chopping wood, hobbling and feeding the horses, starting a fire, setting up your lean-to, quartering your back trail for varmints, collecting water — all this has to be done BEFORE you can fix yourself some food.
I’m so glad I bought them as first editions with their wonderful step-back covers because all subsequent covers have sucked. Boring, bland, banal quasi-images representing no thing. Cheap-ass bargain-basement non-art. The cheapskate covers started, as you can see, with ONLY LOVE. Ugh.
Willow, Matt, and Whip are brothers and sister. Lady Jessica is the niece of Wolf’s father’s second wife. Caleb was hunting Reno in a "big misunderstanding" scenario. Wolf is a friend of Caleb’s and Reno’s and was having a crisis of conscience when he thought Caleb was hunting Reno. Wolf treated Jessica like crap for most of their story which got on my nerves for a bit — very 1970s misogynist scenario; same with Reno. He was like Kirk Douglas to her Lana Turner. The best bits were how the characters would guest star in each other’s stories. Plus, several of my Rules for Sequels play out in each of the stories. In fact, OL holds clues — well, not so much clues as huge signs with blinking lights that a new series is in the works.
And you know what? Going through those books again, I found 2 grammatical errors in OL, as opposed to 10 or more that you might find in any Ellora’s Cave book. Another point in favor of these older books was that the stories sound like they were written my mature writers and not some post-grad with writing software.
The "Only" series spun off into a duo of books about a pair of brothers from Texas: Autumn Lover and Winter Fire. AL was a mixed bag of mixed messages — like the author couldn’t make up her mind which tack to take. The heroine of the story had to take more crap than Ophelia from the hero, who was even less decisive than Hamlet at a bargain buffet. So that one I did not like so much. WF was better, the hero was more consistent and centered.
At the end of the day, I miss Lowell writing these types of stories. These are keepers not because of the love scenes (which are very nice, don’t get me wrong), but because they are fun, exciting, engrossing stories. Because of the attention to detail — which in a historical romance, is vital. Fans will call an author on the nitpickiest things if they aren’t careful.
|Autumn Lover (orig. cover)||Winter Fire (orig. cover/HB)|