|There’s no story for the third Blackthorn brother, Utah.|
Just a note to the sisterhood of serious collectors: none of the covers pictured above are the original covers except for Outlaw. That’s a black-haired Fabio on the cover, btw. It took me the better part of a year and a lot of driving around San Antonio to find original editions of the books. A first edition Silhouette Desire of Warrior I found on eBay just last year. The rest I found at Half-Price Books and local used book sales back in the 90s. So for about 4 years, I was steeping myself in westerns. And I learned a lot about the lifestyle. A bit like Little House on The Prairie with an adult conscience.
It’s been over 15 years since the first one, Reckless Love came out and first covers are getting harder and harder to find. F&R, Outlaw, Granite Man and Warrior all started out as Silhouette Desire romances. RL was a Harlequin Historical in its first incarnation. With the exception of Outlaw and Warrior, all the heroes were verbally and emotionally abusive to the heroines. Unnecessarily so. It’s a trait of this genre that it can’t quite shake off.
Here’s an excerpt from EL’s author site: (basically a repeat of what I wrote.)
- Reckless Love – HH #38 (1990)
Fire And Rain – SD #546 (1990)
Outlaw – SD #624 (1991)
Granite Man – SD #625 (1991)
Warrior – SD #631 (1991)
What makes these books keepers is that they are very atmospheric. Lowell really excels at westerns. Her writing shows an understanding of just how grueling day to day living is on a ranch. I especially love the tracking scenes which feature prominently in RL and W. The banter between ranch hands — Nora Roberts, Danielle Steele, Judith Krantz could never do that. Lowell is totally committed to her characters.
There are sometimes bits that strike the ear as a bit off-key, like when Lowell tries to write witty banter. It just doesn’t come off well. There were a few moments in GM where Mariah is speaking and the character is supposed to be witty, but her dialogue ends up sounding like an approximation of wit, instead of genuine wit. Well, I think I’ve said this before — one writer can’t be good at everything. The heroes — I just want to knock their heads together through most of the book. So self-absorbed. Stubborness without reason or moderation. Cruel, even. Cash McQueen (GM), especially. What an asshole! There’s absolutely no reason on earth for Mariah to fall in love with him. This particularly abusive relationship is a throwback to the 1970s/Mr. Rochester mold of male. It’s hard to relax and enjoy the story when you’re so pissed off at the hero. Luke (F&R) is another asshole — not as bad as Cash, but cut from the same cloth. And Cash plays yenta for his sister Carla and Luke. Crazy!
Here’s the immediate family tree:
- Luke and Mariah MacKenzie, brother and sister, are descendants of the MacKenzies of RL.
- Luke’s distant cousins are brothers Tennesee (Outlaw) and Nevada (Warrior). There’s a third brother, Utah, whom they mention, but there’s no book for him. (Fans of this series, I’m positive, are still crying about that. I know I am!)
- Luke’s wife, Carla McQueen MacKenzie has a brother — Alexander "Cash" McQueen.
- Luke’s sister, Mariah, is married to Carla’s brother Cash.
- Tennessee and Nevada marry girls from out of town.
**Several sequel clues appear in the M-B stories. They are scattered like a trail of rather tall, muscular breadcrumbs.
***Thanks to Shelfari I was able to find some of the older covers.
According to Lowell’s forum, by her own admission, she has put westerns behind her. And she seems a bit cheesed-
off that people keep writing to ask about a book for Utah Blackthorne. So to save you some embarassment, here’s the final word: THERE WILL BE NO BOOK FOR UTAH. EL has moved on to other interests.