Saturday, May 17

Review: Saving Grace by Sandy James

I discovered Sandy James last year during a book tour of her Alliance of the Amazon series. Because of the tour, I read all 4 books in the series and fell in love with the characters.  Ms. James was ever so kind enough to ask if I wanted a chance to read another one of her books, and I jumped at the chance.  It has taken me awhile (sorry!) but I finally read Saving Grace, the first book in the Safe Havens Series. While the Alliance of the Amazons was more an Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance, the Safe Havens series is Western Historical Romance set in the wild west just before the turn of the twentieth century.

We are introduced to Grace Riley in San Francisco, as she is getting ready to confront a man who obviously terrifies her, one she has been running from for 20 years.  All to get information he may have on someone named Jake Curtis. When the man, Stephen Shay, threatens to assault her, in what appears to be a repeat of a prior attack, Grace pulls a gun and shoots him in the chest. Shocked and scared, she grabs the papers and takes off, believing the monster dead.

Next we meet Grace, she is in White Pines, Montana, at the ranch of Adam Morgan, widower and ranch owner. Grace shows up in the middle of the night, in a downpour, looking for Jake Curtis.  When she collapses, Adam takes her in and with the assistance of his daughter, Victoria, begins to nurse Grace back to health. While Grace is delirious with fever, she unknowingly spills most of her darkest secrets to Adam. Adam appoints himself her protector and watchdog, much to her chagrin.  When Grace's younger brother shows up looking for Grace, he and Victoria clash at every opportunity and create plenty of sparks. Dark, hidden secrets will finally come to light causing pain for both Grace and Jake Curtis. But acceptance and eventual forgiveness, of self and others, will take a bit longer to achieve.

This book has some really ugly, heavy topics covered in it and runs the gamut of emotions. I especially liked that the author didn't gloss over the hardships of life during that time. So often, historicals, gives us the glamorized version of the time period. It could be a hard, dangerous life, especially for women.  And yet, in many ways, we haven't come so very far that a lot of these same issues don't plague us today, making this a very relevant story. This was a very good book, though a bit draining emotionally. I really enjoyed the characters and the story.  I gave it 4 stars.
Grace Riley is on the run—from her past and from her fears. The victim of a violent rape at the hands of a rich politician’s son, she must “disappear” to escape his constant attempts to recapture her. Moving from cattle drive to cattle drive as a cook, she avoids her tormentor for nearly twenty years. When she discovers that the brother she gave up for adoption after their mother died in childbirth was orphaned at an early age, she is frantic to verify that he’s safe. She tracks him to a cattle ranch in Montana.

Widower Adam Morgan owns the Twin Springs ranch, but finds himself falling into a life of loneliness. Although he enjoys spending time with his grown daughter and the two men he rescued when they were living on the streets, he longs to meet a woman he can love. Living in the Montana territory where men greatly outnumber women makes finding a new wife difficult. Weary of working cattle, he is ready to make some changes in his life.

Grace falls ill on her journey, but she manages to make it to the Twin Springs ranch where her brother is supposed to be living. Adam takes her in, concerned for her health and the reason she’s searching for one of his adopted sons. Their chemistry is immediate and intense, but can Grace heal from her past of pain and fear? When her secrets are finally revealed, can Adam forgive her deceptions and learn to love again?

Available at the following retailers:
Amazon     BN     Kobo     ARe     Smashwords


  1. Ooo a western historical! I've been loving those. Most I've read aren't TOO ugly but they aren't TOO pretty either and really give you some things to think about. Glad to hear she did a good job with it!

    1. I keep remembering all those Harlequin's were the story is about the young woman who seems to lead some charmed life and never have to face any real danger. You know the ones where they start to head off into danger and are immediately rescued by the local alpha gunslinger/cowboy/sheriff/half-breed/yada-yada-yada. This book covers topics like a father selling off their young daughter, rape, and physical abuse. Because during that time, women didn't have many rights, we were still basically property. This book showed some of that ugliness in our history. But done, you know, tastefully. Wait, that doesn't sound quite right, but you know what I mean, right?

  2. This sounds like a great read (I just won one of Sandy's new contemporary romances) and I can't wait to read it but I think I'm even more excited to give this HR a try because I like how you mentioned it isn't fluffy and tackles the grittier side of history. Fab review!
    -Kimberly @ Turning the Pages

  3. Thanks. I can't wait to get a chance to read her new book, but I think I am going to read the rest of this series. Hopefully by then there will be another one in the new series out, lol!


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