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Bride of the High Country: A Runaway Brides Novel    by Kaki Warner order for
Bride of the High Country
by Kaki Warner
Order:  USA  Can
Berkley, 2012 (2012)
Softcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

After she escapes the slums and brothels of 1850's New York, orphaned Irish immigrant Cathleen Donovan's luck turns for the better. A kindly priest advises she change her name to Margaret Hamilton (to make her more adoptable), then hands the girl into the care of wealthy Manhattan widow, Ida Throckmorton, whose brusque, no nonsense manner belies a heart of gold. As Mrs. Throckmorton's ward, Margaret wants for nothing and, eventually her guardian's influence brokers a marriage to railroad mogul, Doyle Kerrigan. But only moments after saying 'I do', Margaret discovers a horrifying revelation about Doyle's shady past.

Margaret takes on a new identity and heads west. She's certain that neither Doyle, nor his loyal partner and trouble-shooter, Tate Rylander, will ever find her, especially after she settles in Heartbreak Creek, a dusty Colorado mining town that's well off the beaten track. Unfortunately, though, Margaret has failed to fully appreciate just how much Doyle Kerrigan wants his pound of flesh: his wife not only humiliated him on his wedding day, but she also she stole a valise full of valuable railroad shares. Nor does Margaret realise how determined Tate Rylander is to track her down before Doyle's goons get their hands on her.

As Margaret makes friends and begins carving out a new life for herself, various Pinkerton agents, an old enemy from her childhood, and Tate remain hot on her trail. Whom will she choose? Heartbreak Creek and the new friends she's come to cherish - or Tate, who's loved her from afar from the moment they met.

By far the most exciting of the Runaway Brides series, Bride of the High Country is brimming with all the necessary ingredients of great western romance: vivid atmosphere and a gritty depiction of the time period, skilful plotting and pacing, and, most importantly, emotionally compelling leads in Margaret and especially in Tate, whose quiet reserve and steadfast honour would capture any woman's heart. The secondaries - many of whom followers of this series have already met in previous Runaway Brides instalments - are equally well presented.

If you're in the mood for old west derring-do and inspired romance, you can't go wrong with Bride of the High Country.

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