Review by: Maddy D.
About the Book:
Yearning to become a concert musician, a young woman from New York travels to Colorado to purchase a violin, but when she meets a wild, untamable cowboy, her dream is threatened and her heart torn ...
In New York in 1877, Angela Bellini longs to become a concert violinist and get away from her abusive father. When her dream takes her to Greeley, Colorado, to purchase a violin from a master instrument maker, she learns she must wait three weeks until her violin is ready before she can head home.
Angela is determined not to let anything or anyone waylay her dream, but when she meets rough-and-tumble cowboy Brett Hendricks, her heart is torn. He is her opposite in every way—uncouth, cocky, and reckless. But she is hopelessly drawn to him, like a moth to flame.
Brett Hendricks is on the run—not just from an angry rancher who is tracking him down for shooting his son but from a dark and troubled past plaguing him with guilt and shame. A wild, untamable cowboy, Brett can break any horse with a soft touch and soothing word, but nothing in the world can bring him peace. He fears he will never stop running, never see his dreams of ranching realized.
But then, one evening, he hears sweet violin music that seeps deep into his soul--music that floods him with peace. He falls hard for Angela but knows she plans to leave Colorado. All his attempts to win her heart fail disastrously, and though he buries himself in the cattle roundup, when he helps thwart a rustling outfit, his enemies multiply.
Somehow he must find a way to gain Angela's heart and trust. And somehow Angela must break past her distrust of men to discover the love awaiting her with open arms.
Colorado Dream is the fourth installment in The Front Range Series of sweet historical Western romance novels by Charlene Whitman.
Before I dive too deeply into this review, let me say that I generally do not pick up romance novels in any form, unless they just so happen to apart of some larger plot. So, if you’re into the Hallmark style of romantic stories, with all the classic various clichés, PG-13 graphic content and everything turns out happily ever after at the end, this story will probably be one you will enjoy. It is also one of those books in a series that stand nicely on their own. I have not read any of the previous books in the series, and it didn’t reference to anything outside of the book. So if you like this style of story, don’t fret about it being in a series. That doesn't hold much weight here.
I gave this book a chance because I enjoy historical fiction- especially the time period this story takes place in. The beginning continued that by being fairly interesting- still pretty cliché but interesting- enough to where I wanted to keep reading. I couldn’t tell you now where that exactly took a dive. The author has a way of describing things, music especially, that is really well written. You can see the effort in the way the characters and world is built that some research went into learning about the time period and place.
Unfortunately that is overshadowed by the author’s other decisions. One of the oddest ones, was the decision to write in a “cowboy twang” when describing thoughts, places or events from the perspective of any of the cowboys. If it had been curbed down to just the dialogue and thoughts of the character, that might have made the regional dialect easier to deal with. Since it wasn’t, all the “cowboy” character types became cookie cutter and obnoxious to read through. If it wasn’t for their names, you wouldn’t be able to tell one from the other.
The author also chose to repeat various plot points and character fears every time a chapter was written in their perspective. I lost count of how many chapters ended with the main male trying to “run from his life” or the main female still lost in the aftermath of her decisions. She was constantly afraid of the man she was falling for was like her father- mean, controlling and abusive. She lamented on the outcome of getting a violin when she apparently didn’t have the ability to think through the probabilities beforehand. Simple things, like how angry that controlling, abusive man would be. Where she would stay. How she would support herself. Which made her come off to me, as the reader, as a whiny, selfish child that wasn’t in any way self-sufficient. That might have been just how her character was, but since she didn’t grow from it and everything just so happened to work out wonderfully for her right in the nick of time, it turned into something that wasn’t easy to put aside. I grew to be annoyed at her very quickly.
He, likewise, was constantly afraid of not being good enough for her, and also of having an uncontrollable aggressive side that we are reminded of literally from the first page starting his perspective. Like her, his intro into the story was actually nice. I enjoyed it, he hadn’t become annoying just yet. It wears off rather quickly once he met Angela- the main girl. Aside from nearly every chapter where he’s trying to run from his feelings, he’s also completely entranced in the idea of her. The reader gets to live this circle for nearly every page of the story, if not every chapter, except for the reprieve where some new minor character perspectives, who do not really add much to the story, are randomly tossed in. As well in the end, where everything is a happily ever after situation. Granted, that was the whole real point of the story, not the girl getting her violin and making a life for herself, so that much I forgive. However, the constant reminder of their feelings, the way the author expressed the “cowboy twang” and the constant very cliché metaphors and similes, dulled down the writer’s style into one that felt like a newer writer’s attempt, not someone who is five books into a series.
The plot is fast paced and has a lot of action that just so conveniently plays out. Unfortunately all the previous mentioned problems make it boring and difficult to connect to the characters; it doesn’t help that most of those situations are clichés in themselves as well (though some of it’s forgiven because it is a historical romantic western) like one instance where rattlesnakes apparently roam in massive groups, just waiting to attack you. That at least lightened the annoyance by making me laugh through the entire scene.
All in all, if you’re into this type of book, you’ll probably love it. It has everything going for it to be one of those afternoon or evening pick-me-up on a whim little romance stories. I just am not the target audience.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for writing a review. I was not obligated to give a positive review, and all thoughts are my own.
About the Author:
The author of "heart-thumping" Western romance, Charlene Whitman spent many years living on Colorado's Front Range. She grew up riding and raising horses, and loves to read, write, and hike the mountains. She attended Colorado State University in Fort Collins as an English major. She has two daughters and is married to George "Dix" Whitman, her love of thirty years.
The Front Range series of sweet historical Western romance novels (set in the 1870s) includes Colorado Promise, set in Greeley, Colorado; Colorado Hope, set in Fort Collins; Wild Secret, Wild Longing, which takes readers up into the Rockies, Colorado Dream (Greeley), and Wild Horses, Wild Hearts, set in Laporte and Greeley.