Cowboys and Kisses – Karin Kallmaker

At seventeen, Darlin’ – the only name the people of Long Grass, Wyoming, know to call her – is already one of the oldest women working at Cherry’s bordello. When she arrived in town after her parents shunned her, it was the only work she could get. Three years later, she’s under no illusion that she could ever get out and has accepted that her life will be short. Her only respite is in the stories she writes, until two very different women open doors to unexpected possibilities.

This is a very interesting book, as much for the story as because of who wrote it. There’s not a single second of doubt that this is a Kallmaker book. Her style is everywhere. Yet it’s grittier, harsher. Even though there’s no violence on the page, it’s everywhere. While that’s not something I’ve come to expect from this author, she writes it just as well as she writes romance.

At the end of the book, Karin Kallmaker explains: “When I wrote the novella version in 2007, the reality of how brutal and unforgiving conditions were for females without the protection of man or marriage were foremost in my mind”. In this longer version, she decided to give readers the happy-ever-after we need to heal from all the reality she’s instilled in the story itself, the depiction of the era.

Told in first person, Cowboys and Kisses combines the freshness of the young woman Darlin’ still is and the fortitude mixed with endurance of one who has lived through more than her years. It’s bittersweet and the HEA brings hope for more than the MCs.

4-stars

Cowboys and Kisses @ Smashwords / amazon / kobo

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