Today I welcome one of my favorite authors. Not only are her stories absolutely amazing whether writing her historical series, Whispering Mountain, or her contemporary romance series set in the fictional town of Harmony, Texas, but she wonderful to work with as well! So please give a wonderful welcome to author Jodi Thomas and make sure you check out my review of this great historical romance below as well.
Jodi's Guest Post:
Over the years of writing I’ve included a writer as one of the characters in a book many times. Maybe it’s because I understand them so well. In my new historical romance, PROMISE ME TEXAS, I wrote about Beth McMurray and Andrew McLaughlin.
Beth is the spoiled, loving, very proper, youngest child of Teagan McMurray from Whispering Mountain. Andrew is drifting through life with no direction. Like most writers, he’s interested in people of all kinds. When he comes across a gang of outlaws, he can’t resist tagging along to hear the stories they tell. Once he realizes they are about to rob a train, he can’t step away without putting his friend in danger.
These two very different people find a very unusual love amid all the friends and family who are trying to ‘save them’ from themselves. Their make-believe marriage begins to feel very real as Beth lies to her father, the great Teagan McMurray.
I loved the way the characters came together in PROMISE ME TEXAS. My hero is a watcher of people, afraid to ever get too close. Everyone he’s ever cared about in his life is gone and he’s alone. My Beth leads with her heart and not her head. She’s a woman used to getting what she wants, no matter what stands in her way. When she sees someone who needs her, even having to interrupt a gunfight, doesn’t pose a problem. Her bravery wins over the leader of an outlaw gang who is hunting her make-believe husband.
Since this book is set in 1879, a time of great change in Texas, I included a story of young love that flows along through the plot. Not all great love stories start with passion, some start with friendship. Cody wants to take care of Madie, but he doesn’t know how. Because he is two years older, he begins to give her advice.
Come along with me on the journey with Beth and Andrew. You’ll fall in love and laugh with them and see what a mess they make of their lives with only a few white lies. I’d love to hear how you like PROMISE ME TEXAS and if you’ve even had one simple little white lie turn your world around.
As a huge fan of Jodi Thomas and specifically her Harmony, Texas series, I was excited to read Promise Me Texas. While a historical and part of the Whispering Mountain series instead of contemporary it reads with my favorite elements as the Harmony, Texas series. It has family, friends and a close-knit group who will accept outsiders even if it's gradually. It also has amazing characters that I loved getting to know which I think Ms. Thomas excels at.
Let me start with the characters. There are the main characters Beth McMurray, the youngest daughter of the McMurray clan, and the most spoiled. And there is Andrew McLaughlin, a would-be train robber (or not) that saves Beth's life when the train goes off the rails. At this point Beth and Andrew become tangled up as Beth claims Andrew is her husband to get rid of Senator Lamont LaCroix. Even though they talk a lot in the book about Beth being spoiled, I would call her more determined and set in her ways. She never grated on my nerves, so that's why, while she may have been spoiled she really doesn't come off that way. She is generous and helpful and very loving. She is turned off to love after overhearing Lamont say some less than nice things about her. She also has ideas ahead of her time, where she believes she would be equal in the marriage and that she can speak her mind when she wants to. But I like that about her and Andrew seems to as well. Andrew is a writer who doesn't seem to have a lot of motivation but moves around to get a feel for each new area and loves listening to stories so he can create his. He's one of those I've loved and lost and can't love again men. That is until he meets Beth, but he will try his best to not fall for her. But he gets sucked into her lies and feels the need to protect her. He's a generous soul as well, taking in Beth, Madie, Colby, Levi and Leonard. While all of them lived together I loved watching Andrew come out of his shell. He's a great main character and an inspirational man.
There are many secondary characters that figure in. Madie, the waitress/cook who wants to head to Fort Worth to find her man. Colby who was in the hospital/sick room with Andrew and was recently on a cattle drive and then beat to a pulp and he doesn't even know why. And Levi and Leonard who tag along as well to Fort Worth hoping to find their gambling/actor father. All four of these characters really add to the story and to Andrew and Beth's little family. I loved watching the interactions of the six and the growth in the characters. They way Ms. Thomas weaves together their lives is extraordinary. Just this alone kept me reading the book.
As far as the plot goes, the main plot is the relationships between Andrew and Beth first and foremost and then the relationships with the other four secondary. It's a romance so the focus is on the characters. But Ms. Thomas doesn't stop there. There is always a hint of something in the background that makes a suspense plot. Is Senator Lamont still looking for Beth? What about Levi and Leonard's Dad, where is he and what is he doing? Also why was Colby beat up? There is a lot going on in this novel. Not too much to confuse but just enough to keep you turning the pages. The relationships alone kept me turning the pages, but I loved knowing there was more brewing as well. And there are surprises around every turn as well.
Ms. Thomas has wowed me again. Promise Me Texas lives up to all it promises to be. Full of rich, interesting characters, and an exciting plot line it is a hard book to put down. Ms. Thomas manages to pack quite a punch in a little over 300 pages. And if you are worried that this is part of a series, don't. I have only read one other book in the series and I had no problems with this one. I do plan on going back and reading more books in the series though. It looks like Whispering Mountain is a wonderful series to read if the other books are anything like Promise Me Texas.
My Rating: 5.0/5.0
About Promise Me Texas
Starred Review. Bestseller Thomas strikes gold again with her seventh Whispering Mountain historical (after Wild Texas Rose), set in 1879 Texas. When 24-year-old Beth McMurray sneaks onto a train to surprise her fiancé, former Senator Lamont LaCroix, she's shocked to overhear him bragging about his plans for her and her money. Then robbers board the train and it goes off the rails. Just before the crash, one of the robbers grabs Beth and jumps off the train, taking the fall to protect her. He's hurt, but she stays with him, claiming that he's her husband. The sheriff and the doctor believe that Beth is now Mrs. Andrew McLaughlin, but LaCroix does not. Meanwhile, widower Andrew reveals his hidden depths: when he's not robbing trains, he longs to be an author. By the time Beth drives a wagon out of town, she has collected a pretend husband, two little boys, an ill teen cowboy, and a pregnant young woman, and the adventure has just begun. Complex plotting, superb character development, and touching romantic scenes make this a winner.
Jodi Thomas is the NY Times and USA Today bestselling author of 38 novels and 11 short story collections. A five-tme RITA winner, Jodi currently serves as the Writer in Residence at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas.
***I received this book from the author for an honest review. I was not compensated in any other way except receiving the book for free. ***