Some more action and romance in the Wild West:
After protesting abuses at the Montana Indian Boarding School, Essie is dismissed from her teaching job there. But before she can depart, she's kidnapped by Cade Newcastle—the half-breed uncle of her missing student.
Shot during the escape and now dogged by a hanging posse, Cade's desperate search becomes a race against time, and Essie—instead of abandoning him—saves his life.
Trading favor for favor, Cade and Essie continue searching for Cade's nephew. The lines between captor and captive blur into mutual respect, then flare into passion. But the hanging posse will never allow the half-breed to be the ruination of Essie Sparks.
Alright, I admit to still loving the Wild West even though the days, when I knew the (slightly less romantic) Leatherstocking Tales and the (even more romantic) Little house on the prairie by heart, are long since gone. Okay, The ruination of Essie Sparks is still very romantic but one of the things that I like about the Barbara Ankrum and her books, is the fact that despite the fast that there is a lot of romance in them and I always fear for the protagonists and hope for their HEA and so on – depsite all that, she never cuts out the harsh realities of that time. Be it something like indenture, the lack of female rights or as in this book the way the native americans and their children were treated by the whites, she always makes abundantly clear how hard and most often rather hopeless people's lives were without making the book too depressing.
Her protagonists get nothing for free, their happiness wasn't handed to them on a plate, they must really work for it. More often than not they must change their spots, trust in others and above all they must dare to trust their potential partner.
I love Essie Sparks, she is an amazing character. Despite everything she has gone through herself, even though her own situation looks rather hopeless as well, she does everything she can to help others in need – even at the risk that it turns against her. When Cade, a halfblood and also the uncle of one of her indian students, kidnaps her, she must learn to work with him in order to find her missing student.
As is right and proper for such a book there're the fireworks first and then some completely different sparks fly.... Slowly but steadily Essie and Cade realise that they have more in common than just the search for Daniel or „LittleWolf“.
When Cade gets arrested for abduction and murder, it's all Essie can do to try to prevent the lynch mob from killing him....
The ruination of Essie Sparks is a book I really enjoyed and that captured me with its pleasing but intense writing style. There is not just black and white but complex characters, complex problems and there're people and characters that as a reader you take into your heart and woth whom you feel.
This wasn't the first and definitely not the last book by Barbara Ankrum that I've read and I'm also sure that this wasn't the last time that I've gone to search for Little Wolf with Cade and Essie.
*I received this book from ebook Discovery in exchange for an honest review*