WILD TEXAS ROSE – Jodi Thomas
A Whispering Mountain Novel
Fort Worth, Texas 1876
Rose McMurray was five years old when her widowed mother moved herself and her daughters from Chicago and traveled to the Whispering Mountain Ranch to ask Teagan McMurray for help. Rose and her two sisters were gladly adopted by him and the extended McMurray family, when her mother and Teague soon married. Rose had a loving heart and took a little boy who was also adopted about the same time under her wing. Duncan was a wild thing who was found tied in an outlaw camp and had no idea of how to behave…or even talk. Twenty years later, Rose and Duncan, now a Texas Ranger, are still the best of friends. He's worried about Rose; he, better than anyone, is aware of her fears of leaving home.
Rose travels to Fort Worth to be bridesmaid to her old finishing school roommate, Victoria Chamberlain. It's that caring heart again, for Rose is the spoiled and selfish Tori's only friend. Rose senses Tori is in trouble when she asks Rose to come early, and she's proven right. Tori's manipulative father and unsavory fiancé are up to something.
WILD TEXAS ROSE sports an ensemble cast. At first, it's as though there are two parallel stories that run side-by-side, then are loosely tied together. As more characters and plot threads are introduced, the scenes and points of view go back and forth among them in short chapters. Eventually, loose ends are neatly tied up, but not before dangers, friendships, betrayals and loyalties emerge…and a few love matches.
Some important cast members are Abe Henderson, the lame and lonesome owner of the mercantile and his friend Killian O'Toole, a circuit judge haunted by his dead brother, all onetime members of the Confederate Army.
Other mostly lonesome characters are Sara, the spinster schoolteacher, and Stitch, with cut scars over all his visible skin and whom Duncan asks to watch over Rose while he's kept busy by a gang of outlaws.
These are just some of the colorful people whose lives become intertwined with Rose. I can say that all of them (excepting, of course, the villains) are made of good stuff, but they all have some sort of vulnerability that will make any reader's heart go out to them. They are heroes in their own ways and help make WILD TEXAS ROSE an extraordinary, complex, and heartwarming novel.
WILD TEXAS ROSE is the sixth book in the Whispering Mountain series. It all began with a set of four novels that told the stories of the three McMurray brothers and their sister: TEXAS RAIN (11/2006), TEXAS PRINCESS (11/2007), TALL, DARK, AND TEXAN, (11/2008) and THE LONE TEXAN (10/2009). Then, happily for us, Ms. Thomas began to write about the next generation. TEXAS BLUE (April 2011) tells the tale of Emily McMurray, Rose's elder sister.
WILD TEXAS ROSE stands well on its own, but if you haven't read the complete series, please do. It's a marvelous series with Ms. Thomas's deft hand at creating characters with depth and plots sure to intrigue.