Maisey Yates has a new fan. Me. Because I read her Rita-nominated Brokedown Cowboy and could not put it down.
I loved the way she created the ambiance of this story, especially around the hero. His name is Connor Garrett and frankly, he’s a mess. His wife died tragically three years before and he’s just not healing. In fact, he’s in a downward spiral of drinking and shoving away the people who love him the most.
Now those of you who have read my books know that I love me a tortured hero. And Connor is 100% tortured hero. But he has a kindness toward his best friend, Felicity Foster, that redeems him when we first meet him. As the story goes on, that kindness and her love become his redemption.
I loved Felicity, because while she stands by Connor in his darkest hours, and has loved him secretly for years, she isn’t a pushover. She’s strong, she faces down her weakness for him, and she won’t let him treat her like a doormat. Even when he tries. Because tortured hero = highly imperfect and there were times when I really wanted to step into the story and swat some sense into Connor. Because I cared and could see his potential and all the reasons he needed to be with Felicity.
Believe it or not, even bigger than my love of tortured heroes is my love of gorgeous language. And this book has such great language. The opening is beautiful. I read it and wished I’d written it. And felt a little weepy, because that’s what happens to me when I encounter such lovely writing.
Take a read.
“Connor Garret was a grown-ass man. He knew there was nothing to fear in sleep. He knew the darkness of his room didn’t hide anything more sinister than a pair of carelessly discarded cowboy boots, waiting for him to stub his toe on them in the dead of night during a sleepy trip to the bathroom.
He knew these things, just like he knew the sun would rise over the mountains just before six this time of year, whether he wanted it to or not. He knew these things as surely as he knew that an early-morning breeze tinged with salt meant a storm would blow in from the coast later. That unintentional run-ins with barbed-wire fences burned like a son of a bitch. That wooden barns burned and people you loved left.
Yeah, he knew all that.
But it didn’t stop him from waking up most nights in a cold sweat, his heart pounding harder than a spooked horse’s hooves on arena dirt.”
If I was still a writing teacher, I’d tell my students that this was a perfect example of showing and not telling. And then I’d ask my students to tell me everything they learned about this character, Connor, from these paragraphs. And they’d tell me that he was a rancher. That he lived near the coast. That he was messy and scared and possibly suffering from PTSD and definitely from insomnia. That a barn had burned and he’d lost a loved one. That he’d lived on the land a long time to know so much about storms coming in and barbed wire cuts.
So much important information eased into our minds in such a poetic way! As a writer, it’s completely inspiring. And a little awe-inspiring!
Though I loved this book and highly recommend it, please be aware that the love scenes are a bit more explicit than your average Claire McEwen book, so if that’s a problem, maybe skip it. Or skip certain scenes and enjoy the rest of it! Because it really is a gorgeous book. I couldn’t put it down.
Here are some links in case you’re interested! And Happy Reading!