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~Beckett's Birthright~

by Bronwyn Williams

      Heroine:  sturdy, statuesque

     Heiress Delilah Jackson lacks the polish of her Southern belle debutante schoolmates, and that's quite all right with her.  She doesn't need fancy manners to run a ranch, which is precisely what she dropped out of finishing school to do.  But 'Lilah didn't count on her sickly, curmudgeon of a father raffling her and her farm off to the highest bidder.  How can she run the place with a husband underfoot?!

    Bull-headed ranch manager Eli Chandler believes there are two kinds of women in the world: the delicate, swooning, marrying kind, and the ladies of the evening.  So where does the shapely 'Lilah Jackson fit in?  With her mannish way of speaking and her oh-so-tight trousers, the girl surely looks and acts like she belongs in category number two.  But as the boss' daughter, just as surely she's meant to be in category number one!

    Not that it makes much difference to Eli.  He's had enough of women to last him a lifetime.  His first love he lost to his best friend and business partner.  Then his fiance-of-circumstances was kidnapped from his own home and disappeared into thin air.  And a guilt-ridden, honor-bound Eli has been roaming the country searching for her ever since.

    So why does he care how shapely 'Lilah looks in her trousers?  Or whether she'll be auctioned off to the highest bidder?  He's not a free man and has no choice but to continue on his way searching for his lost lady, no matter how he feels about the red-headed, britches-wearing Amazon who insists on running her ranch into the ground.

What worked for me:

     Eli's history gave the plot an interesting and unique twist to an oft-used storyline. 

      I liked 'Lilah and Eli very much.  They were a refreshing change of pace from the other romance novel couples I've run across lately, who seem to do nothing but argue with each other.  (That isn't to say that 'Lilah and Eli always saw eye-to-eye, but the initial animosity between the two didn't go on ad infinitum ad nausea either.)

       Size-wise Lilah was sturdy.  A strapping young woman who, despite her beauty, intimidated most of the men in the area.  Though her size sometimes had her feeling like a misfit, she didn't mope over it but went about living her life instead.

       What didn't work for me:

    I wouldn't have minded seeing a bit more of the burgeoning relationship between 'Lilah's friend Isobel and the farmhand named Streak. 


    This well-written story was a very pleasant read and stood well on its own, though I suspect reading the previous title in the Beckett series would prove helpful.

Note:  Despite a setting in North Carolina, the cattle ranch piece to this story gave it a definite Western Historical flavor. 

Warning: there are a few curse words sprinkled throughout the story and one steamy scene at the end.

If you liked "Beckett's Birthright" you might also enjoy "Wishes", "The Bride of Willow Creek", "A Country Christmas", "Land of Dreams", "No Ordinary Princess", "The Bluebird and the Sparrow", or "The Hero's Best Friend".

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