Publish Date: Out now
How I got this book: ARC from the publisher via Netgalley
Get ready for the newest novel in the Deep in the Heart of Texas series.
Inheriting the most notorious house of ill repute in Texas can spell trouble for a girl’s reputation . . . especially when she’s Elizabeth Murphy, Bramble’s prim and proper librarian. Yet when she discovers a buck-naked cowboy handcuffed to a four-poster bed, she forgets all about the town gossips. Elizabeth has sworn off men, but the stranger’s kisses melt her resolve faster than ice cream on a hot summer day.
Waking up in Miss Hattie’s Henhouse isn’t how Brant Cates reckoned on getting to the bottom of his great-granddaddy’s murder. The plan was to solve the centuries-old crime, then get the heck out of Dodge. But after meeting Elizabeth and discovering that the buttoned-up beauty is a sexy siren in disguise, he just can’t pull himself away. Now Brant needs Elizabeth to finally put his past to rest, but is she willing to risk her future on Bramble’s newest bad boy?
This blurb came from the author’s website.
I have a not so secret addiction to western romances regardless of their time period. I have also discovered that apparently I have a weakness for proper ladies inheriting houses of ill repute. I was so interested when I read the blurb for Trouble in Texas that I wasn’t too concerned about the fact that this was the 4th book in the series. As I was reading I could tell that I had missed some of the backstory but it didn’t impede my enjoyment of the book. In fact I think I need to go find the first three books and give them a try.
Lane had a very interesting set-up to this book. I did not realize that the first chapter was a prologue initially so when it ended I had some ideas as to how I thought the first chapter would tie into the blurb but I was pleasantly mistaken. My first introduction to the current residents of Miss Hattie’s Henhouse was full of o_O and rapid page turning so I could find out what was going to happen next. Between giggles I really felt for Brant and Elizabeth as they tried to work through their situation and deal with their various family members at the same time.
I probably would have understood more of what drove Brant’s fixation on finding the truth behind the death of his relative if I had read the previous novels but his interactions with Elizabeth and the inhabitants of Miss Hattie’s more than made up for my lack of knowledge. Brant had some significant depth as a character. He was willing to set aside his feelings of revenge towards the henhouse to support his brother’s dreams. The fact that he was able to annoy Elizabeth was an added bonus. Brant also admitted that he had made some errors in judgment previously and was man enough to admit them. I really enjoy it when heroes are confident enough to not just admit they were wrong but to make amends. Granted he did annoy me a few times while I was reading but I could understand why he did what he did.
Elizabeth underwent some significant growth during this book. It was refreshing to see the straight-laced heroine who was that way not because of society’s dictates but because she had been brought up a certain way. It was even more refreshing to see her decide to start thinking for herself, learn the history of the henhouse, and then decide who and what she was going to be. I absolutely loved how Elizabeth’s sense of honor and duty kept her entangled with both Brant and the ladies of the henhouse. She could have stuck to her upbringing but instead despite her frustration she continued working with the ladies and with Brant trying to find a solution that would satisfy everyone.
While I enjoyed watching Brant and Elizabeth, I really loved the supporting cast. They literally were a bunch of eccentric characters regardless of their age. Some of their actions highlighted the ridiculousness of what is considered important at a younger age while others brought home the importance of enjoying life regardless of your age. Lane demolished a lot of the preconceived notions I had about the ladies of Miss Hattie’s and really made me think about how little we really know based on someone’s public self. Along with acting as foils for the h/h, the supporting cast was also essential to moving the plot forward. In fact without the actions of a certain group of ladies this story would have lost a lot of its entertainment.
As I said at the beginning of this review I really enjoyed reading Trouble in Texas. Lane was able to bring together several of the elements I enjoy in one book. The small town feeling with its grudges, history, and eccentric residents was a blast. I spent a lot of my time giggling and wondering what the henhouse ladies were going to do next. I also got a kick out of Brant verbally tying Elizabeth up in knots by using her innate honesty, yet Elizabeth never took the easy way out. Watching the two of them learn to be happy and to deal with their past was also rewarding. Lane has made me very curious about the previous three books and I want to know what happens next in this series.
I give Trouble in Texas a B+