Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Lorraine Berry owns the Pennyroyal Saloon and Hotel, and she’s worried about her little town of Bitter Springs, Wyoming. So worried that she’s sent word to a gunslinger, offering to hire him to come protect the town from a ruthless local rancher.
Kellen Coltrane is having a comfortable train ride when a mysterious encounter sends him on a detour to Bitter Springs to carry out a dying man’s last wish. Once he meets Lorraine, he finds himself swept up in the town’s troubles and pretending to be something he isn’t. And as he learns more about Lorraine, he finds himself wanting to be more than just her protector.
Due to the books I read but didn’t review while I was having medication problems, I find that I don’t remember every detail of the books I now need to review. Hence, the new “short take” format. I’ll do my best to put together a vague and semi-helpful rendering of my take on the book.
Although the Western isn’t a genre I tend to follow, I’ve found through reviewing that sometimes it can be a lot of fun. Jo Goodman’s The Last Renegade is one of the more enjoyable books in this category. Raine and Kellen are fun, multi-dimensional characters with plenty of chemistry. There’s a lot of dark tragedy in Raine’s past, and Kellen seems an unlikely hero at best. It was fun to gradually figure out Kellen’s own secrets, although it seemed as though a few characters probably should have figured them out as well a little earlier than they did.
I particularly enjoyed the side characters in this novel. Many of them defy expectations, and pretty much all of them are interesting and absorbing. I was just as eager to find out what would happen to all of them as I was to find out what would happen to Raine and Kellen. The plot has some nice twists and turns to keep things interesting.
All in all, this is a fun and worthwhile example of the Western/Romance genre, although it should be noted that there is some dark subject material that might not be suitable for all readers.