Jenkins, Beverly. Tempest. New York: Avon Books, 2018.
Mass Market Paperback | $7.99 USD | ISBN-13: 978-0062389046 | 373 pages | Historical Romance
Tempest is a great conclusion to Beverly Jenkins’ Old West trilogy. Striking middle ground of being better paced and fleshed out than book two, but still not quite leaving as much of an emotional impact as book one, I still more or less found myself satisfied to see Regan get a hard-won happy ending.
One thing I love is Regan’s independence, and she makes a strong first impression on the page with the initially meeting with her intended at gunpoint. Even as there are multiple people who try to undermine her as she embarks on her new life as Colt’s wife, including some of the disputes with her husband, I love that she shows strength through it at all.
While the distraught widower is a figure that has been seen before in romance, I really enjoyed Colt as a hero, and how he grows through his marriage to Regan. And I adore the sort of man who wants to put his daughter first.
The drama and suspense was well-developed for the most part, especially with Regan trying to deal with the rejection of people like Colt’s crusty aunt and the “other woman.” I did feel like the final confrontation felt like a slightly weaker version of the one in the first book, with both involving the same type of character, this time with much weaker stakes.
But I did more or less enjoy this one, and look forward to anything Beverly Jenkins writes next. I would recommend this to fans of historicals that have low angst, but still have depth in terms of characterization.
Jenkins, Beverly. Breathless. New York: Avon Books, 2017.
Mass Market Paperback | $7.99 USD | ISBN-13: 978-0062389022 |376 pages | Historical Romance
Breathless was something of a disappointment in comparison to its predecessor. However, it does still have a few high points. The main one is the characters. Kent and Portia are both well-written, likable characters. I like the way Portia’s backstory was developed, with her reluctance to trust men due to her upbringing with her mother. And Kent was a great hero who has made a few mistakes in life, but has grown as a person and I loved how he worked to prove himself a worthy partner for Portia.
And while the historical issues were a bit less pronounced, I did like the allusions to historical figures and events which helped to build the rich atmosphere of the period in my mind.
However, the story lacked any real conflict. While there is nothing wrong with a fluffier story, there was nothing standing in the way of Portia and Kent being together other than her own reticence, and that did not provide a strong enough plot to keep me engaged.
Despite this one being a bit of a disappointment, it does set up what I hope will be a promising third installment for Regan. And I would still recommend this to fans of diverse historicals.
Jenkins, Beverly. Forbidden. New York: Avon Books, 2016.
Mass Market Paperback | $7.99 USD | ISBN-13: 978-0062389008 | 370 pages | Western Romance
Forbidden was an unexpected surprise for me, given the fact I actually DNFed it ages ago. However, it should not have surprised me, given how much more open-minded of a reader I have become in terms of genres and settings since then. That said, this is one book that is definitely worth the hype, and one I pinch myself for not seeing its worth sooner, considering its a romance I love for its substantiveness in tackling real world issues within the context of the historical period, that also still feel very relevant today.
Rhine’s story arc gripped me, in spite of not having read the book where he initially appears, because I’m so fascinated by the complex and controversial phenomenon of passing. Jenkins managed to portray his reasons for doing so in his past, while also showing that he still has compassion for the Black and African American people in his community when many of the White people he associates with still think Blacks beneath them. And through the development of his bond with Eddy, I felt like the stakes were convincing in terms of him being compelled to make a choice that might have negative consequences. And I love the strength of Eddy herself, having gone through her own difficulties in the past, showing courage in various moments of the story, like the decision to go out into the great unknown to pursue her dream to begin with, and her choice to fight off an assailant, which leads to her being stranded in the desert.
I also liked the way the secondary characters were active parts of the story without being too overwhelming. Sylvia and Doc Randolph’s romantic arc was a subtle subplot that allowed me to root for them without them stealing page time from Rhine and Eddy. I am also anxious to continue the series and see how things pan out for Portia and Regan, especially considering Portia’s observations concerning relationships with men gleaned from living with her mother.
I would recommend this to fans who love historical romances, especially those who love stories with depth and just as much history as there is romance.