by Tracey Bateman

May 2007
ISBN: 978-0-06-1246333
Reviewer Graphic Button Avon Inspire
Trade Paperback

Fannie Caldwell and her two younger siblings have been sold to a cruel storekeeper in a remote Kansas town. When a large wagon train comes through town, Fannie sees a chance to escape. Only problem is, the wagon train leader refuses to allow a single woman to come. Fannie decides to trail along behind them and just do it on her own—but a town prostitute finds out Fannie’s plans and wants to go with Fannie and her siblings.

Blake Tanner wishes he could make exceptions to include the lovely and determined Fannie, but he knows how difficult life on the trail is—and without a man to help, Fannie wouldn’t be able to handle it. He definitely doesn’t want a prostitute along that would cause all kinds of trouble for the families on the train. But he discovers in advance that Fannie is planning on sneaking in at the tail of his train when his scout follows Fannie back to town.

But unpleasant surprises meet Fannie when she returns. Her master has discovered Fannie’s plans to escape and has taken the money Fannie has for the trip. Fannie escapes, but will Blake be willing to help her? Or will her independence keep her from finding love?

Defiant Heart is the first in the Avon Inspire line – and if Defiant Heart is any indication, it will be a great line up! Ms. Bateman is a talented author, and in this first book in the Westward Hearts series, she grabbed my interest on page one and held it through out.

Fannie is a realistic heroine, kind and caring, in spite of her circumstances. She’s also quick to defend those less fortunate than herself, and willing to go to any length to care for those she loves. Blake is a true heroine, strong, wise, and caring, even if he is a stickler for the rules. I found myself cheering for Fannie and hoped she’d keep her siblings alive on the difficult and dangerous trip.

Reviewed in August 2007 by Laura.

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