by Elaine Barbieri

January 2004
ISBN: 0-8439-5179-6
Reviewer Graphic Button Leisure Books
Mass Market Paperback

Lowell, Texas 1869

Caldwell “Cal” Star has been wandering the west aimlessly for nine years ever since his younger sister, Bonnie, entrusted to his care by his father, was killed in a terrible accident. Blaming Cal, Buck Star turned his back on his oldest son. Receiving a mysterious message about his long dead sister, Cal has returned to his home, the Texas Star ranch, to find out what it means and who sent it. Cal discovers that his younger brother Taylor has run off, a result of Buck’s marriage to the much younger, and very beautiful, Celeste, who carries a secret vendetta against Buck Star. The once virile Buck is now a bitter, sick old man, a victim of a “mysterious ailment”. With no where else to go until Cal can get to the bottom of the cryptic message, and find out what really is happening between his father and the manipulative Celeste, Cal accepts a position on a neighboring ranch, the Rocky W owned by proud widow, Prudence Reynolds.

Known to the town folk as “The Widow” Pru Reynolds hides herself in black widow weeds even though her husband has been long dead. Destitute, Pru has made her way to Lowell Texas from her native north for the last chance the inheritance of the rundown Rocky W will give her and her young son, Jeremy. If only Pru can make a go of the ranch, which she doesn’t have a clue how to run. Town doctor and good friend, Doc Maggie suggests Pru take on Cal as her foreman, thus solving her and his problems in one swoop. The widow begins to shed her dark persona thanks to the man she lets into her life and then her heart, and Cal has found the purpose his life has lacked since that long ago day when he was made to feel responsible for his sister’s tragic death. Together Cal and Pru begin to bring the Rocky W back from the brink of extinction that rustlers were taking it to, but the danger is still lurking, waiting to take away their new found happiness and love.

Bestselling author Elaine Barbieri has another western winner in her newest novel, Texas Star is filled with great memorable characters. Elaine Barbieri’s portrayal of Celeste, a supposed villain, will actually make you feel sorry for her, after we are given an understanding for the reasons as to why Celeste is compelled to do what she does. A woman doctor in an era when doctors were usually men; the gruff but tender hearted Doc Maggie is a great addition to this book. The sweet love story of Cal and Pru will play on your heart long after you have finished reading. What more can a western romance junkie ask for? The sequel that we hope will be coming soon!

Reviewed in January 2004 by Bonnie.

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