To The Edge of the Stars

Joyce Henderson
2007, Frontier/Western Hist Romance (1870s Texas)
Leisure, $6.99, 307 pages, Amazon ASIN 0843959967

Grade: B
Sensuality: Warm

Historical Western romance novels are usually not my cup of tea. I bristle at the simpering women, I'm bewildered by the norms, and the purple prose gives me the vapers. <g> However, Kalen Barrett, heroine of To the Edge of the Stars, is as strong as they come, with the courage and tenacity of most modern women I know. She is the best part of this book.

It is 1870 in Central Texas, and Kalen is down on her luck. Kalenís only family consists of a drunken uncle whom she loves too dearly to abandon. The twosome is homeless, jobless, and wander the Texas countryside in search of work. Kalen knows that whatever work they do find will be temporary because her uncle always gets drunk and is usually fired from every menial job they get.

They come upon the Savage Ranch, run by half Comanche Taylor Savage. When they first meet, Taylor thinks that Kalen is a boy. He hires her and tells her and her uncle to room with the other ranch hands in the barn. Taylor is stunned when his mother, and sister tell him Kalen is in fact a woman, and should not be sleeping in the same quarters as the men. He reluctantly invites her to stay in their house with him and his family. Kalen works incredibly hard to prove herself capable of the job, and to make up for her uncleís shortcomings.

Kalen is immediately attracted to Taylor, although it is clear to her that his heart is with his family, and his land. Taylor shares the attraction, which only intensifies with Kalen in such close proximity, but the close quarters also strengthens his resolve to resist temptation. While Kalen openly bares her soul to him, and her love for him, he continually holds himself back from her. When her beloved uncle dies, she looks to him for more than physical comfort. Taylorís incredible willpower is soon overcome by the love he feels for Kalen.

Kalen was the most compelling aspect of To the Edge of the Stars. While I liked Taylorís character, he was more of a strong silent type - nothing new there, nothing nuanced. It was the strong and wonderful character of Kalen who made this book such a good read.

-- Keisha Hudson

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