In 1868, Maddie Wallace is trapped in a loveless marriage with a Scotsman who has abandoned her for the military. She married him for love, but he had different plans, so she flees her lonely life for the United States, where she will work as a photographer documenting the growth and expansion of the West. Maddie carves out a life for herself in the small town of Heartbreak Creek, Colorado, and she finds success in her chosen profession. It’s her success, and the publication of her photos at home, that lead her estranged husband to her — and Angus plans to woo her and win her once more.
Warner’s novel, second in a series about the women of Heartbreak Creek, is a fine Western romance featuring an engaging love story, cruel villains, and intelligent dialogue. Maddie’s desire to maintain her independence puts her at odds with Angus, who must learn to appreciate what his wife’s career and talents mean to her. Warner has an obvious love for the setting, as the vistas and views of the West are beautifully described. The romance is nicely layered, and as Maddie and Angus reveal their inner lives and dreams to one another, it’s hard not to cheer for them. I’ll definitely be exploring Warner’s backlist, and I look forward to the next Heartbreak Creek novel.