I simply can’t review this book without a preconceived bias. Ever since I read Outlaw Hearts when it was first published, it won a place in my heart as well as in my top five books of all time, and in all these years since then it’s stayed in the top five. Although there are many that come close, this is my favourite western. I read it at least every few years and, in fact, I just read it again prior to the release of Love’s Sweet Revenge, as well as Do Not Forsake Me, you know, just in case I’d forgotten one tiny little detail in the saga of Jake and Miranda. Over the years they have become so alive and almost real to me. So when I review this book, there is so much history behind it.
Having said all that, I did love this book. I’ve loved all of them. Outlaw Hearts remains my favourite, and while I really did enjoy Do Not Forsake Me for Jake and Miranda, I had issues with their son Lloyd, so it didn’t get as high of ratings as the first one.
And finally this one is my second fave. The issues I had with Lloyd are mostly gone with this story. In the previous book his wife had died and he remarried more for a mother for his son and not so much for love. But now he has fallen deeply in love with his wife, so all is good. While Lloyd and his family and Evie, Jake and Miranda’s daughter, along with her family play large roles in this book, the main focus is still Jake and Miranda.
This book picks up not long after the previous one ends. After being released from his duties as a US Marshall, Jake, Miranda, and their extended family head to Colorado to take up ranching. This makes Miranda extremely happy, because now her husband and son are around much more and not engaged in a dangerous profession. But unfortunately they aren’t allowed peace quite yet. Jake still often acts like the outlaw he once was when his family is in danger. Ghosts from the last book come back to haunt him when someone he left alive returns for revenge. He is joined by a few ex-employees that were forced out. This time it’s Miranda they target.
What stands out so much in these books and has right from the beginning is the absolute adoration and devotion Jake and Miranda have for each other, no matter what tragic thing comes their way, and over the course of the three books some really rough situations have tested their love. And each and every time their love for each other and now for the rest of their growing family triumphs. There is never, for even a moment, a time when the love they have is in question.
I was excited beyond belief when I saw at the end of the book that Ms. Bittner has a least one more tale to tell. This series is really a saga. It’s spanned over thirty years in time. Jake is now in his 60s and just as strong and handsome and virile as he was in his 30s. Boy, is he still virile. I read in another review that Jake and Miranda are not unlike Jamie and Claire from Outlander and I think this is a good comparison. And while I kind of gave up on the Outlander series after the first three books, for me, the Outlaw Hearts series is just as thrilling and loving and passionate and readable now as when I first read Outlaw Hearts way, way back in 1993. Wow, that’s been – wait a minute, my brain is that much older now, I need a calculator, TWENTY-THREE years ago now. I think one needs to read the first two books to fully appreciate how deep the bonds are between these two. Jake and Miranda ARE my Jamie and Claire.
Their Passion Shaped a Nation
Over the years, Jake and Miranda Harkner have endured all the dangers a wild and brutal West could throw at them. Now, settled on their ranch in the beautiful Colorado hill country, they’ve finally found peace. But for a man like Jake Harkner, danger is always lurking, and the world may not be ready for an infamous outlaw-turned-lawman-turned-legend to hang up his guns.
Threatened by cruel men in search of revenge, the Harkner clan must be stronger than ever before. Yet nothing can stop the coming storm. With the Old West dying around them and the rules of this new world ever-changing, Jake vows to end the threat to his family no matter what it takes…
Even if it means sacrificing himself so his beloved Miranda may live.
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Other books in this series: