book review

Here to Stay

Smell that? It’s the scent of hay, horses, leather, the mark of a well-done western historical. For the first time in a while, we’re actually getting a historical to review! Breaking the contemporary streak is Kristine Raymond with Here to Stay, Hidden Springs Book 1.

Genre: Western Historical Romance

Heat Level: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Overall Rating: 5/6 Glass Slippers

When Sam Mackenzie takes a job putting up fences at Kate Ryan’s farm, it’s not just the pay and promise of a hot meal that makes him want to work her land, it’s her. Strong willed, determined, and not too hard on the eyes, she’s not afraid to work alongside the men and show them she’s not just some little lady. She’s unlike anyone he’s ever met and before long, he finds himself wanting to blur the line between business and pleasure.

Kate is a woman in a man’s world and she can certainly hold her own. But not everyone in town is convinced she’s as nice as she comes off. She has money, but not a husband, and everyone thinks she has more than a few secrets hidden up at her ranch. Little do they know, they’re right, and Sam’s about to find out if her hidden past is too much for him to carry…especially when it resurfaces in the worst way possible.

As you know, I’m a historian with a degree and everything. I struggle to enjoy a historical book when timelines don’t add up and there are things like lightbulbs decades before their invention. But I didn’t have that big of a problem with Raymond’s novel. Some parts were “modern” in the sense that their conversations contained phrases that weren’t part of the American dialogue before the 1950’s, and Kate’s complete independence was sometimes a little too much for that time period, but things like that are easy to overlook when you’re enjoying the book. It had the feel of the late 1800s, and to me, that’s more than enough.

I liked Kate and Sam together. Their romance was strained at times, but is there such a thing as a bump-free road to love? Some might say there is, but a drama free read is hardly interesting. You want them to talk things out, to come clean, to share the parts of themselves that no one else can touch. They’re flawed, but it makes them human, and the same can be said of the side characters that added levity at some points and drama in the next. Overall, I really enjoyed reading this and recommend it to fans who like a little history and a lot of sex with their cowboys.

As a rule, I always warn when there is rape in a book, and this one does have a nonconsensual scene and is a plot point that is discussed multiple times. Still, justice is eventually served and the assailant does get what he deserves.

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