Tag Archives: Inspirational Western Fiction

Jack by Chautona Havig on Tour with Celebrate Lit

About the Book

Book: Jack

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Historical Western Romance

Release Date: January 26, 2016

Women are trouble—lying, cheating, untrustworthy bundles of trouble.

Jack Clausen doesn’t need anyone but his horse and a boss who won’t interfere in his personal life—or lack of one.

Sure, he’s a lonely cowboy, but better lonely than brokenhearted.

If only he hadn’t met a girl who made him hope that honest and true women do exist. Maybe he wouldn’t be riding off into a snowstorm with a fresh determination to avoid women—indefinitely.

When Hazel Meissner sees a cowboy risk life, limb, and horse to save a child, she knows he’s someone special. When he finally gives her his heart, she considers herself the most blessed woman alive.

However, when he rides off without a word, she wonders if her heart will survive the loss.

One broken man. One trusting woman. One orchestrated misunderstanding that tears them apart. What’ll it take to bring Jack home again?

It’s Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing mashed up with the old ballad, “Cowboy Jack.” Don’t miss a cast of characters inspired by the Bard himself—especially Dirk and Deborah (Benedick & Beatrice).

Jack: a lot of hullaballoo on the prairie.

Click here to get your copy!

Chautona Havig has done it again. This time she’s written a book of a different genre-westerns!  She reminisces about the Country and Western songs she grew up listening to on the radio and from her Dad’s guitar playing. What memories that evoked for me, too, as I grew up listening to my Mom sing and my Dad whistle many a Country and Western song! Their favorite-Marty Robbins. But I digress.

Jack Clausen rescues a toddler from a herd of cows being rounded up near the stockyards of Kansas City. In the process, he hurts his head and draws the admiration of Hazel Meissner, a woman way out of his league, which suits him just fine.

I enjoyed reading about the lives of the people in Jack. Each one was distinctive for very different reasons. The banter between two of the characters was especially witty and delightful. Havig has a way of drawing you into the story with her reliable and realistic portrayal of its characters and endears them to you. Her depiction of daily living during the 1800s rings true, also.

All of Havig’s books have a strong faith element and Jack is no exception. From forgiveness to trust, she covers faith well.

I received Jack from Celebrate Lit. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

About the Author

Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at chautona.com and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

More from Chautona

The Inspiration I Hate to Love

The plaintive notes of a ballad filled the living room. People sat on couches and chairs or stood in the doorway, listening. Three steps up the staircase, out of view of most of the room, a little girl sat, chin in her hands, listening.

If you looked close, you’d see freckles dotting her nose and crooked teeth that never were too large for her mouth like most children’s were. Just a bit closer, and you’d see wide, hazel eyes riveted to the man with the guitar seated on the hearth. To his right, a cup of coffee and sometimes a shot of whiskey.

With a voice like Jim Reeves (the non-twangy Reeves, mind you), the songs told stories, like all ballads do—a little blind girl praying for her father’s future happiness, a girl of thirteen who barely escaped a massacre in 19th century Wyoming. “Hazel eyes,” the man called her. California Joe—he was a real man, although not as good of one as the song made out.

Sometimes the man sang happier songs, but most of them were slow, western ballads that could keep Nicolas Sparks writing for decades.

And the little girl loved them all—especially California Joe and one about a cowboy who left his sweetheart alone on the prairie after a quarrel. One called “Cowboy Jack.”

As you’ve probably surmised, I was the little girl, and that man who sang and stirred the hearts of our family at nearly every gathering was my father.

How I miss those days.

For years, I wanted to give Jack a happier ending. See, the song goes like this. A lonely cowboy (with a heart so brave and true) meets and falls in love with a maiden (with eyes of heaven’s own blue). Alas, as with all good romances, the couple quarrel and Jack rides away. He finds a new band of cowboys and would have been just fine, but someone asks him to sing a song to “drive all cares away.” Alas, the song he devises is one about a “lonely maiden who waited for her Jack.”

Of course, he rides off to ask forgiveness. It’s all his fault. He arrives too late. She died of a broken heart on the “lonely prairie where skies are always blue.”

After I began writing, the idea came to me to turn those songs Dad sang—old ones that had been passed on and down through many different versions—into novels. I’d write all the subtext the songs left out.

I’d give them happy endings.

Of course, that’s easier said than done. One by one, I figured out how to do it, but Jack… well, I didn’t want to change the stories. I just wanted to leave on hope instead of despair

Shakespeare to the rescue!

I was watching Kenneth Branagh’s Much Ado About Nothing adaptation, and the answer came to me so clearly. It had the solution I needed. So, I smooshed the song and the play together. Inside, you’ll find the characters Shakespeare created (including Dirk and Deborah and their biting repartee—they steal the show!) in the setting and with the elements of the ballad, too.

Dad’s older now. His hands are gnarled with age, swollen with arthritis. His mind is slipping away. Today, you’ll find his guitar at my house. My son now owns it, but he doesn’t know the songs I heard played on the old Goya. Still, when I take it out of the case, tune it up, and pluck the strings, everything shifts. Suddenly, I’m nine years old again, sitting on my uncle’s stairs, just out of sight, watching. Listening. Heartbreaking.

See, I’ll never hear my father play again, and I can’t play either. So, the songs will have to live on with stories of Mary, Jethro, Maggie… and of course, Jack.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 21

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 21

Connie’s History Classroom, September 22

deb’s Book Review, September 22

For the Love of Literature, September 23

Bigreadersite, September 23

Texas Book-aholic, September 24

lakesidelivingsite, September 24

Inklings and notions, September 25

Sara Jane Jacobs, September 25

For Him and My Family, September 26

Reviewingbooksplusmore, September 26

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 27

Hookmeinabook, September 27

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, September 28

Artistic Nobody, September 29 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

21st Century Keeper at Home, September 29

Ashley’s Bookshelf, September 30

Lots of Helpers, September 30

She Lives To Read, October 1

Mary Hake, October 1

Daysong Reflections, October 2

Godly Book Reviews, October 2

Simple Harvest Reads, October 3 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Captive Dreams Window, October 3

Spoken from the Heart, October 4

Pause for Tales, October 4

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away the grand prize package of a paperback copy of the book and a $25 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10101/jack-celebration-tour-giveaway

To Wager Her Heart by Tamera Alexander

My Review

Tamera Alexander’s To Wager Her Heart’s historical novel is replete with real characters and events. With slight literary license, she brings to life the stories of Belle Meade Plantation, Fisk University, Jubilee Singers, Philip Paul Bliss (composer and author of hymns), the Ashtabula River rail disaster and the Dutchman’s Curve train wreck.

The tapestry of the tale is woven so well, the lines between your real life and fiction become indistinct and blurred, causing you to wonder if you have stepped into the narrative or the characters have stepped out of it.

To Wager Her Heart is the third and final installment of the Belle Meade Plantation Novels. However, you will not miss anything as it can very easily be read as a stand-alone.

I received To Wager Her Heart from Zondervan Publishers and the author, Tamera Alexander. (Update: I also received a copy from The Fiction Guild) However, I was not obligated to write a review.

Publisher’s Summary

Set against the real history of Nashville’s Belle Meade Plantation and the original Fisk University Jubilee Singers ensemble, To Wager Her Heart is a powerful love story about seeking justice and restoring honor at a time in American history when both were tenuous and hard-won.  

Sylas Rutledge, the new owner of the Northeast Line Railroad, invests everything he has into this venture, partly for the sake of the challenge. But mostly to clear his father’s name. One man holds the key to Sy’s success–General William Giles Harding of Nashville’s Belle Meade Plantation. But Harding is champagne and thoroughbreds, and Sy Rutledge is beer and bullocks.

Seeking justice . . .

Sy needs someone to help him maneuver his way through Nashville’s society, and when he meets Alexandra Jamison, he quickly decides he’s found his tutor. Only, he soon discovers that the very train accident his father is blamed for causing is what killed Alexandra Jamison’s fiancé–and has shattered her world.

Struggling to restore honor . . .    

Spurning an arranged marriage by her father, Alexandra instead pursues her passion for teaching at Fisk University, the first freedmen’s university in the United States. But family–and Nashville society–do not approve, and she soon finds herself cast out from both.

Through connections with the Harding family, Alexandra and Sy become unlikely allies. And despite her first impressions, Alexandra gradually finds herself coming to respect, and even care for this man. But how can she, when her heart is still spoken for? And when Sy’s roguish qualities and adventuresome spirit smack more of recklessness than responsibility and honor?

Sylas Rutledge will risk everything to win over the woman he loves. What he doesn’t count on is having to wager her heart to do it.

With fates bound by a shared tragedy, a reformed gambler from the Colorado Territory and a Southern Belle bent on breaking free from society’s expectations must work together to achieve their dreams – provided the truth doesn’t tear them apart first.

 

The Cowboy’s Bride Collection

Cowboy's Bride

About the Book

Ride onto the open range alongside cowboys and cowgirls who embrace the adventures of living in the Old West from Kansas to New Mexico, Colorado to Texas. Whether rounding up cattle or mustangs, training horses, fending off outlaws, weathering storms, competing in rodeos, or surviving drought these cowboys work hard each day. But when hardheaded men have their weaknesses exposed by well-meaning women will they stampede away or will a lasting love develop? Find out in this exciting collection of nine historical romances.

My Review

The Cowboy Poet, by Susan Paige Davis, begins the stories in The Cowboy’s Bride Collection.

Rilla Lane has returned home to the family ranch due to her mother’s illness. She loves the ranch and her Ma and Pa, but the poetry that lives in her heart needs a release.

Bat Wilson, a cowboy, had come to work on the ranch while Rilla was away. They really didn’t know each other, but Bat was hoping to remedy that by writing his own poems.  What he didn’t expect was the ridicule he’d endure from the other ranch hands.

For A Song, by Susan Dietze, is a fun story full of miscommunication, misunderstanding, and lots of faith and humor.

Aunt Martha Phipps believes she has the perfect answer to sisters Lily and Delia Kimball’s dilemma when she receives a letter from her nephew, Jackson Bridge. However, she only opens up a can of worms, and there will be a lot of talking to get out of the mess!

Crazy About Cait, by Nancy J Farrier, introduces us to Cait Sullivan and Jonas Hall.

Cait is one of the best horse trainers in the area. However, her father hired Jonas to train his horses for the cavalry, and Cait feels betrayed. Not only did Jonas get her job, but he had stolen and then broken her sister’s heart, how could she ever forgive him?

 Love’s Sweet Storm, by Miralee Ferrell, puts us on the trail with Addie Patrick during a blizzard.

Addie is stranded when her wagon careens off the path, and the driver is gravely injured. Knowing she’ll never survive without shelter, she sets out to find somewhere warm.

Grant Hollis is caught out in the same blizzard, but he’s injured. When he arrives at the line shack Addie found, he passes out, leaving only Addie to assist him.

Darlene Franklin brings us the amusing story of Millie Cain and Wes Harper in The Reformed Cowboy.

Millie recently relocated to Wichita from Boston in order to meet her pen pal and possible boyfriend, Wes. However, she first decides she would like to teach the Kansas cowboys lessons in etiquette and how to be true gentlemen. Mayhem and confusion ensue, leaving Millie to wonder if cowboys can learn!

Trey Carpenter, a rancher by trade, is supposed to meet his mother at the train station in A Texan’s Surprise, by Vickie McDonough. However, his Mom has a surprise for him-she brought along a widow, Sadie Hunter, and her two daughters, Abby and Martha.

Trey isn’t very happy about his Mother’s unannounced surprise; however, he’s even more unhappy when the local men begin to court Sadie.

The Wrangler’s Woman, by Davalynn Spencer, captures the story of Corra Jameson, widower Josiah Hanacker and his two children, Joe and Jess, and Josiah’s meddling sister in law.

Josiah needs help with turning his daughter Jess from wrangling and tomboy ways to a refined and genteel young woman, and if Corra agrees, she’s the perfect answer to his dilemma. If Corra’s unable to help with his daughter, his sister in law plans to spirit her away and train her properly.

Toby Lane needs to hire on as a foreman at the Double L Ranch in Cowboy Competition, by Becca Whitham, but he fears his family’s “curse” will keep him from doing his job.

Nia (Petunia) Lindley is trying everything she can to convince her Father she can “run” the ranch and still be a lady. However, her Father is doubtful and determined to sell the ranch. Toby may just be the answer to her problems if he can overcome the family “curse.”

The Cowgirl’s Lasso, by Jaime Jo Wright, is about Jonah Sparks and his search for a new foreman on his ranch. He is thrilled when his mentor, Charlie, recommends CJ Matheson. That is until he learns CJ is a woman named Celia Jo.

Jonah doesn’t believe CJ can do the job and constantly challenges and undercuts her authority. CJ knows she can work wonders for the ranch if only Jonah would leave her alone to work.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.