has also reviewed:

Always to Remember
Texas Destiny

 
Texas Glory by Lorraine Heath
(Topaz, $5.99, PG-13) ISBN 0-451-40753-9
*****
Dallas Leigh has built himself an empire in West Texas, fulfilling all his dreams except one: having a son to inherit it all. His first attempt at getting a wife who would give him his son failed when his mail-order bride married his middle brother, Houston, as told in the first book of this trilogy, Texas Destiny. Dallas is nothing if not determined; he even founded a town, Leighton, in the hopes it would draw women to Texas. When he learns that Angus McQueen, with whom he has been fighting over water rights, has a daughter, he sees a way to prevent a range war as well as get himself a wife.

Cordelia McQueen has lived a virtual prisoner since her mother's paralyzing accident ten years before. Claiming to love her too much to let her fall victim to the endless dangers of West Texas, her father keeps her housebound even after her mother dies. She accepts this evidence of his love until the day he hands her over to a stranger in exchange for access to the river that separates his land from Dallas Leigh's. Too timid to defy her father, she marries Dallas even though all she has heard about his violence and hardness terrifies her.

I didn't so much read Texas Glory as experience it in one greedy gulp. I wanted to see how abrupt, intimidating Dallas could form a connection with afraid-of-her-own-shadow Cordelia. I wanted to see her learn her own strength and challenge him with it. I wanted to see the first spark of physical awareness blossom into attraction, desire and then love. I wanted a happy ending that brought tears to my eyes and then made me sigh in bliss.

I got everything I wanted and more. The story twists and turns, yet never leaves Cordelia and Dallas. The focus is always on their relationship and if the plot affects anyone else, it affects them first and most deeply. This gave the book a tightness and depth that encourage re-reading.

While I read and loved the previous book in the trilogy, it's been months since I read it, long enough for me to forget its nuances. Given that, I feel comfortable saying that this book will stand on its own though I recommend reading both. Like its predecessor, Texas Glory is a wonderful read, powerful in a quiet way.

The final book in the trilogy, Texas Splendor, is due in February, 1999. I can't wait.

--Katy Cooper


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