A STOLEN HEART
Cimarron Creek Trilogy #1
Genre: Historical Romance / Christian
Publisher: Revell / Baker Publishing Group
Date of Publication: March, 2017
Number of Pages: 352
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“Endearing characters, a tender love story, and intriguing mystery all work together to make Amanda Cabot’s A Stolen Heart a compelling and enjoyable read.”—Margaret Brownley, author of Left at the Altar
Bestselling author Amanda Cabot takes readers back in time to the 1880s Texas Hill Country in her new historical romance novel, A Stolen Heart. This is the first book in a brand-new series packed with tension, mystery, and a tender love story that readers won’t soon forget.
Cimarron Creek seemed like an idyllic Texas town. But as soon as former schoolteacher Lydia Crawford stepped onto its dusty streets, she noticed a deep-seated resentment of Northerners—like her.
That won’t get Lydia down, though. She looks forward to the day when she reunites with her fiancé—until she discovers her fiancé has disappeared without a trace and has left behind a pregnant wife. The handsome Cimarron Creek sheriff urges Lydia to trust him, but she is having a hard time trusting anyone in a town where secrets and suspense prevail.
Cabot weaves an elegant tale of pure love amidst heartache. With an absorbing plot and engaging characters, A Stolen Heart is a springtime showstopper fit for every historical romance reader.
A Would-Be Candy Maker
Do you have a sweet tooth? I certainly do. My siblings still laugh at the fact that I once declared that a meal wasn’t a meal unless it included dessert. Fortunately for me, I grew up in a home where dessert ended almost every meal. Breakfast doesn’t count, does it? It was also a family where everything – and I mean everything – was homemade. We had wonderful cakes, pies, cookies, and puddings for dessert. The one thing we didn’t have was candy. Candy came from a store and was for special occasions, namely Christmas and Easter.
As you can imagine, the fact that candy was rare made me long for it all the more. And since my mother had taught me to make cookies, cakes, and pies, I decided that the next culinary challenge would be candy. How difficult could it be? Mother smiled when I announced that I wanted to make fudge. “It’s not as easy as you think,” she told me, undoubtedly hoping to discourage me. She didn’t, and I persisted in begging to make candy. “Later,” she said.
Later came when my Girl Scout troop leader invited us to her home to make fudge. I was ecstatic. At last I’d uncover the mystery of creating delicious confections. Somehow, I was appointed Stirrer-in-Chief. After an hour – or was it a week? – of stirring the chocolate, sugar, and milk until it reached the soft boil stage, I decided that no matter how delicious the final product was, it wasn’t worth the effort. Mother’s smile broadened when I recounted my experience. Although she said nothing, I suspect she was saying, “Just what I expected.”
A year or so later, when I’d forgotten how tedious it was to stir candy until it reached exactly the right temperature, I decided to make penuche. Once again, there was a lot of stirring involved. That was bad enough, but I might have persisted if the results had been exceptional. They were not. This time I’d learned my lesson and was done with candy making.
My youngest sister, however, took up the candy baton er … spoon. One evening she persuaded my boyfriend to help her make what had been advertised as “foolproof two-flavor fudge.” The picture she’d torn out of a magazine showed a piece of chocolate fudge topped with a butterscotch layer. Easy, or so the recipe claimed.
The two of them remained in the kitchen for far longer than it should have taken to make such an easy dish. To this day, neither of them will admit to knowing what happened, but while the chocolate layer was a success, the butterscotch one remained the consistency of soup – not exactly what they had had in mind and definitely not like the picture. As a last resort, they placed it in the freezer. That did accomplish the goal of changing the consistency, and for a few minutes, the candy bore a faint resemblance to the picture. Then, of course, it melted.
“I’ll never again make candy,” my sister wailed. And she hasn’t. I, on the other hand, couldn’t resist the recipe that came with my first microwave oven. It couldn’t have been easier. Simply place a few ingredients in a bowl, microwave for a couple minutes, stir, then refrigerate. And, unlike the two-flavor fudge that had been my sister’s nemesis, this recipe truly was foolproof. It might not be “real” fudge, but it was quick and easy. I could almost convince myself that I was a candy maker. Almost.
The reality is that I’ll never be a candy maker, but I am an author, and that means I can create characters who have powers I do not. That’s why I gave Lydia, the heroine of A Stolen Heart, a candy store. She may not leap tall buildings in a single bound, but she can – and does – create perfect candy. Lucky Lydia!
I thought this was going to just be a clean historical romance, which it was, but there was also a mystery in the little Texas town of Cimarron Creek.
When I read books like this one and the setting is a sleepy little town, I imagine myself living there and enjoying life at a slower pace then what I live in now. No the town isn’t perfect, there are petty crimes and more, but the thought of everyone knowing each other and the sense of community that is often missing in today’s world calls to me.
Lydia is spunky and while she may have come to town for one reason, she does manage to find her place despite being an outsider. I enjoyed watching her find her place by opening a confectionery store, and how everyone in town seemed to gravitate towards the candies. I do wish the author had provided recipes at the end!
Travis has his own issues with his father and his father’s attitude towards Northerners, like Lydia. But luckily he doesn’t let that hold him back from realizing that maybe finding a special woman isn’t such a bad thing.
The story has some humorous moments and some nail biting moments especially near the end as the story reveals who the culprit is behind everything. There is maybe a clue or two left along the way, but I didn’t put it all together and I was almost right in suspecting the right person. Close but no cigar.
I look forward to reading the next book which is Catherine’s story.
We give this 5 paws up!
Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of At Bluebonnet Lake, In Firefly Valley, and On Lone Star Trail, as well as the Texas Dreams series, the Westward Winds series, and Christmas Roses. Her books have been finalists for the ACFW Carol Awards and the Booksellers’ Best. She lives in Wyoming.
GRAND PRIZE WINNER: Book + Puzzle + 2lb Retro Candy Box
1ST RUNNER-UP: Book + $20 Barnes & Noble Gift Card
2ND RUNNER-UP: Book + $10 Starbucks Gift Card
March 21 – April 4, 2017
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