Book Review: Bound for Eden by Tess LeSue

Bound for Eden

Author: Tess LeSue
Series: Frontiers of the Heart, book 1
Publisher: Berkley (May 1, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback, 304 pages
Goodreads     |     Amazon

The first novel in a new western historical romance series that will take readers for the ride of their lives on the Oregon Trail.

Alexandra Barratt has found the perfect man—it’s a shame he thinks she’s a boy…

Fleeing from the murderous Grady brothers, Alexandra disguises herself as a boy and joins a frontier party heading West, with her brother and sister in tow. The wagon train is captained by the irresistible Luke Slater, who’s never met a woman he couldn’t charm.

At first, Alex can’t believe the way every woman in town falls at Luke’s feet, including her suddenly flirtatious sister. But when she sees him naked in the bathtub, she finds herself swooning over him too. If only she could wash the muck of her face and show him who she really is. Unfortunately she has more pressing concerns…

The Gradys aren’t about to let Alex, nor the small fortune she stole from them, slip through their fingers. Only by maintaining her ruse does she have a chance of protecting her family. But fate, it seems, is conspiring against her.

Rating: 4 stars

I love a good story about a woman disguised as a man. Usually they have an element of the man getting some strange feelings for the woman who he thinks is a guy and starting to question his sexuality and/or sanity – but not this one. Ohhhh boy, not this one (though maybe Luke does start questioning his sanity at some point, haha). I LOVE the dual relationship Luke has with Alex in both the ways he know her, both as the beautiful Beatrice and as the “runt” Alex – but boy, he sure is thick. 

Alex is put again and again into situations where she proves just how tough she is. And boy, is she country strong. I love that she’s so strong for her found family, and yet she’s still so real and human and has moments where she’s vain about the mud caking her face, or jealous of her sister’s pretty dress and ability to dance with the men. 

And then there’s Luke… Oh, Luke… he really should have figured things out a little sooner, but I guess sometimes we see what we expect to see. And I suppose a man so used to having women hang all over him must assume that someone NOT hanging all over him must either be male or a child, right? Sure, we’ll go with that, haha. Regardless, his continued obtuseness is entertaining and sure gives Alex plenty of time to get spitting mad at him. 

The writing style was a little confusing. This is told in the omniscient past tense, so the reader gets glimpses into the thoughts and motivations of both the main characters as well as several of the side characters, and at times it could get to be a little confusing. That being said, it was also pretty great to see, for example, Ned O’Brien’s growing attraction to Victoria and Victoria’s own thoughts, schemes and motivations, as well as Luke’s brothers reactions to events. In a way it really helped to give a deeper insight into the overall plot as well as into the main characters themselves that their own introspection wouldn’t have necessarily given if the story had been told in a more traditionally seen third person limited POV alternating between the two leads. 

This is the first book in the Frontiers of the Heart series, but can be read as a stand alone. Tune into the rest of the series to read Matt and Tom’s stories (I adored Tom’s book, the third in the series, Bo
und for Temptation
), and I have it on very good authority that the author is working on a book about a certain tall, dark, handsome pale-eyed Indian… I hope he finally meets up with that beautiful Archer author woman. 😉

*A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for review.

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