Linda Lael Miller
This book may be updated in newer versions. It was reprinted in 2012 possibly to make it more palatable for today’s audiences.
The book I read was from 1990. The cover I have was a misrepresentation of the book. I see it, with it’s gold and purple and think two things. Either the book is centered around Louisiana’s traditional Mardi Gras festival or it could possibly be a Medieval story. In actuality the story is centered in Washington/ Oregon.
This, of course makes no real difference in the scheme of things. The 90’s was a confusing decade. Confusing for the ones who had to go through it, and also for anyone studying it. The cover from the original in 1984 is excellent. Also, the cover for the newer version is also pretty sweet, although I think Adam had dark hair.
Blurb from the back of the book:
In 1886, lovely Banner O’Brien overcame every obstacle and won her coveted medical diploma. Still, she longed to escape from Oregon… and the nightmares that left her shaking, screaming one man’s name.
Banner fled to the Washington Territory to accept a position with Dr. Adam Corbin. – Arrogant, handsome and, rumor said, violent. Although Banner respected his skills, she was unnerved by the very nearness of this moody, powerful man. His past was a mystery that would challenge her to the utmost… for Banner was determined to win Adam Corbin’s heart.
This is the first book I’ve read by Linda Lael Miller. Once I picked it up, I found it hard to put down. It began great. Fantastic story about a woman trying to work in a man’s world. A world that had no place for a woman in any profession. Not only the fairer sex, but Chinese immigrants and Native American people were looked down upon in a most unsettling realistic prospective of the way the old west was.
I enjoyed the innocent interest that both the H/H took towards each other. It was cute, and Adam had a very sexy appeal to him. But at an early stage Adam’s character turned. He was no longer the handsome sweet hero. Instead, wonderful characteristics were handed off to Adam’s brother, Jeff.
Adam Corbin became arrogant. Swift with his anger and pride. He was demanding,jealous and rude. He became the worst kind of prick.
I cannot tell you that I put the book down, because I didn’t. LLM is an exceptional writer, and as much as I started to despise Adam’s behavior, I wanted to read on. This story does have triggers, even for me.
Banner started off as a very strong character and then disappointed me by… by what? Acting probably very close to what any woman in this time period would have.
It was the late 1800’s in America. She cried, she whined, she acted like a dumb girl who didn’t know how to get out of a paper bag. So am I angry with her? No. I’m one of those people who snivel that the new romance writers walking all over history, making women too strong. Able to do things and act in ways that were in no way possible. I have held my nose up at the truth being snuffed out by the new “offended” society. So when a possible real situation for the times comes up in the book, what do I do? I get offended. Damn my eyes! There is no alternate universe when he takes Banner over his knee more than once and spanks her.
Yes! I was pissed. I lurched in my chair, uncomfortable with the way she was being treated, and how she handled it. I wanted her to do more than kick his shin, by God, I wanted her to hobble him for life! When he said all those terrible things to her, I wanted her to punch him in the face. And when he would say “I’m sorry”, I wanted Banner to tell him to go fuck himself and walk away.
But, women did nothing of the sort. Women were objects. Things to be owned. Once you married one of these barbarian men, they could treat you any way they wanted to. Woman’s suffrage was real, people. Hiding it behind strong skirts of heroines of today’s romance, is fun, but there were some rough men out there, and women had to be strong in themselves to put up with the crap. If you actually loved your husband and he loved you back, you were a lucky girl. Be happy that all he did was take you over his knee, because apparently a horse whip was okay to use when you feel your wife disobeys.
So with that being said, did I like our hero, Adam? Hell no.
Was it probably a reality based example of the men who lived and worked in America in the 1800’s? I bet that he was a treasure. Did he love Banner? Yes. Was he a good man? For the times, yes. He was very good. Do I condone the violent behavior? Hell no. Granted, he only took her over his knee a few times. But I hated him for that, and the horrible things he said and did to humiliate her. To bring that sort of feelings out of a reader, is excellent.
There were more than a few things that bothered me in this book. The suckling he did to her breasts was odd. I get that he needed to be comforted. But it was (to me) about 5 on the scale of yuck.
Also, every time Banner and Adam fought, he forced himself on her. The domination, overpowering, and force he inflicted on her was degrading. He would grab her and force himself on her whenever he felt like it. It didn’t matter who was around either. He even made her not wear undergarments. It was frustratingly dishonorable. It also painted a picture of a different man than the one who we were first introduced to. It makes me wonder if Jeff Corbin will turn into the same type of monster that Adam did.
Of course by the end of the story, he acts a little more humble and amiable. Banner was never afraid of him. Angry, hurt, humiliated, frustrated, yes. But never was she scared.
Jeff Corbin does get his own story. Since Jeff and Adam never really got to solve the differences between them, and with the big mystery at the end of the book, it may take a lot to bring Jeff back around. I hope to God that Jeff is not the big Dickhead that Adam turned out to be .When I read his book, I will let everyone who cares, know, what kind of a man Jeff becomes.
So to conclude, Linda Lael Miller is an excellent writer, and I think that I owe it to myself to check out some of her other books. If you have major triggers for dominant men, who do not behave as they should with a lady, please pass this one up. Everyone else…. Tell me what you think! It was a major hit back in the day. Would it be in this day and age? I think her characters are a little rough for today’s audience. I would hope that we as readers can flow through it, and still enjoy the classic, if not harsh romance of the past.
Jeff’s book is called Corbin’s Fancy. I do not own it. Dang it. I will be looking for it. I can purchase it from Amazon if I get desperate.
From Wikipedia ~
Linda Lael Miller is a best selling American author of more than 100 contemporary and historical novels. She has also written under the pen name Lael St James.
From her Website: http://www.lindalaelmiller.com/bookshelf/by-date/
oddly, unless my eyes are super bad, I do not see Banner O’Brien on this list. So this may not be a complete list.
Always A Cowboy
Arizona Wild (formerly published as Deadly Gamble)
Once a Rancher
The Cowboy Way
Montana Creeds: Tyler
Montana Creeds: Dylan
Christmas in Mustang Creek
Montana Creeds: Logan
The Marriage Season
Big Sky Country
McKettricks of Texas: Austin
The Marriage Charm
McKettricks of Texas: Garrett
Snowflakes on the Sea
McKettricks of Texas: Tate
The Marriage Pact
Big Sky Secrets
Big Sky Wedding
Big Sky Summer
Big Sky River
An Outlaw’s Christmas
Big Sky Mountain
There and Now
Caroline and the Raider
Don’t Look Now
Holiday in Stone Creek
A Lawman’s Christmas
High Country Bride
The Creed Legacy
My Darling Melissa
The Last Chance Cafe
A Creed in Stone Creek
Fall in Love Like a Romance Writer
The McKettrick Legend
The Christmas Brides
Desire and Destiny
At Home in Stone Creek
A Creed Country Christmas
When I’m With You
A Stone Creek Christmas
A McKettrick Christmas
A Wanted Man
Here and Then
More Than Words Volume 4
The McKettrick Way
Sun, Sand, Sex
The Man from Stone Creek
One Last Look
I’ll Be Home for Christmas
Never Look Back
Wild About Harry
Escape from Cabriz
The Women of Primrose Creek (Omnibus)
Two Brothers: The Lawman/The Gunslinger
Emma and the Outlaw
Lily and the Major
The Leopard’s Woman