Texas Splendor (1999) is the last book in a trilogy featuring the Leigh brothers who were all named after Texas towns: Houston, Dallas and Austin. I read and enjoyed the first two books in the series but for some reason, I never read the third one. The whole trilogy is available digitally so I bought Texas Splendor and began to read Austin’s story.
Before I begin, I’ve read and enjoyed plenty of other Lorraine Heath stories. She writes with such depth of emotion. Her earlier titles, like Always To Remember and Parting Gifts remain memorable to me after all these years, especially Always To Remember. The opening scene in that book had my heart in my throat. The hero, imprisoned for refusing to serve his country is about to be executed before a firing squad.
In “Texas Splendor,” Austin’s just been release from prison. He’s served five years in the penitentiary for a crime he said he didn’t commit. According to Austin, those last five years were stolen from him because he was set up and wrongfully accused of murder.
Upon his release, he learns that the woman he’s loved all his life, the woman he thought of every single day, who he thought about that got him through five years of hell, is now married to his best friend. What a kick in the face. Since his release, his homecoming hasn’t been a welcome one to the community. The whole town thinks he’s a murderer. Austin wants his good name back and also his girl. No can do on the latter, so he starts to work on the former.
It was found that the victim’s last words were “Austin,” written in the dirt, next to the body. Not “Austin did it” or anything creative like that, no, just “Austin.” Anyway, Austin thinks that the he meant the “town” and not him personally. With the way the townspeople are treating him since his release, he has no choice but to find the real killer. Some believe (though not me), five years was a light sentence for a convicted killer. Even the victim’s family are after Austin so they can finish the job that the state didn’t do: hang him. To avoid all this, he heads off to Austin to find the real killer.
How well did I enjoy this story? I didn’t. I hadn’t read romance in several months and thought I could re-start with this title. Mistake. Historical romances are my first love and this is Lorraine Heath after all, but, no dice. I was bored. It’s not the author’s fault but my mood. My eyes were pretty much glazed over from the opening chapters. I’ll have to give this book another look at another time. Maybe.
To all those readers who are disgusted and tired of these types of posts where readers don’t finish the book but continue to remark upon it anyway, sorry. If it makes you happy, I did buy a digital copy of the book where my rights to sell it or trade are non-existent.
This wraps up the TBR Challenge 2010 and my hosting it. Wendy, the Super Librarian and blogger extraordinaire will be taking over the hosting duties for 2011, so go sign up if you haven’t yet. I enjoyed hosting even while I was absent for most of it. Thanks to all who have participated. It was a pleasure.