I officially have a book hangover after finishing the Blood Rose trilogy by Kaki Warner. I have NEVER given five stars to each book in a series; that is, until now. The last book and the one I’m reviewing today, Chasing the Sun, wasn’t quite as good as the previous two books, Pieces of Sky and Open Country. However, I still think it deserves a five star rating but I’ll get more into my thoughts below after the synopsis. This review will have spoilers.
Daisy Etheridge always dreamed of singing on a real stage, rather than in a smoky San Francisco saloon. But along the way she fell in love, had her heart broken, and bore a child to a man who loved another. Now she has a second chance to develop her singing talent. With no other way to get the money she needs to support herself and her child during her training, she and her daughter travel to New Mexico Territory to seek help from the wealthy family of the man who abandoned her.
Jack Wilkins, a carefree adventurer, has always wanted to
travel the world, rather than stay home to work the family
ranch with his brothers. He thought he’d escaped three years ago when he followed his childhood love to San Francisco, only to find that his devotion wasn’t enough to keep her. Now he’s back, trying one last time to win her–when out of the blue a woman from his past shows up with a baby who has eyes like his.
Caught between his feelings for his old flame, his attraction to Daisy, and his new role as a father, Jack does the honorable thing and offers marriage. But Daisy refuses. Although she has never stopped loving Jack, she’s unwilling to risk her dream for a man who might still love another, or who would rather chase the sun west than settle down with her.
But Jack won’t give up. As spring drifts into summer, tensions build, and the Wilkins family is strained to the breaking point when old enemies and financial ruin threaten the ranch. Then a violent storm brings everything to a head, forcing Daisy and Jack to make hard choices about which dreams are worth fighting for, and what they want out of their lives–and out of each other.
Chasing the Sun picks up three years after the end of Open Country. The first two books told the stories of Brady and Hank while this one focuses on the youngest brother, Jack. Jack is honestly not that likable. I immediately loved Brady and Hank but I never quite developed that connection with Jack. He’s a well written character but immature and a little bland. However, while I didn’t love his character, I do love that Warner went in a different direction with him. All three of the brothers are very different which makes for a unique reading experience with each book. I definitely didn’t hate Jack, I just didn’t find him to be a super attractive hero. The same goes for his love interest, Daisy.
When the book starts, Jack is pining over his childhood love, Elena. Elena has decided to become a nun which has left Jack with a broken heart. I literally never believed or cared about their “love” story. Elena has the personality of white bread and was easily my least favorite character of the trilogy. The two had nothing in common and it was clear that she was only his love interest to create later drama between Jack and Daisy. As for Daisy, I like her but not quite as much as Jessica and Molly; Brady and Hank’s wives, respectively. Like with Jack, she’s a well written character and unique but she REFUSES to communicate. Literally 75% of the drama in this book could have been avoided if Jack and Daisy would have simply talked to each other. I don’t enjoy drama that is caused by miscommunication, or lack thereof. I know it sounds like I don’t like Jack and Daisy but I really do. I just don’t like them as much as the couples in the first two books.
One of the things that makes Warner a favorite author for me is her ability to write believable, slow burn romances. In the previous books, the romances are slow burns but we do eventually see the characters together. This book is the ultimate slow burn because they don’t fully end up together until the end. I guess I’m a sucker for an ooey gooey romance because I wanted to see them as an actual couple a bit more. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED the build up of their relationship and if there was a fourth book, I wouldn’t have even cared but since this was the end, I wanted a bit more.
So, why am I giving this book five stars when I clearly have issues? Honestly, I can’t bring myself to give it anything less. I adore the Wild West setting, the characters as a whole, the writing, the humor and the romances. I may have petty issues with some of the characters but everything else is perfect. I think this book, and the epilogue at the end, was an excellent finale to a beautiful series.
Historical fiction lover? Read this trilogy. Romance lover? Read this trilogy. Western lover? Read this trilogy. Seriously, just read this trilogy. These three books are some of my favorites of 2020. Do these books sound like ones you’d enjoy? Let me know! Thanks for reading and have a great day!