A Bandit’s Vow by Kate Condie

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Girl Meets Bandit: Watering the Seeds of Love

You know you’re reading a book by a talented writer when they can elicit a wide range of emotions! And in A Bandit’s Vow, Kate Condie will have you stress-nail-biting and angrily “humphing” to yourself as the complicated relationship between Eloise and Aaron plays out.

Eloise Morris is a young, strong, and clever heroine. By the time we reach her love story, Eloise is much more outspoken than when we first met her in Della’s kitchen. She is also incredibly stubborn! The eldest daughter of a hardworking but poor family, Eloise puts love and loyalty to her family above all else. So when her brother, Lachlan, requires expensive medical treatment and the bandit-next-door, Aaron Harder, offers to pay for it if she’ll marry him, Eloise has hardly any real choice in the matter.

Fortunately, Aaron has slowly evolved from a lawless man to a much more honorable one. He also has a tender and gentle side, and is committed to taking things extremely slowly with Eloise. But when another man enters the picture, things become very complicated for the newlyweds. Soon Aaron and Eloise are struggling mightily to build the trust and care so essential for their newfound marriage. At many times, things seem on the verge of crumbling–and that was when I came close to throwing my Kindle! I also wished I could give a certain character a smack more than once. (See what I mean about “strong emotions”? )

Kate Condie is a master of constructing intimacy in the small ways–and this marriage of convenience tale was the perfect opportunity for her to show off this skill. It is not the physical closeness which defines this story but the small moments–like Aaron and Eloise lifting a heavy wooden chest out of a wagon. She drops her end–she needs him to get it into the house. Or a small detail in the kitchen when Eloise serves her new husband biscuits–and proceeds to shock him when she pours tomato juice on her own. These are the moments that this author excels at and which really bring the American West / frontier setting of the stories to life. You never doubt for a second where you are–at a beautiful but isolated ranch on the plains of Montana, where a group of hardworking men and women are building a new life for themselves and a community in the process.

In Kate Condie’s stories, love does not come easily. It takes considerable work. You’ll have to read on for yourself to see whether Aaron and Eloise have what it takes to grow their marriage from a seed to a sprout.

Steam Level: 0/5, Sweet/Wholesome Romance

View all my reviews