Heart of the West by Penelope Williamson | Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Heart of the West

Heart of the West

4.7 17
by Penelope Williamson
     
 

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A classic sweeping tale of intense passion as wide as the open prairie, from the bestselling romance novelist Penelope Williamson.

“There’s a bigness about Montana that tends to frighten a lot of people. But it’s not so big you can’t find what you’re looking for, if you know what that something is.”

A handsome

Overview

A classic sweeping tale of intense passion as wide as the open prairie, from the bestselling romance novelist Penelope Williamson.

“There’s a bigness about Montana that tends to frighten a lot of people. But it’s not so big you can’t find what you’re looking for, if you know what that something is.”

A handsome cowboy with laughing eyes, Gus McQueen sweeps like a Western wind through Boston’s staid streets. His big dreams capture the heart of proper young Clementine Kennicutt, whose zest for life has been stifled by fear of her stern father. When Gus proposes marriage, Clementine impulsively accepts.

Montana is all Clementine has dreamed it could be . . . and far, far more. The harsh realities of frontier life are a shock, but it is Gus’s ne’er-do-well brother Rafferty whose raw masculinity steals her breath away. Gus is the man she married, though, and Clementine is determined that neither the frontier nor her marriage will defeat her. With her adventurous spirit set free at last, she overcomes every challenge . . . until Rafferty forces her to face him—and herself—and make her choice.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Cahners\\Publishers_Weekly
Aiming for a high-toned romantic epic but falling victim to some of the romance genre's excesses, the author of Once In A Blue Moon delivers nicely researched period detail and appealing characters in a story of frontier feminism. Chafing under the harsh constraints of her prominent Boston family, Clementine Kennicutt loves the lure of the wild West. When she meets a real cowboy, Gus McQueen, they elope to his home, called the Rocking R, in the Montana territory. As she steels herself for the rigors of ranch life, Clementine finds the real West a far cry from its depiction in dime novels. She truly loves her proper, honorable husband, even as she is drawn to his raw, uncouth brother, Zach, who resents having a hoity-toity tenderfoot at the Rocking R. The narrative is packed with incidents-most of them dangerous- including run-ins with grizzlies, rattlesnakes and rabid wolves, and foul weather ranging from blizzards to droughts. And Williamson presents a full array of socials, shindigs and shootings, weddings, beddings, birthings and buryings. Clementine encounters some stock western figures when she befriends heart-of-gold saloon owner (and ex-whore) Hannah Yorke and Chinese mail-order bride Erlan. Williamson gives these characters convincing voices, however, and demonstrates how women could bond and find new identities on the frontier. Williamson tells her story with brio, if a little too much florid prose.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Aiming for a high-toned romantic epic but falling victim to some of the romance genre's excesses, the author of Once In A Blue Moon delivers nicely researched period detail and appealing characters in a story of frontier feminism. Chafing under the harsh constraints of her prominent Boston family, Clementine Kennicutt loves the lure of the wild West. When she meets a real cowboy, Gus McQueen, they elope to his home, called the Rocking R, in the Montana territory. As she steels herself for the rigors of ranch life, Clementine finds the real West a far cry from its depiction in dime novels. She truly loves her proper, honorable husband, even as she is drawn to his raw, uncouth brother, Zach, who resents having a hoity-toity tenderfoot at the Rocking R. The narrative is packed with incidents-most of them dangerous- including run-ins with grizzlies, rattlesnakes and rabid wolves, and foul weather ranging from blizzards to droughts. And Williamson presents a full array of socials, shindigs and shootings, weddings, beddings, birthings and buryings. Clementine encounters some stock western figures when she befriends heart-of-gold saloon owner (and ex-whore) Hannah Yorke and Chinese mail-order bride Erlan. Williamson gives these characters convincing voices, however, and demonstrates how women could bond and find new identities on the frontier. Williamson tells her story with brio, if a little too much florid prose. 200,000 first printing; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club super release. (May)
Library Journal
The scene is Montana in the 1880s. Clementine Kennicutt of Boston has run off with Gus McQueen, the "cowboy of her dreams," in order to escape her tyrannical father and helpless mother. After arriving at Gus's ranch, however, Clementine finds herself attracted to Gus's brother, Zach. The reader can predict much of what follows in this very readable novel. Characters include the town madam, who becomes Clementine's best friend; two old prospectors, who provide comic relief; and One-Eyed Jack, sometime parson, sometime gambler, all-time fraud, and Gus's and Zach's father. This first novel offers many likable characters and a story that flows well, though readers should be aware that there is much very explicit sex. Throughout, the harsh and heartless beauty of Montana is the star. For most popular adult collections.-Barbara Maslekoff, Ohioana Lib., Columbus
School Library Journal
YA-A tale of the settling of the West told from a woman's perspective-three women actually. Clementine Kennicutt is a proper Bostonian lady until she literally bumps into Gus McQueen and elopes with him to Montana. Hannah Yorke is the town prostitute who becomes a prosperous landowner, though she is forever marked by her past. And Erlan Woo is a young Chinese picture bride whose heart remains in China. These three seemingly mismatched characters become fast friends. Throughout the story, Williamson shows how they looked beyond the day-to-day existence and sank roots, established schools, and brought civility to the wildness of the wilderness, while still tending animals, working in the fields, cooking, and caring for their children. As the characters tell their stories, readers are transported to Montana and see how the land controls the fate of these three women.-Pam Spencer, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Wes Lukowsky
Clementine Kennicutt had a strict upbringing, even by 1879 Boston standards, making her an unlikely candidate to elope with Gus McQueen, a dashing young Montana rancher who is in Boston to attend his dying mother. After a harrowing journey west, Clementine finds that her new life amounts to sharing a shack in the wilderness with her husband and his stepbrother, Zach Rafferty. Woefully unprepared for marriage, either in the kitchen or the bedroom, she eventually concludes that she doesn't love Gus nearly as much as she thought. Zach, however, is another matter. Despite his early antagonism toward her, Clementine is drawn to his honesty and rough sensuality. Still, she remains loyal to Gus, bearing him three children and, through the years, encountering a collection of familiar western types: the harlot with a heart of gold, a young Chinese mail-order bride, and a young half-breed couple whom Clementime defends against rustling charges. This sprawling saga is a western "and" a romance; as such, it embodies the best--and sometimes the most clich}e}Ed--elements of both. The hardscrabble frontier life is dutifully portrayed; pleasures are few and fleeting, both externally and internally, as Clementine wages a constant battle to convince herself she loves Gus. Despite the clich}e}Es, readers will be drawn to Clementine. She evolves from a prissy, headstrong girl into an intelligent, independent frontierswoman who honors her commitment to her husband yet never douses her passion for Zach. A 200,000-copy first printing and a Literary Guild selection could create demand for this entertaining, miniseries-like melodrama.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781476731001
Publisher:
Pocket Books
Publication date:
06/25/2013
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
792
Sales rank:
625,816
Product dimensions:
4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.40(d)

Read an Excerpt

"You see why I've got to go," he said, his voice raw.

"Why I should've stayed gone for good this time."

"No!" She lifted her hand and he recoiled violently.

She let her hand fall. She snatched a half breath, feeling as if her lungs would burst. "Don't do this, Rafferty, please. It hurts me so much when you do this."

"Yeah, well I'm glad it hurts you, Clementine."

He took a step, not away from her but toward her, and her breath stopped again. His hand stole up to grip her chin. He brought his face so close to hers the moist heat of his harsh breath was like steam on her mouth. Her lips felt thick and hot, as if he had already kissed them.

His fingers tightened, hurting her. He brought his mouth closer still, almost touching hers. That close, but no closer. "Because loving you is killing me," he said.

Meet the Author

Penelope Williamson is an internationally renowned author of historical romance and suspense. Her books include The Outsider, Heart of the West, The Passions of Emma, and Mortal Sins. In 2002, The Outsider was made in to a movie for Showtime, starring Naomi Watts and Tim Daly and it quickly became a cult western classic. Penelope lives with her husband in California.

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Heart of the West 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I always hated reading..but one day i was at the library my daughter found this book and said to try it.....well lets just say i was hooked...now i am a historical romance junkie.....i read every day a book...im hooked...this novel is still by far one of my most favorites.. also anothet book from penelope a must read is a wild yearning.. and hearts beguiled. Two more of my favs..try them you wont regret it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best books Ive ever read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You won't be able to put this one down. P. Williamson is a great storyteller! Best book I've read in a long time.
Betsy7506 More than 1 year ago
I found this book at the dollar store where I soon found out is the last place it should have been. I couldn't put it down. All I could think about for 3 days was getting back home to my book. Five years later and it is still at the top of my favorites list.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved it. Couldnt put it down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book so much! It didn't take me long to read, and the description is amazing! You can totally share the feelings with all of the characters. You can totally cry along with the book, I did! Very sweet.
Guest More than 1 year ago
one of the best books i have ever heard. i've listened to the bridged audio version and it has inspired me to read the full book. it's like discovering passion all over again.
Guest More than 1 year ago
To call Penelope Williamson's 'Heart of the West' a 'romance' novel is to give it short shrift. Instead, I'd call it an epic - though I don't suppose there is actually such a genre. Williamson's characters are so intricately and sympathetically drawn, you can't help but be pulled into their lives and feel all the joys and sorrows they experience. Each character's inner feelings, motivations, and dreams are detailed in a way that bring these people to life much more effectively than a mere physical description can. Nominally, this story is about a painful romantic triangle formed by Clementine, her husband, Gus, and his brother, Zach. However, unlike many other 'romances' I've read, several peripheral characters are also given a full, strong presence in this story, too, which is why it seems more like an epic to me. And, Williamson's descriptions of the majestic but unforgiving land these settlers are trying to come to terms with are, for want of a better phrase, ruggedly eloquent and poetic. I've read two other Williamson books: The Outsider and The Passions of Emma. I'll be scrounging around for any other of her books I can find. Unfortunately for me, writing of this caliber takes time, so there aren't too many more out there. Alas!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put this one down. The characters are so realistic and the writing is so moving that I was sorry to see the end of the book. This is the first book I've read from this author and immediatly started looking for more of her stuff. Well worth the money spent.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was the second novel I've read from Ms. Williamson (the first being the Outsider), and I found myself deeply engrossed in the story. The writing was superb, I felt as though I was involved in these people's lives. I felt their joy, pain, and confusion when the plot dictated any of these feelings. The book is thick and I thought, 'How can it carry itself for such a long time?'Easy, evolving from one topic to the next. Clementine is the main character, but the book is not only her, but everyone who surrounds her and fills her life. The sparks between herself and Zach made me think the book was going to ignite itself, the passion is so strong. If there is a book which will keep you turning the pages, this is the one to read. I would defenitely would not waste the opportunity to read it again.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I picked up a hardcover copy of 'Heart of the West' for $3.99 from the bargain books section of my local bookstore. I have to say that it was the best $3.99 I've ever spent on a book. I'd never heard of the book or the author before, and I have never even read a 'romance' novel. I'm not sure exactly what enticed me to pick up this one. Perhaps it was my fascination with the Old West. Perhaps it was my addiction to buying cheap books. Perhaps it was the fact that the hardcover front design was very innocuous looking, as opposed to the typical bodice-ripper cover that comes to my mind when I think of typical romance novels. In any case, although I came to realize the book was, in fact, a romance (gasp!), I soon became completely engrossed in it. I fell in love with the characters immediately. And though they are all so different, you come to realize by the end of novel that they are all struggling for the same thing -- true love and the courage to go after their heart's desire. The characters are strong, particulary the women in their quest for independence, love, and fulfillment in the male-dominated Western society of the 1880s. The plot and multiple sub-plots kept my attention throughout as well as the wonderful, and sometimes very steamy, romance scenes. I would definitely recommend 'Heart of the West' to anyone...even if they have never before thought of reading a romance novel.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It was one of best and excellent book that I ever read!! Can't stop reading all night!! Hope for Part 2 for this book!!