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The Last Good Man

The Last Good Man

5.0 5
by Kathleen Eagle

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"A poignant, satisfying romance." -Library Journal


"A good man is hard to find, but a romance by Eagle is a good place to start." -Kirkus Reviews

Gorgeous, famous Savannah Stephens is back, and no one in her hometown, Sunbonnet, Wyoming, really knows why. Especially not Clay Keogh, the good-hearted rancher who has loved her


"A poignant, satisfying romance." -Library Journal


"A good man is hard to find, but a romance by Eagle is a good place to start." -Kirkus Reviews

Gorgeous, famous Savannah Stephens is back, and no one in her hometown, Sunbonnet, Wyoming, really knows why. Especially not Clay Keogh, the good-hearted rancher who has loved her from afar since they were kids. Savannah's young daughter looks just like Savannah's first love: local bad boy Kole Kills Crow, Clay's half-brother. Has Savannah come home to start a new relationship with Kole?

Whatever her secrets, it's clear that she's deeply troubled and needs a shoulder to lean on. Clay is there for her, and she soon realizes that he's a very special man. But until she can bring herself to share the painful truth about her fall from stardom, the emotional distance between her and Clay may separate them forever.

About the Author: Bestselling author Kathleen Eagle retired from a seventeen-year teaching career on a North Dakota Indian reservation to become a full-time novelist. The Lakota Sioux heritage of her husband and their three children has inspired many of her stories. Among her honors, she has received a Career Achievement Award from Romantic Times, the Midwest Fiction Writer of the Year Award, and Romance Writers of America's prestigious RITA Award. Library Journal named THE NIGHT REMEMBERS one of the five best romances of the year. Kathleen takes great pleasure in reading letters from readers who tell her that her books have tugged at their heartstrings, entertained, inspired, and even enlightened them. Visit her at www.KathleenEagle.com.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The familiar "will she or won't she" theme is given a serious twist in Eagle's latest (after What The Heart Knows), combining a solid western/romance plot with more complex, contemporary issues. Salt of the earth Clay Keogh, rancher and farmer, has heard the smalltown whispers: gorgeous Savannah Stephens is back in Sunbonnet, Wyo. The famous model is surrounded by mystery, especially because her small daughter looks exactly like Savannah's first love, the romantic and dangerous Indian activist Kole Catches Crow. Clay, Savannah's childhood friend and Kole's half-brother, has always been in the shadow of his romantic and dangerous sibling, and he's also always carried a torch for Savannah. Desperate to break through her serious depression, he offers her a marriage of security. Though Savannah accepts those terms, she slowly realizes that she wants to forge a real marriage with Clay. That is, if she can deal with his ex-wife, Roxie, and her kids and Clay's tough mother, Patty. Savannah has happiness within her reach, but she harbors a painful secret that she's afraid to admit to her adoring husband, and he, in turn, remains afraid that she'll decide to take up her old life. Eagle draws her main characters with substance and her supporting characters with verve. Savannah's daughter, Claudia, is a charmer who plays a surprising role in the narrative, and while Kole is something of a red herring, he's an effective story facilitator. (Aug.) CURTAIN CREEK FARM Nance Van Winckel. Persea/Braziller, $22 ISBN 0-89255-250-6 ~ An anarchist commune in Washington State, founded in the '60s, survived the disenchantments of the next decades, but its idealistic inhabitants are shaken when one of their longtime members, Lila, dies of cancer at age 50. Poet and fiction writer Van Winckel's (After a Spell; Quake) collection of eight interconnected stories tenderly and honestly describes the joys, compromises, dreams and hard realities of the farm, "a world away from the world." In truth, a generation after the farm's inception, the collective collides with the outside world more often than not. Lila's herpetologist son, Russell, is seriously enamored of Lila's friend, Geneva, in "The Lap of Luxury." In "Making Headway," Roxanne gives Geneva deep-tissue massages, and knows that her back problems stem from being "spooked by love"; that is, she's afraid to accept Russell's devotion, because he's 15 years her junior. Roxanne's husband is long gone, prompting advances from Frito, a nomadic Web designer. The children of the community poignantly respond to Lila's death by organizing mock funerals for kittens, possums and other animals, even staging one for a four-year-old playmate ("The Land of Anarchy"). This ceremony is interrupted by the appearance of a cougar, one moment of many where Van Winckel's canny symbolism satisfyingly vexes the distinction between nature and culture. The children, meanwhile, demarcate the thin line between the commune's stubbornly radical vision and its inescapable participation in various social constructs. In the final story, "Treat Me Nice," this division is beautifully transcended. Francine, a nurse, encounters an Elvis imitator with a mysterious injury, whom she marries on the farm. At the wedding, 12 other Elvis imitators, singing "All Shook Up," parachute to earth from a plane high above. The narrative is chock-full of surprising images like this one, as Van Winckel merges popular culture and utopian lifestyles with rosy, generous vision. (Aug.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Library Journal
When beautiful model Savannah Stephens comes back to Sunbonnet, WY, to care for the woman who raised her, she brings a six-year-old daughter, a brave if wounded spirit, and the need to heal. But Savannah's return also brings a mystery: who is the father of her daughter, and why has Savannah come home? The answers are slow in coming, but longtime friend Clay Keogh is determined to help--and he is there with his love when Savannah needs him the most. In this hard-hitting, down-to-earth romance, Eagle turns her considerable skills to the very real issues of breast cancer, reconstructive surgery, and the emotional aftermath. Readers are given not just a poignant, satisfying romance but a realistic yet hopeful look at a situation that many women will face. Eagle (What the Heart Knows) is a highly regarded writer of emotionally involving romances who lives in the Minneapolis area. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 4/15/00.] Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
Kirkus Reviews
A good man is hard to find, but a romance by Eagle (What the Heart Knows, 1999, etc.) is a good place to start. Flat broke and disillusioned model Savannah Stephens gives up her formerly fabulous career in New York and returns home to Sunbonnet, Wyoming. No one knows why she's back, but Clay Keogh, a local rancher, intends to find out. Clay has loved Savannah ever since he can remember, although he suspects that her six-year-old daughter, Claudia, may be his brother's child. He can't be sure, however, since Savannah isn't telling and his brother, an Indian activist, has been running from the FBI for years. Strong, silent Clay bides his time until Savannah reveals that she has been treated for breast cancer and now believes her once-perfect body is too flawed for a sexual relationship. Clay attempts to reassure her, but Savannah guards her heart. Then he makes an impulsive offer: bed, board, and (most important) health insurance so she can obtain the follow-up care she so badly needs. She'll have to marry him, but in name only, no strings attached. Touched by his kindness, Savannah agrees and begins sorting through her emotions in a breast cancer survivor's group. She decides to do something in return for Clay, a skilled farrier who often buys old, sick horses and nurses them back to health. Savannah pulls strings to help him start a retirement farm for horses whose owners can afford to buy them a happy old age. Clay is delighted, the wary Savannah is finally won over by his gentle strength, and soon Claudia is blossoming too, no longer afraid of losing her mother. Here, as in much of Eagle's work, good things happen to good people, albeit after muchtravail.Unlike most romance writers, she avoids the usual ornate rhapsodizing in favor of a rugged lyricism that suits her mountain setting down to the ground. Heartfelt and homespun, with a believably gallant hero who (sigh) never asks stupid questions.

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Read an Excerpt

The Last Good Man

The queen bees of Sunbonnet, Wyoming, were all abuzz. Savannah Stephens was back, in the flesh this time.

How long had it been since the last time they′d pulled Savannah, dressed only in satin bra and lace panties, out of their mailboxes? She′d been quite the regular fixture on the cover of that mail-order catalogue for quite a while. Of course, everyone knew all about how those pictures got touched up. But they had to admit, Savannah had the basic equipment. And it was all natural. She was born and raised right there in Sunbonnet. She was all-natural. That dewy-eyed smile had been just the right counterpoint for the flawless body of a woman who didn′t have to think twice about walking around in broad daylight wearing nothing but pretty under-wear.

Then suddenly she′d vanished. Air-brushed clean away, as though somebody had thrown a coat over her and dragged her back into the house. Had it been three years ago, maybe five?

The drones had noticed right away when it happened, but they hadn′t said much. Once Savannah was gone, the men had gotten their catalogue back. If anybody was to order anything, it was probably going to be a man. He′d send for something black and lacy for his own lady, something she would put on for him, just so he could take it off. The next morning she would tuck it away in a drawer, and he′d never see it again. Then it was back to the mailbox again. Sure, the men missed seeing Savannah, but there was still plenty of diversion on the cover of Lady Elizabeth′s Dreamwear Catalogue.

Still, the women pondered aloud on occasion. What ever became of Savannah Stephens?

Some had heard she′d found greener pastures, but there were all sorts of tales about the nature of green. A movie mogul with a pocketful of green had her stashed in a cottage beside the green sea. Or she′d starved herself like they all did to stay slim, taken to eating nothing but lettuce and drinking green tea, and she′d just wasted away. Some said she′d made so much green herself, she′d been able to retire and get fat. Heck, she always was pretty sassy.

The ebb and flow of such comments depended on the weather and what else was in the news, but they never sloshed through the door of the Sunbonnet Mercantile, owned and operated by Billie Larsen, the only relative Savannah had left in Sunbonnet. Or anywhere else, as far as anyone knew. The old general store was a gallery of pictures of Savannah dressed in pretty suits and glamorous evening clothes. The catalogues were stashed underneath the counter. Billie was proud of those, too, but she didn′t tack them on the wall.

Whenever anyone asked, Billie said that her niece was taking some time off from her modelling career. The response hadn′t changed in five years. Conventional wisdom calculated that it had probably been five years since Billie had heard from her once famous niece, and the conventionally wise were not surprised to hear she′d finally come home with her tail tucked between her legs. It just proved that New York City was no place for a nice girl from Wyoming. It was bitch eat bitch in places like New York and L.A., or so the females of Sunbonnet had heard. And so they were fond of saying.

The males of Sunbonnet still weren′t saying much. They couldn′t imagine pastures any greener than the pages of Lady Elizabeth′s Dreamwear Catalogue. The thought of that tail and those legs coming home to Sunbormet seemed too damn good to be true. They′d have to see to believe, and so far, the sightings had been few.

But she was surely back.

Even if every person Clay Keogh tipped his hat to hadn′t mentioned it hard on the heels of saying how quickly the weather had changed this week, he would have known she was close by. Suddenly the clean, dry Wyoming air carried her scent again.

He′d parked his pickup in the shade of the loafing shed behind the Sunbonnet Mercantile, which was the oldest building in town. He was careful not to glance at the upstairs windows as he unloaded the tools of his trade. He had as good a buzz on as any bee, and he hadn′t even had a drink in weeks. His face flamed in the shade of his cap as he took a quick inventory of the handles in his toolbox. He could have sworn he had Tabasco sauce coursing through his veins, a notion that made him chuckle. Dearly did he love anything spicy, but cayenne in his blood? Not likely. Wyoming dirt made him red-blooded, pure and plain.

Was she upstairs in her aunt Billie′s spare room, fixing a face that never needed any fixing? Or was she downstairs, helping out behind the counter, the way she used to when they were kids? He hadn′t noticed any cowboys lining up to buy a pack of gum they might never open or a postage stamp for a letter they′d surely never write. If he hurried, maybe he could be first.

The Last Good Man
. Copyright © by Kathleen Eagle. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

What People are Saying About This

Jayne Ann Krentz
Eagle crafts very special stories.
Tami Hoag
Kathleen Eagle is an author without peer.
Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Kathleen Eagle is a national treasure.

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The Last Good Man 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Janga More than 1 year ago
Kathleen Eagle is a superb storyteller who creates compelling, complex characters, and The Last Good Man is one of her best books. It has lost none of its power in the dozen years since it was first published. Eagle’s gift for characterization can be seen in the secondary characters such as Clay’s mother, his ex-wife, Savannah’s aunt, and Savannah’s hairdresser friend—credible mixes of strengths and weaknesses with pieces of the lives that make them who they are revealed. Even characters who never actually appear in the book such as Kole Kills Crow and Savannah’s New York friend Heather emerge as real, believable personalities. Claudia may seem improbably mature to some readers, but anyone who has ever watched a small child of a single parent caught in physical or mental illness will recognize the fierce protectiveness and caretaking that can become part of the child’s nature. Clay is wonderful, one of my all-time favorite heroes. Hardworking, competent, sexy, and nurturing with an always tender touch for the wounded and needy, human or animal, he is the man the title evokes. But he is no impossible dream. He can be angry and impatient, he can make foolish choices, and he can find it difficult to articulate his feelings. Eagle reveals enough about his past for the reader to understand that his need to take care of others is an essential and innate part of the person Clay is. Like many natural givers, Clay must learn to accept the gifts of others. Savannah, despite her illness, is a difficult character to like for the first part of the book. She is totally self-absorbed, even to the point of avoiding her responsibilities to her child. But as the reader learns more about her and realizes why appearance is so important to her, why the changes cancer surgery have wrought in her body have so devastated her, and why she is convinced that she holds death within her, she becomes more sympathetic. Watching her grow and take responsibility for herself and others becomes a joy. Kathleen Eagle is a gifted, intelligent writer. I highly recommend her books. If you are an Eagle fan, you know her books are definitely worth a reread. If you’ve never read her, The Last Good Man is a great place to start. I suggest you also look for You Never Can Tell, the story of Kole Kills Crow and Savannah’s friend, New York journalist Heather Reardon, which Bell Bridge Books also plans to reissue. And I’m hoping for reissues including electronic editions of my favorites by Eagle—Reason to Believe and What the Heart Knows.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In Sunbonnet, Wyoming the townsfolk are all excited over the return of supermodel Savannah Stephens for the first time in years. Savannah was a fixture on all the catalogues, but abruptly vanished. Now she has come home to care for her beloved ailing aunt. Especially elated about Savannah¿s return is Clay Keogh who always loved her. However, he knows that she was fascinated with his half-brother, a person wanted by the law for his overzealous activism.

However, Clay¿s dreams of this time being different are hammered when he sees the six-year-old child accompanying Savannah. Claudia Ann looks like a female miniature of his hiding half-brother. Although Savannah refuses to divulge the identity of Claudia Ann¿s father, Cole offers her a deal. If she marries him, he will become a father to her frightened little daughter worried about her mother¿s bout with breast cancer. However, marriage might interfere with her thoughts of returning to modeling.

Kathleen Eagle always provides a deep emotional tale that pulls on the hearts of the readers. Her most recent novel, THE LAST GOOD MAN, is a warm, passionate love story concentrating on various relationships. The characters make the novel, as fans will want to adopt Claudia Ann and empathize with the lead couple. Once again, Ms. Eagle takes her audience on a soaring sentimental journey.

Harriet Klausner

Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the type of book that grabs your heart and stays with you long after you've turned the last page. Fans of the retired LaVyrle Spencer will definitely enjoy The Last Good Man.
arlenadean More than 1 year ago
Review: Kathleen Eagle's "The Last Good Man" was one good powerful novel that I have read on this subject in quite a while. I thought this author did a good job in handling the subject of breast cancer and even how the horses were brought into this storyline. The story consist of a woman(Savannah Stephens) who was a former model, recovering recovering from breast cancer surgery and treatment and how, what and why life went for her after she returned to her hometown in Sunbonnet, Wyoming with her daughter(Claudia). In this read there was also a love story that will unfold of how Clay had loved Savannah since they were teens. Clay was a very wonderful, caring and protective man. Will Savannah and Clay be able to come to terms with all the changes that have gone on in their lives now that she has returned home? This is where I say you must pick up this read "The Last Good Man" to find out! The characters were all likable...starting with Savannah, Clay, Aunt Billie, Kole, Heather to Claudia...only naming a few that did present a wonderful read. "The Last Good Man" was a good read that gives a good view into the life of a woman who was going through breast cancer. I didn't find this a page turner but indeed a good read that I would recommend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago