Monday, July 25, 2011

Texas Splendor by Lorraine Heath

Texas Splendor, the final book to Lorraine Heath’s Texas Trilogy, is Austin Leigh’s story. It picks up five years after Texas Glory, with Austin’s release from prison where he’d served time for a murder he didn’t commit. As he makes his way home from Fort Worth to Leighton, there are only two things on Austin’s mind – clearing his name and claiming the girl who promised to wait for him. What he finds, however, is that Becky has married his best friend, finding the real killer isn’t going to be easy and returning to his old life is nearly impossible.

Watching Austin grow from a young man into a mature adult as the books progressed was a treat. I’ve come to love him as if he was my own brother, and sharing in his successes as well as his struggles endeared him to me all the more. And because of this, my heart really did break when he found out that the girl who he’d planned to build his life with and whose memories had kept him going while he was in prison had married his best friend. I knew it was going to happen, the book synopsis makes that clear, but still, my heart ached for him, and even knowing what was coming I wasn’t prepared for the impact it had on both Austin and myself.

Loree Grant. Wow, what an amazing, loving, passionate, compassionate, tortured heroine. I’m not at all sure that I could have kept going after what she had lived through, honestly. In the real world, I believe that from time to time, God brings two people together whose life’s experiences have been so tragic that the only way they can grow and heal is with someone who’s been there, too. And in this fictional tale, such is the case with Loree and Austin. I can’t imagine another human being on the face of the planet who could have been a more perfect match for Austin, and he for her. I won’t go into the details of their relationship except to say that I was so happy, for both of them, to find the comfort they needed in one another. Austin gave her a family, after having her own brutally taken from her. And she… well, she gave Austin a desire to not just live, but to follow his dreams and live life to the fullest.

One of many favorite quotes from this book -
"Don't stop loving me, Loree. You want me to learn what those little black bugs on those pieces of paper mean, I'll learn. You want me to play the violin from dawn until dusk, hell, I'll play till midnight, just don't stop loving me."

She flung her arms around his neck and felt his arms come around her back, the violin tapping against her backside. "Oh, Austin, I couldn't stop loving you if I wanted."
Texas Splendor is a wonderful story, and amazing ending to the Texas Trilogy. It’s not often that I say this, but I hated to see it end. There were many other characters whose lives I would have loved to follow, but most of all, Rawley Cooper. In this book we see how he’s grown into quite a young man. Someone with honor, integrity and all the makings for an amazing hero should he ever get his own story. I can only keep hoping that Ms. Heath will feel the way I do and make sure that Rawley gets his own happily ever after, too.

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