May Contain Spoilers
I try to read all of the American Romances as soon as the library receives them. I don’t usually read the book descriptions before I check them out; they are automatically added to my library basket. While not every one is a success for me, I enjoy a majority of them. Texas Rebels: Jude had a couple rocky issues, but overall, I did enjoy my first Linda Warren read, too.
This book reminded me of Brenda Novak’s This Heart of Mine (with a little less angst). Paige gets pregnant as teen, and fears becoming trapped in the small Texas town she was raised in. The father of her baby, Jude, isn’t much help because he never lets Paige know how he’s feeling. Jude has a happy home life on the family’s sprawling ranch, while Paige lives with a verbally abusive mother who constantly tells her she will never amount to anything. After being awarded a scholarship to pursue a medical degree, Paige makes a hard decision – she’ll hide the pregnancy, she’ll have the baby, and then give it up for adoption.
Jude doesn’t want to make Paige hate him by asking her to stay with him. He agrees to give up the baby, but has a change of heart. Paige has left for California and a better life for herself, and Jude confesses to his mother that he gave up his baby for adoption. With his mother’s help, he is able to get his son back. Jude then raises the boy, again, with the help of his supportive family, without ever speaking to Paige again.
Paige has been living in torment since giving up her baby. She didn’t even know the sex of her child because she was advised to never hold the infant, or even be told the sex of the child. She has a complete emotional breakdown and has to drop out of college, giving up the scholarship she worked so hard for. With the help of kind strangers, she finally gets her life back on track, and is now working on making her dreams of becoming a doctor come true. Then her mother dies, and she has to return home to Horseshoe for the funeral and to help get her mother’s house ready to sell.
When Jude learns that Paige is back in town, he knows that he finally has to let her know that he has had their child for the past 12 years. Their confrontation is as unpleasant as you’d imagine, and when Paige demands to see Zane, Jude refuses. It has to be Zane’s decision, and since Paige signed away all parental rights, she has no say in the matter. Talk about a great big Ouch! and a major driver for the conflict between the couple.
As a romance, this didn’t work for me. I didn’t find the romance convincing, and there wasn’t much of it. As an emotionally compelling read, I found it hard to put down. Paige was so miserable at times that I was uncomfortable, and her inability to forgive herself made me a little crazy. But so did Jude’s lack of communication skills. This couple would have spared themselves so much DRAMA if they could only talk to each other. They have known each other forever, dated through high school, and loved each other, but they couldn’t fix what was broken between them. I wanted to strangle Jude. If he would have spoken up 12 years ago, and again now, their lives would have been so much better.
Despite my irritation with the couple, and what for me was a lack of courtship, I read this quickly because I couldn’t put it down. I would like to read the other books in this series to catch up on the rest of the family.
Grade: B / B-
Review copy borrowed from my local library
About the book:
The day his son was born, Jude Rebel knew he was meant to be a father. That was why he had to stop the adoption. How could he give away his own flesh and blood? For twelve years, Jude has kept his secret. Until Paige Wheeler comes home to Horseshoe, regretting the decision that changed both their lives forever.
At eighteen, all Paige wanted was to escape her Texas town and troubled, hardscrabble life. Her ticket out cost her dearly. Now she has a chance to make things right. Finding out Jude has been raising their child is only the beginning. Is it too late for forgiveness? Or have they all been given a second chance?