In Colorado Dawn, Kaki Warner’s trademark humor, grit and attention to detail come together in a beautifully vibrant, entertaining, and emotionally gripping story.
Maddie and Angus Wallace have spent only a few nights together in their six-year marriage. The last time Angus deserted her to rejoin his regiment, Maddie struggled unsuccessfully to make a life with his family in Scotland. She finally leaves and strikes out for Colorado Territory, where she becomes a celebrated photographer introducing the world to America’s west through a female eye.
She tells her new friends in the failing mining town of Heartbreak Creek that she’s a widow, a lie that catches up to her when Angus (now Viscount Ashby, or Ash) seeks her out because he needs an heir.
But how can she even think about forgiving him, much less giving up a meaningful career, for a lazy life among the backbiting aristocracy? And how can Ash give up centuries of duty for a life thousands of miles from his family and heritage?
I’ve read all of Kaki Warner’s novels, and they go from strength to strength. Colorado Dawn is the second in her Runaway Brides series (Heartbreak Creek is first), and this novel cements Kaki’s place as one of my favorite novelists.
For me, one of the great pleasures of reading a Kaki Warner novel is the voice she gives her heroes. They’re rough, rugged and funny, but they’d do absolutely anything for their heroines. Unlike their Victorian England counterparts, there’s nothing polished about them. They’re survivalists, and it’s a good thing because hoo-boy! Kaki throws a hell of a lot of conflict their way.
Though Ash is a new member of the British aristocracy, he has much more in common with the sheriff and ranchers of Kaki’s previous novels than he does with English toffs. Ash is a Highland warrior, a soldier, who has suffered grave injuries and losses. Although he devoted most of his life to his career, and was devastated to lose it, he has managed to keep his sense of humor, as shows in this scene when he’s driving Maddie back to town after a night of passion.