There’s just something romantic about the idea of riding off into the sunset, isn’t there? Maybe that’s part of the reason why romances set in the contemporary west are still just as popular as stories of how the west was won (or lost). Or maybe it’s all about the cowboys…
Linda Lael Miller is one of the queens of western romance, with best-selling series in both contemporary and historical western settings. She’s even written a “western”-type romance set in Australia! (Moonfire)
But she’s best known for her U.S. historic and contemporary western series. Her most popular series is probably the McKettricks series, which begins with High Country Bride. In this introduction to the ongoing family saga, Arizona rancher Angus McKettrick thinks that he can get his feckless sons to settle down by getting the three of them to compete for the right to inherit the family ranch. The first three books in this historical western romance series (High Country Bride is followed by Shotgun Bride and Secondhand Bride) involve the three brothers finding love and choosing wives in order to vie for the family ranch.
For readers who prefer contemporary western romances, Miller certainly has that covered as well. Her Parable Montana series, starting with Big Sky Country, combines the intricacies and intimacies of a small town romance series with all the things that appeal to western romance lovers: cowboys, ranching and the wide-open spaces. And did I mention cowboys?
Another western romance writer who is popular writing both historical and contemporary romances is Diana Palmer. Her signature series is her Long, Tall Texans series (and doesn’t that conjure up an image of the West?), but in many of Palmer’s recent westerns, including Protector and Dangerous, she adds a heaping helping of suspense to her western romances that appeals to a lot of readers.
Historical westerns aren’t complete without train rides, outlaws and the Texas Rangers. If this combination sounds appealing to you, then you should give Jodi Thomas and her Whispering Mountain series a try, because it has all of these things and so much more. The first book in the series is Texas Rain.
Kaki Warner is a new western author worth checking out. Her historical westerns appeal to readers of Linda Lael Miller and Jodi Thomas. Her series, Heroes of Heartbreak Creek, starting with Behind His Blue Eyes, gets into that concept about the West as a place where people could re-invent themselves, and wraps it all up in a terrific romance.
Stories of the West still have a timeless appeal. Afterall, if people hadn’t heard that call to “Go West,” we wouldn’t be here in Seattle!