Texas Tall by Kaki Warner
Released: October 4, 2016
Reviewed by Mandi
I have really enjoyed so many of Kaki Warner’s books, and Texas Tall goes right onto my favorite’s shelf. Lottie is one of my favorite heroines so far this year.
Lottie was raised by her rancher grandfather and at the age of 14, as he lay dead in his house, she sets it on fire, and heads to the nearest town of Greenbroke, Texas to start a new life. She is taken in by a couple who owns the local market and given a small room. Lottie finds a life for herself. A very hard worker, she learns she has a great head for numbers and even takes over the books for the market. Greenbroke is an up and coming town with a railway stop, which brings visitors to the local saloon and brothel. Lottie’s best friend is Becky who becomes a dealer in the brothel, and their friendship and banter is really outstanding in this book.
Lottie first meets her hero, Ty, when there is an unexpected shootout in the middle of town. Ty is a Texas Ranger with The Frontier Battalion and gets injured during the shootout. Lottie rushes over and helps, and Ty doesn’t forget her name or her face. Sometime later when he is back in town, he seeks her out and asks her for dinner. Being a Ranger, Ty travels a lot, so he is in and out of her life for quite some time during the book. His profession forbids him to marry, so their romance starts very slow and innocent. While they are slowly courting, Lottie finds a mentor to teach her investing and more about finances, and she is soon a bookkeeper for several businesses with an eye out for investing all of her money. Lottie grew up extremely poor with her grandfather, barely having clothes or enough food to survive. She vows to herself she will never be that poor again. When Ty suggests he will leave the Rangers and become a rancher so they can be together – Lottie freezes. She wants to be with Ty, but she doesn’t want to leave her job and rely on Ty’s ranching skills for income. I love that about her – she puts herself first, although willing to compromise.
Ty and Lottie write to each other and really get to know one another. It’s sweet:
With shaking fingers, she carefully pulled out the note, unfolded it, and checked the signature. Ty! Heart pounding, she began to read.
Dear Miss Lottie,
I hope I spelled your last name right.
(He hadn’t, but she didn’t care)
And I hope you remember me, Ranger Tyree Benton.
(As if she could forget!)
In another letter, she writes:
…Mrs. Brackett warned me away from men who have not professed “honorable intentions” but still insist on holding my hand. You rogue. I a still shocked that you would do such a thing. I probably won’t feel better about it until I see you again and we can discuss it in more detail.
Every time Ty can make it into town, their romance always takes a bigger step forward. It’s all going well until Ty comes to town one day to arrest Lottie for the murder of her grandfather. That kind of puts a damper on a relationship.
This book has such great characters. Lottie grows into such a confident, mature woman from circumstances that were less than ideal. Being abandoned and starting anew life all by yourself at age 14 is hard. But she does it without bitterness. She is very smart and never gives up. Her passion for learning is fun to explore. I love the way she isn’t cowed by men or those who try to take her down.
Her best friend Becky is a riot – very outspoken and wears her emotions on her sleeve. She has a romance with the saloon owner that is fun to watch unfold in this book.
There is also a woman who arrives from England, Jane, and opens her own business. She brings her business man Mr. Briggs along and they have drama – and I assume they will star in the next book. (I’m sooooo intrigued by Briggs!)
This book is so engaging and fun. Honestly – I think the weakest character in the book is Ty, our hero. He is sweet – and he frustrates Lottie to some extent because it’s hard for him to swallow that she is book smart and has money and doesn’t want to stay home and cook for him. I liked him, but he didn’t shine as much as all the others did.
Overall, a really fun book to read.