"A light humous western historical romance"
I have a soft spot for romance authors from my home state
of Pennsylvania and I must admit that I find Ms. Betts as
entertaining in person as I do between the pages of her
novels. WALKER'S WIDOW is a light, funny, romance
set in a
town in Texas, between Heaven and Hell, literally! It is a
tale of a compassion, duty, love, forgiveness and ....
scandalous underwear! Bet that got your attention.
Texas Ranger Clayton Walker has been summoned to Purgatory,
Texas, by his elderly aunt. Seems a cat burglar has been
sneaking into houses and stealing valuable pieces of
jewelry from the more well heeled citizens. Of course the
town's folk didn't make that very hard being as no one in
Purgatory ever locked their doors. Well perhaps catching
the thief isn't quite Aunt Martha's only motive either. In
her opinion her beautiful, widowed, daughter-in-law
deserved a grand passion, and Mother Doyle is sure her
handsome nephew is the one to give it to her.
Clay isn't too impressed with his first view of Purgatory,
but he has high hopes of departing quickly when, upon his
arrival, he spies a suspicious figure leaving one of the
nearby houses through a window. With a caution for his
horse, Clay pursues, but the burglar eludes him. Drat! He
has second thoughts about the town's appeal when he gets an
eyeful of his aunt's daughter-in-law, Regan, his late
cousin James's widow.
Regan Doyle is a real Irish beauty with a headful of
glorious red curls, creamy white skin, and pouty lips. Even
wrapped in a black dressing gown she had gotten his
attention ... by fainting at his feet! Okay her nose HAD
looked better before she fell on it. What he doesn't know
is that Regan is the thief.
Regan Doyle had been born to poverty. Her parents had died
when she was still rather young, and she had been forced to
wait tables in a high class brothel to keep body and soul
together. Regan had no illusions as to where her career was
headed. She'd been very grateful when one of the customers,
James Doyle, a man more than twenty years her senior, had
taken a shine to her. He'd later asked her to marry him and
moved her in with his invalid mother. It had been a
pleasant marriage, if not a passionate one. James had truly
loved her and she had cared for him. Their five years of
marriage had not produced children and Regan had indulged
her maternal instincts on the town's orphans. Then James
had died suddenly, leaving the two women in his life
comfortably provided for, but his legacy had not been
enough to provide for the children Regan had come to love
in place of her own. Regan had applied to the wealthy of
the town for contributions for their upkeep, but most had
declined. They'd had had no qualms about flashing their
expensive jewels around however. Not knowing what else to
do she had resorting to becoming a modern day Robin Hood.
She'd only take what the rich wouldn't miss, and given to
those who desperately needed it. Truly most of the citizens
preferred to believe that the ghost of the town's first
undertaker, Ol' Morty Pike, was responsible for the thefts.
All had been well until Clay showed up and given her the
fright of her life.
It appears after all that Clayton hadn't gotten a good look
at her in the dark, but he really likes what he sees once
inside his aunt's house. Morgan decides to suspend her
illicit activity until Clay leaves town. It isn't long
before neither wants to think much about that event.
Somewhat in spite of Mother Doyle's matchmaking efforts,
they are falling in love. Then disaster strikes. A tree
collapses on the orphan's home during a storm, collapsing
the roof. Major repairs are in order, and the money just
isn't there. Morgan is forced to come to the rescue once
more. Things go terribly wrong when Regan overhears a more
serious crime being committed while inside the town
banker's home. Her conscience won't allow her to let it go
unanswered, but how can she get Clay to pursue the case
without implicating herself? If he finds out what she'd
done he will hate her forever ... unless he can find it in
himself to put love before honor.
Martha Doyle's scheming is a hoot and a half, as is much of
the randy dialogue between Clayton and Regan. Their love
for each other and their relationship with one of the towns
troubled youths will steal a piece of your heart. As to the
scandalous underwear, well, you'll just have to read the
book. I recommend that you do.
Reviewed by Leslie Tramposch
Posted April 1, 2002