The Renegades Redemption by Stacy HenrieLeaning close, she placed a kiss near the corner of his mouth. Tex maintained a mildly surprised expression as she eased back, though he really wanted to kiss her back. Only he wanted to kiss her squarely on the lips, not on the cheek, same as he had in the past. Back then hed taken their sweet kisses for granted, but now, he felt certain he would treasure them always. 168
1892 Tex comes back to his home town in Idaho, and the woman he left behind after jilting her eight years ago. He is gunshot and needs to recover. He is a wanted outlaw: a bank and train robber.
Ravena Olive Reid is one of these saintly, perfect Christian heroines that born-agains are so fond of writing. Shes unbelievably good. She cared for her elderly grandfather until death, but feels very guilty she thought about marrying Tex and abandoning her grandfather. She didnt DO it, she just THOUGHT about it. But it makes her feel so guilty. She cares for and takes in orphans. Shes a saint.
I was pronouncing her name Ruh-vee-nuh for the whole book, but on page 214 we learn she was named after a raven. So perhaps it is pronounced Ray-vihn-uh. I dont know what the authors intent was.
So. Yeah. Tex stumbles back on to Ravenas farm. She tends to his wounds. He stays to work the farm and help raise the orphans. They fall in love again. Ravena helps Tex find Jesus again.
The book is typical Christian fiction in that its a bit hard to believe. For instance, Tex was away being an outlaw for eight years, but hes still a virgin. I find that unbelievable. In another example, Tex owns a gold coin and a treasure map (key ingredients in this story) which he won gambling. In the only gambling he ever participated in in his life. I know what Henrie is saying - Texs dad was a horrible gambler and Tex avoids gambling because he doesnt want to be a no-account like his father. But one time for no apparent reason he chooses to gamble and happens to win a treasure map.
Stuff like that. I give it a pass because romantic fiction in itself is usually pretty convoluted, but adding in the Christian elements usually end up making it even more so.
I enjoy Westerns, although I prefer them to be a little sexier than this. I love both historical and modern Westerns. I enjoyed the Western-ness of this with outlaws, bandits, cattle rustlers, the sheriff, a stranger rides into town, horses, treasure etc. etc. Its fun and entertaining and stirs the imagination. And many Westerns, Christian or not, entertain ideas of redemption and forgiveness. So Henries theme of And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.* is pretty apt here.
We have Tex, who is unable to forgive himself for his past actions and sees himself as a worthless human being. We see also his anger and judgement towards his father, whom he considers (or has been taught to consider) as a worthless human being. We also have Tex hiding the truth (that he is a criminal) from the sweet, innocent, Christian Ravena.
The book focuses on some of the better facets of Christianity. No one is worthless. All human beings have worth. Redemption is possible: it is never to late to change, it is never to late to become a good person and put good into the world. You need to forgive yourself: hating yourself is only going to bring bad things.
These are all positive, great messages that come out of Christianity. I am always happier to read Christian fiction that focuses on what (IMO) are the stronger and more powerful points that illustrate a true Christian nature and ideal rather than ones that focus on twisted, hateful, or damaging Christian ideas like purity, being judgmental and sex is horrible and disgusting. There are so many beautiful and positive things about Christianity and the Christian message (IMO) that its a real shame that a lot of Christian voices I hear recently preach hatred and intolerance and judgment. Luckily, Henrie focuses on the good here and doesnt get distracted.
Robin Jones Gunns Christy Miller series is an example of a Christian series that made me upset. Just for an example of what Im talking about.
HOWS THE SEX, CARMEN?
No sex. This is Christian fiction. A few light kisses. Ravena daringly thinks that it might be fun to be tossed over Texs shoulder and taken to the house. This is about as sexual as the book gets. I mean... he doesnt do that. She just thinks it might be fun if he did that. So. Yeah. Dont read this to be sexually excited.
TL;DR I would recommend this to Christian readers who want a sexless Western romance. There are exciting Western elements in here. Henrie gives some positive examples of Christianity, although the book does tend to be too cheesy for my tastes (like when (view spoiler)[Tex is confessing his crimes to Ravena while she weeps softly on a porch swing (hide spoiler)] but YMMV. And all the praying and Jesus and God stuff can get on your nerves after a while. I mean, you might differ from me on this, maybe you want to be reminded of God constantly while reading a romance, what do I know.
MENTIONS OF GOD: 64
Cowboy Western Romance
Second Chance Romance
Virgin Hero Romance
Hes a Criminal (robber), Shes a Farmer/Foster-Mother
NAMES IN THIS BOOK:
Ravena f Olive
Whiskers – cat
Lucinda – doll
Large Love Bear
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