Ride the Fire
by Pamela Clare
Book 3 (final) of Blakewell/Kenleigh Family trilogy
Widowed and alone on the frontier, Elspeth Stewart will do whatever it takes to protect herself and her unborn child from the dangers of the wilderness and of men. Though her youthful beauty doesn't show it, she is broken and scarred from the way men have treated her. So when a stranger wanders onto Bethie's land, wounded and needing her aid, she takes no risks, tying him to the bed and hiding his weapons before ministering to his injuries.
But Bethie's defenses cannot keep Nicholas Kenleigh from breaking down her emotional walls. The scars on his body speak of a violent past, but his gentleness, warmth, and piercing eyes arouse longings in her that she never imagined she had. As Nicholas and Bethie reveal to each other both their hidden desires and their tortured secrets, they discover that riding the flames of their passion might be the key to burning away the nightmare of their pasts.
Whether it was because of the non-stop action, or the survival story line, Ride the Fire ended up being my favorite of the three Blakewell/Kenleigh Family trilogy books. Nicholas ended up being my favorite of the three heroes presented in this trilogy. Bethie, on the other hand, was really standard for a romance novel heroine, as a damsel in distress, and the kindhearted, innocent angel.
Nonetheless, I enjoyed the romance in this book more than I did the previous two books. In a way, the two main characters were more on equal footing at the beginning, with Bethie not knowing Nicholas's true identity, only knowing that he's a trapper and frontiersman. Unlike the previous two books, there was no sense that one party had more power than the other, that one side was more subordinate to the other. Aside from all the kept secrets, the two of them seemed to get along quite sincerely and honestly.
Meanwhile, Ride the Fire also seemed more like an adventurous journey, as we followed our main couple through the frontier towards the east back to safer ground, away from the wars and battles between the Indians, the frontiersmen, and the British army.
In spite of the book being first and foremost a romance, this was also quite fun to follow. In a way, it also kind of reminded me of one of Pamela Clare's contemporary romantic suspense novels, Breaking Point, if only because the main couple spends a good chunk of time trying to survive the harsh wilderness while avoiding human predators. And the danger just never seemed to let up.
As I'd stated the adventure part really drew me in, and to be frank, after the two reach civilization, the book kind of plateaus. And the battle scenes were pretty well-outlined, to be honest. The romantic angst might have been overdone a bit. And finally, the ending managed to wrench some FEELS out of me. The reunion scene between Nicholas and his family was all sorts of heart-warming--kudos!
I really, really enjoyed reading this book. And a lot more of the typical Pamela Clare style is starting to shine through--at least what I'm familiar with from what I've already read of her books.