Do Not Forsake Me
by Rosanne Bittner
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Page Count: 480
Release Date: July 5, 2015
How got: personal library; bought via Amazon
First attention getter: loved the first book in series
Experience the epic, sweeping story of Jake and Miranda Harkner from Bittner's beloved Outlaw Hearts, called by New York Times bestseller Heather Graham "a wonderful, absorbing read, with characters to capture the heart and the imagination".
Fate brought them together. His past may tear them apart.
Miranda Hayes' life was changed the day she faced down infamous gunslinger Jake Harkner...and walked away with his heart. Their fates have been intertwined ever since. Hunted by the law, fleeing across a savage land, their desperate love flourished despite countless sorrows. Now, twenty-six years later, their family has finally found some measure of peace...balanced on the knife's edge of danger.
Jake has spent his years as a U.S. Marshal atoning for sins, bringing law to the land he once terrorized. But no matter how hard he fights the demons of his brutal past, the old darkness still threatens to consume him. Only Miranda keeps the shadows at bay. But when outlaws looking for revenge strike a fatal blow, Jake risks losing the one woman who saw past his hard exterior and to the man inside.
He always knew there'd be the devil to pay. He just never realized he might not be the one to bear the ultimate price.
Star Rating - 4
This sequel to Outlaw Hearts didn’t have the power as the first, but it did add a great chapter in the lives of Jake and Miranda. It’s a worthy addition to Bittner’s collection of historical romance works.
The author chose to go further in a romantic relationship than many do in historical romances nowadays. The leads are in their 50s and 40s, far older than most romantic leads. I loved exploring how their relationship grew and matured as the years and trials went by. The author explored such issues that arose from that kind of relationship like illnesses, grandchildren, and getting older in a rough, tumble world.
Bittner also explores the next generation, Lloyd and Evie, as they get into relationships and start families of their own. This part of the story keeps the epic, family saga aura that the first book had, and I loved that. This book is as much about this family’s struggles to build a life in a very rough area of the world and overcome some truly tragic pasts as it is the romance.
Bittner, again, pays attention to her historical tidbits and world-building. Land-rush Oklahoma is a rough place to be, filled with outlaws, pissed-off Indians (this was supposed to be their territory after all), and squatters who don’t wish to vacate their premises. Jake being roped in as a lawman in such a setting is bound to bring its dose of action, suspense, and shoot outs. Bittner doesn’t hesitate to draw those into her story to build her characters and develop their relationships.
I didn’t like this book as well as the first as at times it seemed to focus away from the relationships and more towards Jake’s struggle as a lawman. Jake’s and Miranda’s relationship is explored enough to rightfully call this book a historical romance; yet, I felt that they didn’t always get the amount of page time together as they did in book one. It’s a subtle difference, but I still liked book one better due to it.
Still, though, this book is a great addition to the Jake/Miranda story if only as we get to see their relationship mature into the silver and golden years. The author stills pays careful attention to the background and family saga elements as she did previously. I read on her website that there will be further works coming out on Jake/Miranda; let it be noted that I’ll be eagerly awaiting those works. Bittner proves once again how great a historical romance writer she is.