today’s book: Fairest of Heart by Karen Witemeyer
We are moving right along on our summer-long Road Trip Reads Giveaway where we will be visiting all 50 states on the pages of recently released books. Because road trips are always better with friends – and books – right? So grab your fave snacks, a cold soda or bottled water, an upbeat playlist and let’s head back to the mainland!
today’s stop: Texas
FAIREST OF HEART by Karen Witemeyer
SERIES: Texas Ever After #1
GENRE: Inspirational Historical/Western Romance
PUBLISHER: Bethany House
RELEASE DATE: June 6, 2023
Once upon a time in Texas . . .
Beauty has been nothing but a curse to Penelope Snow. When she becomes a personal maid for a famous actress whose troupe is leaving Chicago to tour the West, she hides her figure beneath shapeless dresses and keeps her head down. But she still manages to attract the wrong attention, leaving her prospects in tatters–and her jealous mistress plotting her demise.
After his brother lost his life over a woman, Texas Ranger Titus Kingsley has learned to expect the worst from women and is rarely disappointed. So when a young lady found in suspicious circumstances takes up residence with the seven old drovers living at his grandfather’s ranch, Titus is determined to keep a close eye on her.
With a promotion hanging in the balance, Titus is assigned to investigate a robbery case tied to Penelope’s acting troupe, and all evidence points to Penelope’s guilt. But Titus might just be convinced that the fairest woman of all has a heart as pure as her last name . . . if only he can prove it.
“Find a Penelope, son, and never let her go.”
A Snow White retelling by Karen Witemeyer, set in the late 1800s in Texas? Yes please! In fact, I’m going on record as saying that I enjoyed Fairest of Heart better than I ever have the Disney movie. The seven drovers – a ragtag gang of old cowboys – endearingly represent the dwarves we all love in personality and heart, though in this case my favorite is Grumpy… er… Jeb. I loved them all just about equally, however. Penelope Snow is not only fair in appearance but, true to the title, she is fair of heart too. Her kindness and selfless nature make her super easy to love. Which brings us to Texas Ranger Titus Kingsley.
One of my favorite tropes in romance is the man who has sworn off women but now finds himself completely besotted with one and completely perplexed as to how that happened. Such is the case with Titus toward Penelope.
Bullets he could dodge. Love, on the other hand, snuck up on a fellow when he wasn’t looking, and he very much feared he’d already taken a lethal hit.
I loved Titus – from his befuddled feelings to his relationship with his grandfather and his genuinely good heart. The fact that, shortly after we first meet him, he carries a wounded dog on horseback to the Diamond D for his grandfather (aka Doc) to heal is icing on the already swoony cake. A Texas Ranger with a soft spot for animals and affection for a handful of crotchety old cowboys… who falls bewildered head over boots for Penelope… is definitely a Prince Charming in my book! The faith thread that pertains to him is so beautifully done, as well.
Bottom Line: Once upon a time, if asked to name my favorite fairy tale, Snow White would typically be far down the list, whether it be the Disney movie or the Grimm story. However, in Karen Witemeyer’s hands, Fairest of Heart kicked it up my list several places and became far & away my favorite retelling of the tale. I had such fun finding all the author’s unique twists on the Disney version, and I grinned like crazy from beginning to end. I also became totally smitten with all seven drovers of the Diamond D and Lucky the dog, not to mention Penelope and Titus. Watching those latter two fall in love was truly a pleasure and oh-so-sweet. If you love fairy tale retellings, great characters, sweet romance, touching faith themes, and the triumph of the good guys over the villains then Fairest of Heart will have you reading happily ever after!
(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. In the interest of full disclosure, the company for which I freelance as a blog/review tour coordinator was hired to promote this book with a social media tour at a later date, with which I have no involvement. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 4.5 stars / loved it!
KissingBook Level: 3+ / will forget to breathe on occasion
Voted #1 Reader’s Favorite Christian Romance Author of 2019 by Family Fiction Magazine, bestselling and Carol and Christy Award-winning author Karen Witemeyer offers warmhearted historical romance with a flair for humor, feisty heroines, and swoon-worthy Texas heroes. She makes her home in Abilene, Texas, with her husband and three children. Learn more about Karen and her books at karenwitemeyer.com.
Bethany House is offering a print copy of Fairest of Heart by Karen Witemeyer to one of my readers! (US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What makes you want to read Fairest of Heart by Karen Witemeyer? Have you ever visited Texas?