The Reprobate

Dorothy A.

Royce and Quinn O’Bannon go up against their cousin, Wren, again. Only this time she wins permanently by getting them away from their crazy drunk of a father and giving them a second chance to find the life they’ve never had. Cleantha Arnaud was in a horrific carriage accident years ago and, lucky to have survived, lives with her father, the town’s teacher. Very broken, in different ways, Royce and Cleantha just might be able to heal each other.


Cowboy hats off to Ms. Bell, for not using modern names in a historical setting, showcasing such a level of caring and attention to detail, that the story, setting, and plot resonate with antiquity. Told from the limited perspective of Royce and Cleantha, their personalities simply radiate from the pages more clearly than any actor could portray on screen. Royce’s snarky, self-preserving ability to laugh at himself, and others, masks the gentleman underneath and pulls the reader into loving him from page one. Cleantha’s quiet, yet determined, quest to feel anything once again, brought out cheers as she symbolically flips the bird to everyone who believes her weak because she can’t walk well. The reader will be more shocked by the real cussing from a historical novel, than the soul-wrenching sex scenes. Ms. Bell doesn’t gloss over the real vocabulary of an 1880’s drifter. There are a minute amount of punctuation errors, and in a small handful of moments Ms. Bell loses Royce and Cleantha’s voice, becoming narrator instead of storyteller, but neither of  these do anything to pull down a superbly crafted historical romance!


Julie L. York