Friday, January 30, 2009

The Education of Madeline... a review and giveaway

Hey all! If you are a frequent visitor here, you know I'm a huge Beth Williamson fangirl. She is one of the best western historical authors out there today. Her new book, The Education of Madeline, is being released from Brava on February 24. Beth has kindly consented to give away an autographed copy here on Let's Gab. Keep reading for your chance...

Plum Creek, Colorado 1872
Madeline Brewster practically owns Plum City, Colorado. But at thirty-two, she knows she has missed any chance for happiness. Until she finds a tall, strong, handsome Irishman on the wrong end of the hangman's noose. Suddenly this unconventional woman comes up with an outrageous idea...

Teague O'Neal has rugged cheekbones, tousled black curls, and eyes as blue as the sky, even if he is caked in Colorado mud. The men insist they caught him horse-thieving, and there's something desperate about him that says he'd do anything for a buck.

Maybe it was pure chance, or maybe it was something more that brought Madeline and Teague together. But one thing's clear, between a woman who has just about everything she could ever want, and a man who's lost that and more, they might find something in between worth living for.

I have long been a fan of Williamson. She combines tough talking, but sensitive men with strong women; women who are able to survive the tough times in which they live. Madeline and Teague are no exceptions.

Madeline is a rich woman, having inherited the town's bank (and pretty much the entire town) from her father. She is determined to treat folks with respect, yet believes the townsfolk can't see past her father's poor treatment of them. She spots Teague as he is about to be hanged for stealing a horse. She rescues him, takes him home, and propositions him because he is a big man, and she believes he can handle a big woman such as herself. Seems she doesn't want to get too old and die without knowing the physical side of love.

Teague is a worn out Union soldier, running from his memories. He accepts Maddie's proposition, and together they embark on a series of erotic "lessons." Although they progressed rather quickly, I liked that they began with kissing in lesson 1, etc before they actually got to intercourse in a much later lesson. Each lesson was not viewed as a means to an end, but a start to finish piece of lovemaking all on its own. Awesome.

Each has personal baggage to overcome, and there is a subplot of several higher-ups in the town attempting to strip Madeline of her power. As wonderful as the sex scenes are (and they are!), I really enjoyed the scenes where Maddie and Teague open up to one another about their pasts. They recognize fairly early on how important they are to one another, and about the last third of the book is spent trying to clear Maddie's name.

Also terrific are the two main secondary characters, Eppie, Madeline's mulatto best friend and housekeeper, and Micah, a Rebel soldier. Eppie has a fantastic mouth on her, and a wonderful sense of humor, and her outrage in certain situations is almost comical. Micah has his own demons to slay, and lives alone as a hermit up in the mountains. The scene where Teague (the Yank) and Micah (the Reb) meet was really well done. The shared experience between them was palpable, and required no words. And the physical reaction that Teague had to the meeting was very well written.

So, yes, a great deal of this book revolves around sex, but there is so much more to it. Gender roles, abuse of power, even a little PTSD - all addressed here. It releases on Feb 24 from Brava. Order it here. But you can have an early copy of it right now!

The second book in the series, The Redemption of Micah, releases June 30, '09. Interestingly, while I love the cover for Micah, and can totally picture Nathan here as Micah, the cover image of Teague isn't how I picture him at all. He seems too young; not tough enough for his character. Maybe it's just that the hat looks a little... girly? Not Teague at all. Go figure.

So here's your question for the day. Does it bother you when a cover doesn't match your image of the hero/heroine? Whether there's a physical description given in the text or not... Or do you not pay attention at all to the cover?

Leave us a comment, and we'll randomly pick a winner for an advance copy of The Education of Madeline on next Friday, Feb 6.

Beth's current series at Samhain is smokin'. Devils on Horseback: Jake was fabulous, and it released in print on Monday! What are you waiting for? Read my review of her current e-release, Devils on Horseback: Zeke.

20 People Gabbed:

Judy said...

I am a cover person. I love a good looking cover. It doesn't bother me if there is a minor difference with the cover and contents. I can look at a cover ( of a person I have never read) and tell you if I am going to enjoy the book ( I find that weird:),but I do that often.

lrwirum said...

For me the cover can mean whether or not I will even check a book out. I don't mind if there are slight differences between the character and the cover but major ones can be very distracting.

By the way I love the covers for these books. :-)


Blanche said...

Hi Lori.....Hi Beth!!

I'm also a big time Beth Williamson love love everything by Beth!! I love covers and I've always been so impressed with how Beth's covers absolutely fit with the story they are with!!! Covers really are the first impression for me but I've learned that I really should check a book out no matter how good or how bad a cover is!!

Congrats on the print release of Jake and I can't wait for all the wonderful books you have coming out in the next few months (especially the print for Hell For Leather!!)

Please don't enter me for The Education of Madeline....I'm lucky to have it already!! :)

Kara said...

I am definitely a cover person...and I don't like it when the cover deviates from the book. I don't mind minor things, but if it has a cowboy on the front - I except the book to be about a cowboy - LOL.

Those are fantastic covers for Beth's books.

Anonymous said...

Enter me please! I'd love to win :)

Bray said...

This sounds like a great story.

Beth Williamson said...

Hey y'all! I was working all day and just got home.
I adore the cover for Micah's book - very sexy. The one feature of Madeline's book that completely hooked me are his eyes. They are absolutely intense. *sigh*
Thanks to Lori for blogging about Madeline. *smooch*
Thanks for the kind words about the story and the cover - Blanche, you are such a doll. :)

Lea said...

Hi Lori and Beth:

Wonderful review, and the plot and characters in this story sound really quite unique!

I actually purchased book 1 in Beth's "Devil's On Horseback", series today through some heavy pimping on Blanche's part. :)

As to your question. No it doesn't really bother me when the picture of a hero or heroine on the front cover of a book are not a concise depiction. The cover art is what will attract me to a book when the author is an unknown to me so I feel it's okay.

I will scratch my head sometimes when I'm finished a book trying to figure out who though this guy or gal looked like the h/h but oh well.

Nice blog.

All the best

Lori said...

Hi all, thanks for stopping by. Here's my take. While a cover doesn't necessarily make me buy a book, a bad cover will very likely make me NOT buy one, LOL. I've been turned off many an e-book by a horrific cover.

Having said that, if I hadn't already read TEoM before (this version is re-edited for re-release), I wouldn't have had any preconceived notion of Teague in my head and it likely wouldn't have been an issue for me. But I did, as well as having a previous cover to view (which much more matches my vision of him - rugged, older, more world-weary), and so this cover, which is very nice IMO, kind of threw me for a loop.

All of you who have commented on how great Beth's covers are, are right. Her Samhain covers have been positively gorgeous! The Malloy series and the DoH series are all just beautiful. And Micah - well, who doesn't just love Nathan? LOL!

And the best part is the books back up those beautiful covers - great stories!

Sabrina D. said...

As long as the story is good I don't worry about the cover---although I will mentally vent when the characters are blond and redhead and the cover is a brunettes...doesn't really affect my enjoyment though!

Cathy said...

It does bug me when the cover doesn't match the character. If the hero has long dark hair, I don't want to see short and blond. It doesn't ruin the story, but it does disappoint when something so obvious gets overlooked.

The one plus to reading ebooks, is that I barely even notice covers, and can just concentrate on the story.

Beth Williamson said...

I have definitely been blessed by the cover gods with most of my books. Really, I count myself to be uber lucky!
Lea ~ Hope you enjoy Nate! He's my dapper, well-spoken devil. :)

Linda said...

Yes I'm bothered when the cover doesn't accurately reflect the characters. However, I've also realized the author can't do a thing about it. Which is a shame, really. I just read a review at B&N wherein the author was blamed for the inaccurate cover.

At least the guy on the cover of Madeline's book looks Irish. *grin*

And I agree with Cathy, one of the advantages of ebooks is the ability to ignore the cover.

Looking forward to reading another Beth Williamson story. I've enjoyed all her other books.

Amy S. said...

It really doesn't annoy me if the cover and the description of the characters doesn't match. I usually try to picture the character's based on the author's description rather than by the cover.

May said...

Good cover can help me decide to buy a book but it doesn't mean that I'd not buy bad cover one. If the author is someone I am following, the cover can do nothing.

BTW, I love Beth Williamson's books and am very glad to see her books from Brava. As much as I loved e-books (a lot of great authors there) but I think I am still an old fashion who prefer my books in print.

Kristie (J) said...

Ooooohhh - a Western! I love Westerns. I've always wanted to try Beth Williamson but alas I'm not an ebook reader so I'm delighted she's coming out in print!

As for the question - yes I'm a cover person. I've been known to buy a book based on the cover on more then one occasion. But surprisingly enough it doesn't bother me too much if the cover doesn't match the description - mainly 'cause I know the author doesn't really have that much say about the cover chosen.

Nikki said...

Yes, I am bothered if the cover doesn't match the description of the main characters. I find it happening more often with series books, which is kind of ridiculous when the descriptions are usually given in the first 20 pages.

Dev said...

I'm such a cover troll, it's not even funny. A lot of times I'll buy a book just based on the cover alone which is wrong on so many levels, I know.

I guess it doesn't really bother me if the covers don't match my image of what the characters should look like. After all, I only see the cover for a very short while anyway.

booklover1335 said...

I am a cover person too. I look at the cover and if it is intriguing I will give an author that I have not previously read a 2nd glance. I usually look at the covers before reading the back. So the cover is very important to me...
That being said once I get into the book (and the characters are described), and the cover models do not remotely resemble what they are supposed to look like REALLY bugs me!!!

nath said...

I'm not a fan of western historicals, but you make this sounds so good!! I'm in!! :D