cover image The Outlaw’s Daughter

The Outlaw’s Daughter

Margaret Brownley. Sourcebooks Casablanca, $7.99 mass market (p384) ISBN 978-1-4926-5840-5

Brownley fleshes out well-worn tropes with rich character development in the sweet, if familiar, third cowboy romance in her Haywire Brides series (after The Cowboy Meets His Match). Ellie-May Blackwell’s outlaw father was hanged when she was still a girl, blackening her reputation in 1880s Haywire, Tex. But when her husband, Neal, dies a hero while saving children from a burning building, she earns a measure of respect from the town and manages to eke out a living for herself and her two young children on their farm. When Texas Ranger Matt Taggert begins asking questions about Neal’s involvement in an unsolved stagecoach robbery before his death, Ellie-May is insulted and reluctant to cooperate. But Matt is determined to find answers, particularly as a quick resolution will allow him to resume his hunt for his criminal brother, whose notoriety is growing alongside his list of crimes. Brownley steers clear of convenient coincidences in driving the couple together, instead leaning on a well-drawn supporting cast, among them Ellie-May’s children and a teenage aspiring lawman unfortunately named Jesse James, to push them toward each other. Though the plot is familiar, Brownley’s solid execution makes this a pleasant diversion. Agent: Natasha Kern, Natasha Kern Literary. (May)