A WANTED WOMAN by Rebecca Wade
Avon, November 2000
Years before, Wren Bradley had thrown her love at handsome Pinkerton Agent Cord Caldwell and he’d thrown it back. Now she has bigger dreams--she’s going to join the theater and leave the hum-drum life of a 19th century Dallas society girl. On her way back from an evening rehearsal, she is taken hostage by Sackett, a train robber being tracked by Cord. Sackett escapes and Cord insists on returning Wren to her father--a double disaster as Wren had sneaked out to the theater and Cord was suspended from his job.
Wren has had enough. She tells her father that she is leaving home and plans to join the theater in Austin, Texas. Her father assigns Cord to guard her and requests that he keep her away from the audition. Cord had barely noticed a sixteen year old Wren, but at twenty-one, she is a lot harder to miss. He agrees to guard her and she ends up talking him into helping her learn to shoot and defend herself. Defending herself from Cord is hard enough, but Cord is virtually defenseless from this beautiful woman. Wren decides that turnaround is fair play. She will help Cord capture Sackett and the two plunge off into a chase.
Cord is the classic damaged hero. Seeing the pain his parents had inflicted on one another in the name of love, he’s decided never to love himself. Wren needs independence and will have to give up her life’s dream if she remains with Cord. Rebecca Wade has taken these basic elements and created an exciting and amusing historical romance.
Wren’s character, in particular, is fully developed. Wren’s use of terrible jokes to start conversations is an endearing character trait. Wade has provided her just enough motivation to be believable without being heavy-handed. After finishing A WANTED WOMAN, it is hard to believe that Wren is not a real person. Cord is not quite so fully developed but fully believable. A WANTED WOMAN shows Wade’s maturing as an author (see our review Wade’s AN UNLIKELY OUTLAW). It's easy to see why A WANTED WOMAN made Amazon.com's top ten sleepers list for 2000.
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