Lowell's first hardcover romance--as well as Avon's--is a solid if unexceptional effort by a prolific writer in the genre....

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WINTER FIRE

Lowell's first hardcover romance--as well as Avon's--is a solid if unexceptional effort by a prolific writer in the genre. Sarah Kennedy's parents die in a flood, and, at 14, Sarah takes her younger brother Conner and answers the ad of a man looking for a wife in Utah Territory. New husband, Hal, however, is coarse and abusive, and when he's killed, Sarah doesn't mourn him. She stays on at Lost River Canyon ranch with former prostitute Lola and the outlaw Indian, Ute, whose life she saved (she also rescues hawks and eagles). They search among the red canyons for the hoard of Spanish silver Sarah's no-good husband found before he died, when onto the scene comes battle-weary and soul-sore Case Maxwell (from Lowell's paperback Autumn Fire). Poor Case hasn't laughed or loved, or wanted to, since Ab Culpepper savaged and killed his niece and nephew after the Civil War. Now he's vowed to kill the Culpeppers, all of whom have moved to Utah and settled in as Sarah's neighbors. When Case is badly wounded in a shootout with the them, Sarah nurses him back to health (naturally, he has a wonderful body), and so he stays on at the ranch because he wants to protect her--and because, for some reason, he just can't make himself leave. It's the call of the land, he thinks, or maybe just his dumb old ""handle"" leading him around. After lots of sexual tension and cloaked vulnerability, Case shows Sarah that sex can be swell. Genre romance is like Olympic figure skating: The music and costumes change, but there are always the same double lutzes and triple salchows. Lowell (who as A.E. Maxwell also writes mysteries with husband Evan) performs creditably, but rings no changes on the genre. Formula work, well done.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1996

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Avon

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1996