Rosa Ramirez can’t wait for the day when circumstances will change. She hates working at the cantina but with her parents and siblings just one step away from a life of intense poverty she sally forths despite the dangers she encounters on a daily basis. Then one day news comes. Her grandfather, who she has never known, has invited the Ramirez family to live with him at his expansive ranch. The catch? The ranch is located in bandit territory and if Rosa aims to keep the ranch she is going to have to fight off outlaws. Enter Lafayette Riordan.
Faye’s mother had grander plans for her boy. He was to become a famous artist and live out the life of ease as he was accustomed to – not go traipsing out West to get himself killed. And to be honest Faye is more cut out for the canvas and sketchbook. But unsatisfied with his life, Faye pulls up stakes and becomes a marshal in bandit territory. As he battles outlaws he is thrown together with temperamental Rosa. Will she ever stop butting heads with him over her sure-of-herself way so they can overcome their common enemy?
I’ve been hearing a lot about Gilbert Morris’ new series Western Justice and not all of it good, which is surprising considering the caliber of his other stories. At the time I thought it might be a matter of taste that was the reason for the poor ratings. I soon found it to be otherwise. The very first page of Rosa’s Land made me want to cry. Why? The reader is immediately confronted with a barrage of information and description; it isn’t spread evenly through the story – it’s all lumped together! The writing style is very amateurish and I have wondered if perhaps this series is an earlier work of Mr. Morris’. The dialogue was cringe-worthy. For example, Faye is a 20-year-old man yet he behaves like a toddler or young child. “Well I wish I could be an artist and a tough man.” Yikes! And after that he throws something akin to a temper tantrum. Rosa’s speaking abilities are about the same. In fact “tough men” is a word combination often encountered in the book. Then there’s the repetition. It’s just not repetition here and there – the characters and narrative repeat and repeat and repeat (can you tell?!). And you would think the reader was a numbskull given the explanations encountered for trivial facts (I won’t even get into the historical inaccuracies). I am still puzzling over some mindless characters and thoughts that came into the story. They didn’t impact the book in any way. I am fairly sure that is a proper assessment although I quit after 120 pages into the book. If one were to clean up some crude references and tweak the characters a bit this might have been a good story for older children.
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