Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
The year is 1860. Robby Riverton is a rising star on the New York stage. But he witnesses a murder by a famous crime boss and is forced to go on the run–all the way to Santa Fe. When he still hasn’t ditched his pursuers, he disguises himself as a mail order bride he meets on the wagon train. Caught between gangsters that want to kill him, and the crazy, uncouth family of his “intended”, Robby’s only ally is a lazy sheriff who sees exactly who Robby is — and can’t resist him.
Trace Crabtree took the job as sheriff of Flat Bottom because there was never a thing going on. And then Robby Riverton showed up. Disguised as a woman. And betrothed to Trace’s brother. If that wasn’t complication enough, Trace had to find the man as appealing as blueberry pie. He urges Robby to stay undercover until the danger has passed. But a few weeks of having Robby-Rowena at the ranch, and the Crabtree family will never be the same again.
Damn, what a kerfuffle. If only Trace can get rid of the fugitive while hanging on to his own stupid heart.
Do you know how there can be a disconnect between a blurb and the actual story at times? Well for Eli Easton’s Robby Riverton: Mail Order Bride, there was one not only between the synopsis but also between the cover as well. Both ended up veering far off from the charm and drama that is this m/m historic romance.
From that first line, you might think you are getting a high farce, a comedy, but its hardly that. Robby Riverston is a serious actor who has finally getting the roles he’s wanted after paying his dues on the stage in New York for years. He’s worked hard and he’s a gifted actor about to get his break until he ends up at the wrong place at the wrong time and sees one of the city’s most notorious criminals murder someone. Unfortunately for Robby, they see him too.
A ticket out of town is his only option and one thing after another leads him to Flat Bottom. At one point he assumes the “role” of a woman who was supposed to be a mail order bride but reneged along the way. As any good actor does, Robby treats “Rowena” as just that, a role he is playing. From the makeup he wears, to his dress and mannerisms, he becomes this character and a part of the Crabtree family, a situation he feels guilty about because he comes to care about these people. So yes, no high farce to be found here. Instead, simply a desperate man trying to elude killers and a family like no others adjusting to a Easterner in their midst.
Eli Easton does bring up another element when Trace Crabtree, the oldest son and Sheriff, figures out Robby’s secret. How the dynamics work between these men is an aspect to this story that also surprised and delighted me. Trace has his own issues to work through, about his past, his place within the town, and his feelings about Robby. All while trying to keep him alive as well as his family when the killers come calling.
I loved the characterizations and the town. All the Crabtrees absolutely grew on me, even the father. Easton pulls it all together in a thrilling suspenseful ending and a happy epilogue that will leave you smiling.
I highly recommend Robby Riverton: Mail Order Bride by Eli Easton to all lovers of romance, even if you arent a complete fan of historic fiction, I think you will love this one too.
Cover art, while cute, is so far off the mark. Robby would never look like that. “Rowena” was always impeccably dressed with her makeup on at all times. That cover gives a completely false impression of the story. Fail.
Sales Links: Amazon
Published April 26th 2018 by Pinkerton Road (first published April 24th 2018)
Original TitleRobby Riverton: Mail Order Bride
Edition LanguageEnglishsettingNew Mexico (United States)