Always Jess

Linda Sealy Knowles

Publisher: iUniverse Pages: 281 Price: (paperback) $20.99 ISBN: 9781532037580 Reviewed: April, 2018 Author Website: Visit »

A charming and engaging western romance, Always Jess is the story of Jess Maxwell and his family and friends in Limason, Texas.

Having completed his schooling, Jess is returning home to the family ranch after taking some time to see the country. Working jobs as a wrangler, farmhand, and even a store clerk, he supported himself during his travels. But his trip ended badly when in an encounter with the Beeker brothers, one of them was left dead by his own knife during a scuffle with Jess. Driven by revenge, the two remaining brothers are determined to kill Jess and will terrorize anyone who gets in their way, including Jess’ childhood friend and now love interest, Mary Beth.

Set in a well-realized backdrop of the quintessential western town and punctuated by genuine, authentic dialogue, Always Jess lulls readers into a sense of security as Jess’s family and friends are introduced and the plot remains fairly light. While Jess and Mary Beth’s tentative romance may be the focus of the story arc, the well-rounded cast of characters each have their own side stories, and it’s the people of Limason, such as Jess’s parents Jesse and Rae and ranch hands and friends Hank and Jeremiah, that make this story truly rich and enjoyable.

The plot takes a dark turn when the Beeker brothers finally appear in the town and surrounding areas, and violence and tension add another layer to the story. After Mary Beth is attacked, it becomes Jess’ mission to eliminate them for good, so that Mary Beth can finally have some peace. But, his quest is not without surprises.

While the storyline and characters are absorbing, one technical issue proves distracting: the author’s inconsistent and overuse of commas. A thorough copyedit would be advisable, but this shouldn’t impact overall reader enjoyment.

Part western adventure, part chaste romance, and part uplifting tale of family ties, friendships, and love, Always Jess will appeal to fans of happy-ending romance.

Also available as an ebook.

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