Reviewed by Vennessa Ng
Taming Rafe by Susan May Warren
"The settings were so realistic that I couldn't help but feel as if I really was on a ranch in Montana or amongst the crowd at a bullfight..."
Children lay dying. Cancer ravaged their small, fragile bodies as oppressive heat bared down, bringing with it flies and the smell of death.
The ingrained memory motivates Katherine Breckenridge. As the head of her late mother’s beloved foundation, Katherine required every ounce of glamour, sophistication, and magic she possessed to raise funds to help ease the children’s suffering at the Guadalajara clinic. With the Breckenridge Foundation on the verge of bankruptcy, Katherine desperately needed her latest fund raising dinner to be a success.
Moments before the event started, it all crashed down around her—literally.
With the dinner in ruins and her grandfather’s hotel damaged, Katherine does the only thing she can think of—seek help from the man responsible.
Six months running from himself was getting Rafe Noble nowhere. Women, cars, bulls, alcohol—they all failed to block the memories which haunted him. Now his future lay in shatters. His sponsors have dropped him, his manager and the Breckenridge hotel are suing him, and his injuries put his bull-riding career in jeopardy.
Things couldn’t get any worse—until Katherine Breckenridge arrived looking for compensation. Rafe had conquered the toughest bulls in the rodeo arena, but nothing could prepare him for the raw determination Katherine held.
I’m not a huge fan of the romance genre, but when it comes to a Susan May Warren novel, I simply can’t resist. Susan’s talent at bringing characters alive draws me in every time.
Taming Rafe, book two of the Noble Legacy series, takes readers back to Montana and the Noble’s Silver Buckle Ranch to introduce the family rebel, Rafe. Readers will also feel as if they are coming home along with Rafe as familiar characters from book one, Reclaiming Nick, reappear to enrich the plotlines.
Creating a multifaceted story to keep readers intrigued can be tricky. In Taming Rafe, Susan adds several subplots which add a secondary love storyline, a hidden secret, and suspenseful intrigue. Susan balances the subplots well, although there were a few minor elements I felt could have been handled differently to strengthen the plotlines. Lolly’s motivation in keeping her real identity a secret from Katherine seemed weak and unnecessary, while the suspenseful subplot involving embezzlement could have been built up earlier for better balance.
One of the highlights in Taming Rafe was the story within the story. Susan incorporated John’s novel well by having the other characters pick up his book to read. The settings were so realistic that I couldn’t help but feel as if I really was on a ranch in Montana or amongst the crowd at a bullfight as I read this book. Susan pulled me into each scene via my senses, and the use of the correct terminology for the bullfighting scenes really made it come alive.
Next on the Noble agenda is book three, Finding Stephanie. Having meet Stephanie via the first two books, I am looking forward to finally reading her own story. If you haven’t already met the Noble family, I suggest you hurry along to your favorite bookstore and get acquainted.
Vennessa Ng lives in New Zealand with her husband and three children. As an avid reader with a passion for Christian worldview fiction, she works to help authors improve their craft through her freelance editing service, Aotearoa Editorial Services (www.aotearoaeditorial.com), and helps publicize books and authors via her review site, Illuminating Fiction (www.illuminatingfiction.com). She has also reviewed for Focus On Fiction, Infuze Magazine, Novel Reviews, 1340 Magazine, and now TitleTrakk. In her spare time she pursues her own passion for writing and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.