Reviewed by: BigAl
Genre: Western Romance
Approximate word count: 35-40,000 words
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Authors contributing to this anthology are: Alison Bruce, Celia Yeary, Simone Beaudelaire, Caroline Clemmons, Charlene Raddon, Rain Trueax, Chad Strong, Margaret Tanner, Susan Horsnell, Carol A. Spradling, Paty Jager, Lyn Horner, Peggy L. Henderson, Jacquie Rogers, and Cheri Kay Clifton.
Fifteen short stories, all Western Romance, some set in the old west and some in more contemporary times.
Anthologies like this seem to be a win for everyone. Fans of the genre (technically I guess Western Romance is a subgenre) can pick up the book for the stories from their favorites contributors and, in the process of reading, discover other authors whose stories strike a chord. It’s a win for authors for the same reason. It’s a marketing technique that exposes them to new readers with a minimal investment, mostly in time. (Depending on the financial arrangements, it might even turn a profit.)
If you’re a Western Romance reader, I think you’ll find more than your money’s worth here. While I thought some stories were better than others, none were bad. Chances are you’ll feel the same, even if your choices of which stories are best turn out different than mine. You should be able to find authors whose writing style, characterization, and story lines are to your taste.
The only concern I have with this collection is a weakness inherent in what is being attempted. A short story has to be limited in scope, for obvious reasons, yet a romance requires a story arc that goes from the hero and heroine meeting to an apparent happily-ever-after ending. That’s hard to do in an average of two or three thousand words and in some of the stories that relationship arc felt like it culminated way too fast. However, as a collection of quick reads and a low risk way for readers to try new authors, Rawhide ‘n Roses still fits the bill.
No significant issues.
Rating: **** Four Stars