RETRO REVIEW: Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold by Ellen O’Connell

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Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold is a story of family conflicts set in Colorado in 1885. Anne Wells has embarrassed her rigidly proper family since she was a child with occasional but grievous lapses from ladylike behavior. They blame those lapses for the disgraceful fact that she is a spinster at 28. Cord Bennett, the son of his father’s second marriage to a Cheyenne woman, is more than an embarrassment to his well-to-do family of ranchers and lawyers – they are ashamed and afraid of their black sheep. When Anne and Cord are found alone together, her father’s fury leads to violence. Cord’s family is more than willing to believe that the fault is his. Can Anne and Cord use the freedom of being condemned for sins they didn’t commit to make a life together? Or will their disapproving, interfering families tear them apart?

Publisher and Release Date: CreateSpace, April 2010

RHR Classifications:
Time and Setting: Colorado 1885
Genre: Historical Western Romance
Heat Level: 2
Reviewer Rating: 4.5 stars

Review by Jill

Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold is not just a romance, but a love story, beautifully told

At twenty-eight, Anne Wells should be too old to be running away from home. But her wealthy, controlling and abusive father wants her married, even if it is to a man as old and as mean as he is. After leaving home and sheltering from a storm in a barn overnight, Anne wakes up the next morning to a familiar pair of unusual, gold eyes watching her.

The long silence threatened to become awkward, so she ventured, “Good morning.”

“Mornin’.” His voice was deep, soft and as expressionless as his face.

“I suppose you wonder what I’m doing here in your barn?”

Set in Colorado 1885, this novel is is Ellen O’Connell’s début. Cord Bennett, a ‘half-breed’ with a white father and a Cheyenne mother, has been shunned and misunderstood by family and locals alike. The only person who has ever shown him any real kindness has been Anne, having known each other since they were both ten.

This is my fourth read of this book since it was published in 2010, and my appreciation for this story has grown with each reading. I’m a huge fan of westerns and have read all the greats of the genre including Jodi Thomas, Lorraine Heath, Maggie Osborne, Penelope Williamson, Jo Goodman, et al. There is no doubt that Ellen O’Connell can be named among the greats of historical western romances.

There is a surprising depth to this story. Though the romance is the focus, Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold also deals with the details of life in Colorado in the 1880s, particularly Cord’s business of raising horses, a marriage of convenience, family drama and racial prejudice.

Having read and loved all Ms O’Connell’s books, one of the things that she does so well is write memorable couples. Often for me it’s only the hero who makes an impact, but she’s one of very few authors who writes heroines who are equal to their heroes. Protective, sexy Cord is the very embodiment of the strong, silent type. Anne is his equal, and as strong and as resilient and likable as Cord. They’re a meant-to-be couple!

From the dialogue to the growing romance, the sex scenes, life on the ranch, this story is believable. If you’re a fan of historical western romances or would like to read one, you won’t find better than Ellen O’Connell and Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold is highly recommended.

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