Courting Miss Emma
by Linda Broday
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Send NetGalley books directly to your Kindle or Kindle app
To read on a Kindle or Kindle app, please add email@example.com as an approved email address to receive files in your Amazon account. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
Also find your Kindle email address within your Amazon account, and enter it here.
Pub Date 07 Nov 2023 | Archive Date 15 Nov 2023
“One day I intend to court you, lady. That’s a promise. Hangman’s daughter or not.”
Texas, 1868. Emma Taggart has finally found a place to belong – setting up Heaven’s Door orphanage with her sister Maura was a new beginning for her – and one she will do anything to protect.
When guarded ex-army man Stone Landry buys the neighbouring land and moves in – camels and all – Emma’s world changes forever. He is an infuriating man who instantly gets under her skin – in ways she never dreamed possible, and despite herself, Emma starts to wonder if, just maybe, he is man enough to take on a Hangman’s daughter . . . But their newfound connection is quickly tested by violent night raids, kidnappings, and underhand tricks by powerful rancher Zeke Parker, who is intent on running them out of town and taking the land he deems to be his. Can Emma find enough courage to trust in Stone and help him give her the life she’s always dreamed of?
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 30 members
Loved It! Suspenseful and Gripping right from the start. Not your typical Western but Linda Broday has her own unique writing style were she weaves this trip to the old West with guns blazing on this rollercoaster ride that brims with tension building twist and turns that swirls down into a vortex of terror, murder and a depraved, malicious enemy and his hired guns that terrorizes their victims. Courting Miss Emma is a heartstopping, edge of your seat story filled with characters that come off the pages and pulls you into their tale that you imagine yourself as one of the characters or just part of their journey, family love and unity, with a superb plot.The scenes are so strikingly detailed it paints an incredible backdrop that makes you feel like you are one with the story in this action-packed romance that will keep you on the edge of your seat as the danger escalates the suspense builds and uncertainties abound that will make you hold your breath until the end in this outstanding story!
I received a free ARC from NetGalley and this is my honest opinion
This was a great sequel in the Hangman’s Daughters series, it had everything that I wanted from the first book. The characters felt like they belonged in this time-period and the story did everything that I wanted. It had a great romance feel to it and worked well overall.
Courting Ms. Emma continues the story of the Hangman’s Daughters. Texas is 1868 is not a peaceful place. People try to land grab, shoot who they want and terrorize others with little to no conscience unless they are the ones being shot at or backed in a corner. Emma and her sister Maura have been run out of San Antonio and have taken a load of orphans with them to a deserted mission. With the help of their uncle and French nuns, they have provided a safe haven for the orphans at Heaven’s Door. This changes when one of the boys is brought back by the new owner of the land adjacent to the mission. He is very blunt that Emma needs to pay better attention to where the children are and keep them off his land. Not only is she dealing with the new neighbor, but a group of men have arrived with an eviction notice for the mission and all the land surrounding it. The fight is on to save their homes and ultimately their lives.
Linda Broday has a way of describing a scene that makes you feel a part of it. The long ride from the mission to San Antonio comes with beautiful rustic scenery and all the jars and bumps in the road, Broday describes it all. She smoothly brings in new characters that hopefully play a bigger part in the next sequel of the Hangman’s Daughters. Emma has a flash back of her father and the only time she witnesses him showing emotion. I hope that Broday will add more of him in upcoming sequels. I’m always left with wondering why, where did he go and when will he appear again. Linda Broday has provided another great story that transports the reader out of this crazy world into a different time and place even if that place has its own crazy. Thank you NetGalley, Severn House and Linda Broday for ARC in exchange for my honest review.
Linda Broday's Courting Emma (Severn House 2023), Book 2 in the Hangman's Daughters, is the sequel to Winning Maura's Heart. Though it is a stand alone, reading Book 1 gives you nice family background that will add to the enjoyment of this book. Emma and Maura are the daughters of a notorious Hangman which makes them unsavory for good folk to associate with. They are thrown out of town, but take with them a cartload of children orphaned when their parents die of cholera, and raise them--as well as other children who have nowhere else to go--in an orphanage they run in an abandoned mission. They struggle to survive, aided by a secret stash of money found buried in the mission, probably left by outlaws who for whatever reason didn't return for it. This allows them to buy food and clothing that would otherwise be impossible on the small income made from sales of their gardens. A reclusive war hero, running from his past, seeking refuge and peace, buys the property next door to use as a ranch, not realizing he is now neighbors to a orphanage filled with curious children and a beautiful woman he can't help but fall in love with. It isn't long before the land that looks like a refuge for both of them is wanted by others for unknown reasons and these people will stop at nothing to take take it. Together, Emma and her new neighbor, fight for justice for themselves, but mostly for the children.
As a side note: I thoroughly enjoyed this book and the prequel. Since there are three sisters, I’m hoping Linda Broday writes one more book discussing the final Hangman's daughter.
I truly believe, certain books come into our lives, at the precise time we need their messages.
I have been reading Linda Broday for over 10 years. Every book, is very unique, well written, and the message delivered, always pulls at my heart.
Courting Miss Emma is no exception.
When evil comes calling to the Heaven’s Door orphanage, Emma, three Nun’s (Angie, Bernie, Anne-Marie), along with Emma’s sister Maura, knows that protecting these precious orphaned children will take all their might and power.
Stone Landry the new neighbor is not the friendliest person at first acquaintance, he is set in his ways and does not care for the children sneaking onto his land to see his pet camels in his barn.
Emma and Stone butt heads, however sparks fly, and neither can stop thinking of the other.
When the danger comes to Stone’s land, just as it has the orphanage, both Stone and Emma know they must forge a union to protect what they have and love.
One of my favorite passages in the book:
‘Emma, you’re so beautiful and I’ve wanted to do that ever since I rode up to return the boy. I couldn’t take my eyes off you. You looked like an angel standing there full of fury in the sun’s golden rays.’
‘You’re the first man to ever kiss me. The first to hold me like I’m a piece of fragile China,’ she whispered, drowning in his whiskey-colored eyes.
Life was fleeting at best and a woman had to grab every moment. Emma wanted no regrets when her time came. This was possibly her last chance. She put her arms around his waist and pressed her body closer, fitting her curves into his shape.
Linda Broday is exceptional in developing characters who are outstanding, warm and will stay in her reader’s hearts for eternity.
Courting Miss Emma is the second book in The Hangman’s Series by author, Linda Broday. Emma works tirelessly at caring for precious orphans along with the help of three French nuns and uncle Max, who live at Heaven’s Door, an old mission turned into an orphanage. The Taggart sisters were rejected, tormented, and kicked out of San Antonio by the towns people because their father, Lucius Taggart, was a hangman. Maura and Emma agreed to care for the orphans left destitute due to the 1876 yellow fever epidemic in Texas. The children named the orphanage Heaven’s Door remembering their loved one’s who perished.
Emma’s story is powerful. She longs to find love like Maura did. But how can she begin to imagine a man wanting her. Not until Stone Landry rides up on his beautiful roan stallion to complain about an orphan boy trespassing on his property right next door to observe the camels. Emma will stand her ground defending and protecting the orphans at all cost. Stone is drawn to Emma in spite of her stern and confrontational attitude. However, the tension builds and they are embattled in a terrible confrontation from Zeke Parker, who wants to take over the land for future wealth.
Every single character in this book is personalized and described. The love story unfolds as Stone’s heart softens towards the orphans, who trespass to see his camels. Trust is earned. The way Linda Broday intertwined Maura’s story with Emma’s was clear and concise. Stone has his secrets too. Heartache, pain, abuse, and rejection are part of his past. It is unreal and very creative how the author weaves the story together.
I could hardly wait to finish the book because it was captivating. What an amazing story. I fell in love with every character in the story, be it the dog, camels, the surprise sister, Calista, or Jake the new person in need of a place to stay, or Jubal, who came to fight bringing a canon to wage war against the evil Zeke Parker to help his buddy Stone save the orphanage and his farm. Not to mention, Maura and her husband Calhoun are welcoming the birth of a son! The way they all fought to keep what was rightfully theirs was riveting. And to think Lucius Taggart had a heart of concern for his daughters to actually help solve the tumultuous situation.
Honestly, how Linda Broday keeps all the sweet orphans straight and their personalities written with such love and tenderness is beyond me. I love each one of those kids! They are real in my mind. Uncle Max defends and protects his family triumphantly and without hesitation! The unfolding romance is beautiful - not sizzling or lustful - but loving and full of tenderness.
Reading this book was intense. Just what I like a book to be! So funny at times I laughed myself silly! Action packed. Romance and new found love beautifully told. This is an awesome story. Thank you Linda for another story to devour and cherish! You are an amazing author. One of my favorites for sure.
I would highly recommend Maura’s story if you haven’t read it yet. Such an awesome series.
Courting Miss Emma is the second book in the "Hangman's Daughters" series by Linda Broday. We follow Emma Taggart as she navigates running an orphanage in 1868 Texas. When a Stone Landry, a handsome bachelor with a gruff demeanor, moves in next door, she wonders if it's okay for an outcast like her to get her hopes up and whether she won't have to live out the rest of her life as a spinster. However, they get off to a rocky start and struggle to understand each other. While they navigate their feelings, they will have to face rancher Zeke Parker, who is claiming the land on which the orphanage stands as his own and isn't afraid of using unethical and increasingly violent methods to get his way.
Though it is part of a series, I found this to read well as a stand alone as the characters that return are well introduced even for a first time reader of the series like myself. The story was fun and had many events going on that kept it interesting. I liked getting to know Emma and her world and watching her relationship with her family and the children. It was also nice to see neighbours rallying together to defend there land. As far as romance goes, the shift between "enemies" to lovers was a bit quick to my taste, with Stone becoming openly friendly without much explanation. I feel that more time could have been spent fleshing out their relationship. I also felt like the attacks from Zeke only felt real towards the latter part of the book, but when we got there it felt high stakes and was well worth it. Overall, I enjoyed the time spent reading this novel.
Themes addressed: Texas ranch life in the 1860s, orphanages, enemies to lovers
Content: Sweet romance, clean with kissing only.
Thank you to NetGalley, Severn House and Linda Broday for providing me with my first free ARC copy in exchange of an honest review.
I’ve read so many of Linda Broday books but Courting Miss Emma is such a great book . This is the second book of the Hangman’s Daughters, the story of Emma Taggart the youngest daughter.. The hangman’s daughters are considered lowest of the low by the town’s people, they even went as far as to run them out of town but not before burning their home , holding poor Emma down and cutting her beautiful hair off. They were thrown away along with 16 orphans that nobody wanted. Emma and Maury took the children to an old Spanish missionary where their uncle lived , it was there they open Heavens Door Orphanage.
Stone Landry buys his land , makes a home for him and his camels ( yes camels) next door to Heavens Door . Stone only wanted to live alone away from people after leaving the service the last ten years. He didn’t realize that next door was the most headstrong woman he’s ever met along with 16 children that were determined to sneak onto his property to see the camels. Stones and Emma’s first meeting was anything but friendly, if daggers could kill he’d be dead .
Emma Taggart has fought her entire life to survive being the hangman’s daughter. The cruelty of the towns people have followed them their entire lives , she was not going to let some arrogant ex soldier move in next door and tell her what to do. Stone Landry can keep his camels on his property and she will try to keep her 16children on their property away from that heartless, hateful man !!
When trouble comes in the form of Zeke Parker , a ruthless rich rancher who wants Stones and Emma’s land . Zeke will stop a nothing to run them off including killing them all. When the fighting starts Emma and Stone will have to do anything they can to protect the children from the evils of the men sent to kill them. The land war is started, Emma and Stone are literally fighting for their lives , but who’s protecting their hearts.
Linda Broday brings full force the characters in Courting Miss Emma, there is so much action in this book I felt my heart racing as I read it. You will fall in love with all the children in Heaven’s Door Orphanage, I literally couldn’t put the book down .
I have read and enjoyed many books by Linda Broday. That's why I requested this one from Netgalley in the first place, but I think Courting Miss Emma might be my favorite.
I didn't realize it beforehand, but this is book 2 in a series. It can definitely be read as a standalone, but I do plan to go back and read book 1.
This is a western set in my home state of Texas in 1868, at an abandoned mission west of San Antonio. Emma Taggart was a strong and loving spinster who ran an orphanage Heaven's Gate with a few French nuns, her recovering alcoholic uncle, and her sister (the heroine from the first book). Emma really was resilient. She was able to survive so much undeserved mistreatment without becoming bitter. I loved her!
Stone Landry was her perfect match. He was a tough, caring, and loyal recently retired soldier. Both lost their loving mothers as children. Both had fickle and hateful fathers, yet neither let their unfortunate childhood define their characters.
The story was sweet but also had a lot of action, gunfights, and suspense. If you like westerns, Linda Broday's writing, or just angry heroines due to the injustice of the world, I recommend.
Another winner by Linda Broday. I loved Emma's and Stone's story. They definitely don't get along at first. He's ridged and military. But add in orphans, camels, and a boy needing a home. And throw in some bad guys. You have it all. She is dusty and protective of her kids. He learns about live and compassion. Same Parker didn't stand a chance against them
And Lucius finally done good by them.
Can't wait to see if Calista has her own story. 5* read.
I just finished reading Courting Miss Emma by Linda Broday and it was my first time reading this author. The story of Emma Taggart, a determined woman who runs "Heaven's Door" orphanage just west of San Antonio, Texas in 1868 with her sister Maura. With the help of three France nuns, Uncle Max and a 17-year-old girl. they all care for the town's orphan children giving them to love and home that desperately need at their young ages. Although this is book 2 in a series, it can be read as a standalone. Emma, the younger Taggart sister, is known for her stubborn and cautious nature, due to her past, and is dedicated to running the orphanage and providing love to the children in her care.
When one of the little boys goes missing, she meets Stone Landry, a guarded ex-army man who is their new neighbour. Emma and Stone butt heads and sparks fly between them. When trouble comes their way again, their connection is tested by violent raids and a powerful rancher, Zeke Parker. Emma must find the courage to trust Stone to save the lives of the children she loves and others who live at the orphanage.
Stone, on the other hand, has his own issues. After just recently leaving the army, he and his three camels come to find a new home. He is not happy that next door is an orphanage because he isn't keen on starting a family and does not want the children on his property. But he will soon find his own child to help when he seeks employees to work on building a rock wall to keep the orphans out.
This suspenseful and gripping story is entertaining from the start and has great banter between the two main characters. It is action-packed, and the great side characters add to the story as they all join forces to defend their homes, adding thrilling action to the story.
I was completely captivated by the story and found the author's writing style to be wonderful. Although I didn't read the first book in the series, I didn't feel like I missed out on anything by reading this one first. However, I usually prefer to start from the beginning of a series to fully immerse myself in the genre and the characters.
The series seems to have a clear direction, which makes me eager to read the next book. I fell in love with all the characters in this story and I'm hoping they will all get their happily ever after. Overall, it was an enjoyable reading experience.
I missed the first book but this made a fine standalone cowboy romance, Set in 1868 Texas, it's the tale of Emma and Stone, two people who seem very different but who are determined to keep the orphans Emma is raising safe, Unfortunately, she's got land others want. This is a low key romance that's nicely atmospheric and the characters are good. Thanks to netgalley for the ARC. A good read for fans of the genre.
Author Linda Broday never, ever, ever disappoints. Courting Miss Emma is another example of stellar writing, strong emotions, sassy and sweet women, suspense and danger, and a large helping of historical facts you never knew. I never thought about hangman’s daughters and what their lives might be like. But Broday has opened my eyes with this fascinating, intriguing, compelling series.
Sisters Maura and Emma Taggart don’t want much: maybe just a taste of “normal” lives, family friends, peace. But what they’ve had most of their lives is being persecuted, shunned, ostracized because their father is a hangman. Their mother has died and their father is cold and unfeeling, not displaying any affection or concern for them. In the first book in the series, Winning Maura’s Heart, the sisters try to settle in a Texas town. They are driven away but set up Heaven’s Door orphanage in an old mission outside of town. Maura meets a man who loves her for who she is and she marries. Emma is happy for Maura but doesn’t see that happening for herself. She is resigned to no romance, but running the orphanage fulfills her and she would do anything to keep the children safe.
And that brings us to Courting Miss Emma, book 2 in this delightful series. Emma is happy running the orphanage; the children are everything to her and Heaven’s Door is a haven for lost souls. She doesn’t expect the great love Maura has, but then Stone Landry buys the property next to theirs. He’s infuriating - opinionated, sharp, rude – and Emma gives as good as she gets. He’s an ex-Army man who just wants to be left alone. Yet there is something about this woman who is like no other. She’s infuriating, but also strong, independent, resourceful, dedicated, determined, loyal – and beautiful. Stirs something in him he never expected. And those little flutters and twinges she feels around him? Surely they can’t mean anything. No man is ever going to want her once he learns she is a hangman’s daughter.
Stone and Emma are thrown together when someone wants to take their lands by any means possible. They must protect the children, the land, each other. Respect and admiration grow and maybe more. Maybe a lot more.
Courting Miss Emma has everything. Characters we loved from book 1 are back. As are the townspeople who still don’t want Emma and Maura around. You might think Texas would be an open, mind-your-own-business place, but it is astonishing how cruel the townsfolk can be, both physically and emotionally, to the children as well as the adults. Throw in the rancher who wants to take over the land and you have an exciting fast-paced tale full of danger, help from unexpected places, and surprising events at every turn. Broday’s meticulous research provides a picture of Texas in 1868 that is fascinating. Add in Stone’s camels (yes, camels) and Emma’s ridiculously funny quotes she imagines might be appropriate for her tombstone and you have an entertaining, sweet, suspenseful, wonderfully satisfied read. Bonus: a couple of characters and budding relationships that fan the flames of hope for more books in this series.
Thanks to the author and Severn House for providing an advance copy of Courting Miss Emma via NetGalley. I loved this book as much as I love everything this author writes. I can’t wait to see if there will be a book 3 in the series. I voluntarily leave this review; all opinions are my own.
In Courting Miss Emma by Linda Broday, Emma Taggart, who runs Heaven's Door orphanage in 1868 Texas, faces challenges when Stone Landry, a guarded ex-army man, becomes her neighbor. Their connection is tested by violent raids and a powerful rancher, Zeke Parker. Emma must find the courage to trust Stone and secure the life she dreams of.
Courting Miss Emma is the second book in the Hangman's Daughters series, focusing on Emma, the younger Taggart sister. She's dedicated to running their orphanage and is known for her stubborn and cautious nature due to her past. Stone, her neighbor, has his own issues and isn't keen on starting a family. Their first encounter is quite entertaining, with some great banter.
The side characters were all amazing. Each of them added an extra layer to the story and were incorporated greatly into the narrative. I also liked how all the characters joined forces to defend their homes, adding some thrilling action to the story. While I would've appreciated a bit more romance, it didn't ruin the experience.
Linda Broday is excellent at crafting action-packed historical western romances that grab your attention right away. Her stories and characters are consistently captivating, which is why I always look forward to her new releases. I have complete trust in her ability to deliver engaging tales.
I can never go wrong with a Linda Broday book and Courting Miss Emma is another hit with me. I especially love that Linda Broday books always include a mystery, heart thumping danger or an action packed adventure. Broday’s Historical Western Romance books are never just a love story and are set back in the Wild West era. Broday always gives the reader so much depth in her masterful writing.
Emma and her sister, Maura, have utilized an old mission that their uncle and three nuns had taken up residence at. The sisters take in a slew of orphans to give them a safe home at the mission and name the orphanage, “Heavens Door”. The group keep finding theirselves in life threatening danger as someone is trying to run them off so they can claim the land and the old mission as their own.
Emma and Maura are the daughters of a Hangman. They’ve lived their lives being ostracized, shunned and spat upon. Neither of the sisters thought they’d ever find a place in life much less marry and have children. These thoughts made taking in the orphans, as their life mission, just what the sisters needed to find their place in life as well as give them a home. A quote in the book that tells the reader how impossible it is for the sisters to find happiness is, ‘The hangman’s daughter oh so fair. But cursed she is so best beware. Suitors who dare to give her hope. Will soon be dangling from a rope.’
In book one Maura found love and with book two does Emma hold a chance of finding love too? She never would have thought it possible but does hold onto hope after Maura finds happiness.
Stone Landry, a new neighbor, shows up at the orphanage to return children that wandered onto his property. Emma and Stone clash from the get-go. Stone is less than a neighborly neighbor. Stone makes it clear that he doesn’t like children, trespassers or possibly anyone. Stone is very intrigued by Emma and her ability to match him tat for tat with spit fire words that keep up with anything he throws at her. Emma does find the new neighbor alluring even though he does ruffle her feathers.
I really got a kick out of Emma thinking of her headstone epitaphs as she encounters life circumstances.
From all the children at the orphanage, to the nuns and all the supporting characters in this addition to the Hangman’s Daughters series, hold a special place in my heart. I can’t wait to read the next book in this series. Broday introduces one very unexpected character in Courting Miss Emma that leaves me anticipating what’s to come in book three to this series.
If you like Historical Western Romance, books with a mystery or adventure, or romance books you’ll love this book, this series, and all Linda Broday books.
This is a great read and leaves me yet again not being able to choose my favorite Linda Broday book!
It’s no wonder Linda Broday is my go-to author for Historical Western Romance. She delivers an immensely entertaining read every time. Every. Single. Time. Courting Miss Emma, the second book of her The Hangman’s Daughters series continues Ms. Broday’s long list of excellent books with memorable lead characters, heart-in-your-throat action, unpredictable storylines, despicable villains, and a motley crew of support characters that include children and animals (camels in Texas!). Most importantly, there’s humor to balance all the angst and violence inherent to the subgenre. And, of course, sweet wholesome romance.
"Life was fleeting at best and a woman had to grab every moment. Emma wanted no regrets when her time came.”
Miss Emma Taggart has to be one of my favorite Linda Broday heroines ever. Not only is she intrepid, caring, capable, and resourceful, but she is also incredibly funny. Her internal musings about possible epitaphs are either poignant or downright hilarious. Morbid perhaps but admirable nevertheless considering a lot of people want her dead just for being the hangman’s daughter. I love that she saves herself from danger and defends her found family with all her might. A true heroine in every sense of the word.
Life doesn’t play fair sometimes … We have to make the best we can of what we’re dealt.”
Stone Landry is a great match for Emma. They have fantastic chemistry and have heavy daddy issues in common. Stone’s character arc is probably the most compelling in this story. From getting pissy about orphans trespassing on his property to becoming a father figure to an abused child. His reflections on being a soldier make this book a fitting read for Veteran’s Day.
"She held on to hope despite the odds.”
Another aspect of Linda Broday’s writing I love is the way it transports me to the time and place of her novels. Maybe not the exact time as she herself confessed in the author’s note but certainly in the general vicinity. Incorporating elements like the camels, the canon, the concept of land grabbing, and the presence of the Chili Queens into the story goes a long way toward effectively bringing the setting to life.
"She wanted to be someone’s whole world, not just a little piece of it.”
The introduction of a third hangman’s daughter and a tattooed stranger wandering into the orphanage ensures the continuation of this wonderful series and I am super happy about that.
This was an exciting and suspenseful book by one of my favorite authors. Ms Broday writes so much in her western stories which held my interest from first chapter and never let go. The characters were fully developed with thoughts and feelings of their own. Even though this is part of a series, it can be read as a stand alone.
Emma Taggart is a daughter of a famous hangman who was run out of a town because of her father.
She and her sisters took along children who had no parents to establish a orphanage at a old mission. They find nuns willing to help and giving them a place of safety. But there is always someone who wants the land and will take whatever measures to acquire it.
When their next door neighbor brings back a child snooping on his land, he tells the woman to keep them away. His name is Stone Landry, who is a handsome bachelor with a gruff demeanor. With a rocky start, Stone and Emma come to terms with each other. There is an attraction that blossoms and Stone finds that courting a female like Emma will take all his concentration. His love for Emma is true and hoping for a happy ever after is the key.
I appreciate Net Galley for this ARC title in which I gave an honest review.
I've loved every Linda Broday book I've read, and this is no different! I requested this book from Net Galley and couldn't wait to dive into it. It's the second book in the series but you can read it as a standalone book. I fell in love with both main characters. I knew Emma from the previous book in the series but in this book, she is much better developed. She runs an orphanage in San Antonio, Texas in the 1880's in a run down, old mission but loves the children with her whole heart. However, when she is crossed, she is a mama bear! I loved how she didn't let anyone push her around, even if it was her new neighbor, Stone Landry! The man didn't want children coming next door to see his camels - ha! He soon learns that kids are curious, and Emma is the woman for him! However, they have worse problems as there is a mean, evil man trying to get their land (along with other landowners) and he'll stop at nothing to get it! ALL the characters in this story were important! I fell in love with the teenager that Stone "adopts" and the former military friend that comes to help out with the fight. I love the French nuns that live in the orphanage to help out Emma. Emma's uncle Max is a hoot! Also, Emma's sister and her husband from the first book are back and play a pivotal role in this story. I loved everything about this book!
Linda Broday knows how to bring the wild west to life with action, romance, and humor.
Emma is a character that you will admire; at least I did. She is strong, smart, and not afraid of holding her in any situation. She may have a tough life due to her father's position, but that doesn't mean she misses out on life. She has a fulfilling job running an orphanage. Sure, she dreams of having someone to call her own, but it is hard to find a man willing to look past her father. Enter Stone Landry. He is a former military man but has issues of his own. He isn't prepared for Emma at all. She challenges him yet also entices him. He never expected to fall in love, but sometimes, love doesn't care what you want and gives you what you need.
This may be the second in the series, but you don't need to read the first to enjoy this book. I tend to read books in order that are a series, but I didn't feel like I missed out on anything while enjoying Emma's story. The story is filled with action when someone comes to try and claim the mission that houses Emma's orphanage. Even back then, there were plenty of people trying to gain the advantage for financial gain. It isn't just the mission they are trying to obtain but also the land around there, including several neighbors, Stone's land, and Emma's sister, Maura. I loved how they all banded together to fight off these thieves. Are they successful? You will have to read the book to find out.
The romance between Emma and Stone starts off slow. They have some miscommunication early on, which sets the tone, but over time, they are able to resolve their differences. I like that they challenge each other, and it isn't an easily won affection for either party. They are both stubborn but sure of themselves and what they want from life and each other.
There is unexpected humor in this book when Emma comes up with various epitaphs for her tombstone. They vary based on the situation, but each time, they gave me a chuckle. The levity offsets the seriousness of the battle for the land.
There are some new characters added to the mix, including a new sister for Emma and Maura, Calista. Calista comes to the mission with a chip on her shoulder, but I enjoyed watching her slowly lose that chip and become a part of the family. There is also a lawyer, Dan, who offers a lot of sage advice and information that helps them in the end. There is also a young man, Vinny, whom Stone saves from a life in town with an abusive father. And we can't forget Jubal, who brings a cannon to the party. Jubal is a hoot as a crusty older man who tends to hit on the ladies.
I recommend this series and really anything by this author! We give it 5 paws up.
Courting Miss Emma is a sweet romance but the storyline does not shy away from difficult situations and very dramatic moments in a time in history that challenged the most stalwart of people.
Emma is the sister who thought she would never be courted since she was not young and soft and demure like most “ladies” of the time were.
But the fact that she was not all of those things is what Stone Landry finds so attractive in her. She is feisty. Speaks her mind. And doesn’t avoid a conflict. However, he doesn’t find those qualities so attractive when they first meet. He has come to tell her that she should keep the kids who live in the orphanage from wandering onto his property, and she tells him in no uncertain terms where he can put his advice on childrearing.
He’s never had a woman stand up to him. Well, he’s not had a whole lot of experience with women, so what does he know? So he just rides back to his place more than a bit befuddled from the meeting.
Since this is a romance, the reader knows that Stone will get over his initial dislike of Emma, and she will also get past thinking he is an insufferable, bossy man. They are both introduced as characters the reader will immediately relate to and cheer for when they face the hired killers who are trying to drive them off the land.
In the times when the orphanage is being threatened, Emma stands with her Uncle Max and the other men to hold off the attacks. Emma is a very strong woman, and that’s one of the things I like best about her. She will do anything to protect the children in her care, as well as the other people in her life that she loves.
I loved the first book in this series, Winning Maura’s Heart. It has a perfect balance of western and romantic elements, that this story doesn’t. At least not for me.
Because of the type of characters that Emma and Stone are, and the difficulties that they face from the threats by the man who wants to take their land, it seemed like that would take precedence over the growing feelings they have for each other. Not that there shouldn’t be moments, but maybe not in the middle of a battle?
Despite that little problem, I did enjoy the story a lot. It was great to see the change in Stone as he adapted to civilian life and figured out how to be a good neighbor to the folks at the orphanage. And, as always, it’s always a pleasure to read a story that has a surprising, yet satisfying conclusion.
The role that the camels play in the story is quite clever, and they, as well as Stone’s Army buddy, add some comedic moments that lightens the intensity of the drama.
All of the characters from the first book in this series, Maura and Cutter, as well as Uncle Max and the French nuns; and, of course, all the children are included in this story. And they are not mentioned just to be mentioned. They all play an integral role in the resolution. What the kids do is priceless. Then there are some new characters that hint at more stories to come in the series.
Readers who like a western romance that is sweet and decent with a terrific cast of characters will enjoy this book a great deal.
Emma Taggart dedicates her life to caring for her charges at Heaven’s Door Orphanage. She loves them without reservation, and figures they’re the closest she’ll come to having children of her own. So when her new neighbor, former soldier Stone Landry, shows up one day and accuses her of failing to keep an eye on them, she doesn’t take it very well. But when an attorney shows up saying that neither the orphanage nor Landry have any claim to the land they’re living on and have to vacate the premises, Stone and Emma realize they’ve got to work together to keep their homes. No-good rancher Zeke Parker will stop at nothing to take the land out from under them all, and Stone isn’t going to let that happen.
I love, love, love, Linda Broday’s books! I had only good things to say about the first in this series, Winning Maura’s Heart, and she continues the story in fine fashion with Courting Miss Emma.
As one of the hangman’s daughters, Emma has given up on the idea of love. Sure, her sister Maura managed to escape the fate of being the hangman’s daughter, but Emma reckons that won’t happen for her. She envisions potential epitaphs for herself as a lonely spinster, and those are by turns wryly funny and heartbreaking.
Linda Broday gives us a lot to focus on in this book! There’s the main story of the dastardly land grab by the villainous Zeke Parker. We also get to meet a new, unexpected Taggart family member, and in wonderful found family fashion, Stone takes in a young man and does a pretty good job of parenting even though he thinks his own past makes him unsuitable as a father.
There’s action aplenty, with gun battles and a kidnapping (that doesn’t go quite according to the kidnappers’ plans). But there’s also that sweet, sizzling romance. Broday writes clean romance that, for its lack of on-page spice (which I appreciate!), may still leave you fanning yourself because my, doesn’t it seem a bit warm in here? They get off to a rough start, but the chemistry between Emma and Stone practically burns off the page from the get-go, and I am here for it. They’re two wonderfully flawed people who’ve learned to expect the worst from life that find each other and realize that maybe life’s best isn’t out of reach for them after all.
I love that Emma isn’t some wilting violet. She isn’t afraid to jump into the thick of things, and she also isn’t afraid to tell Stone Landry exactly what she thinks. She’s a heroine who doesn’t just wring her hand and wait timidly to be rescued when she finds herself in a difficult spot. She’s resourceful and uses what she’s got to make it easier for her rescuers to get her out of harm’s way.
The children are just wonderful. Emma loves them with all her heart, and maybe they grow on Stone a little, too! Their interactions with Stone and his camels are hilarious, and their determination to help their beloved Miss Emma is touching. I want to reach into the pages and hug them all.
And yes, I said camels! Stone has rescued camels that were mustered out of military service. If you’re a long-time reader of my blog, you may remember another Lone Star Lit book that talked about the military camels of Texas, Once Upon a Camel. That book is for a younger audience, but I loved it, too, and it was fun seeing the camels show up in a different context.
Found family, sweet romance, action, tension, hope rising from the ashes – Courting Miss Emma has everything I love in a book. It’s in the running to be one of my favorite books of 2023.
If you have any interest in historical romance of the western\Texas history variety, you can’t go wrong with any of Broday’s books. And COURTING MISS EMMA is another winner. (See all my other reviews here if you are looking for other suggestions.)
What stands out for me from our main character, Emma, is her heart and self-deprecating humor. Being the daughter of the local Hangman, Emma has not had an easy life. In spite of this, she has such immense love for the orphans she and Maura are helping to raise. Emma’s humor shines throughout the novel with her quirky tombstone epithets that she thinks of. It makes me think I should start planning what my tombstone could read. I might need some revisions like Emma.
As an ex-military man, Stone likes his routine. And Emma and her charges disrupt that routine right from the beginning. Stone’s character growth throughout the novel is one of the highlights for me. While he is falling in love with Emma, he’s also learning to love the kids in her life and what a civilian life could be like.
As much as I enjoy the main characters in this book, I also genuinely adore the secondary characters. All of the characters are fully developed, with individual personalities and characteristics. Uncle Max, Jubel and his cannon, the camels, the kids, everyone is great! Instead of a woman doctor this time (shout out to Doctor Mary!), we have a woman lawyer, Dan Jordan. Great to see Ms. Broday representing women in non-traditional careers. I’m all for that. We even meet some Texas Rangers by the end of the novel.
COURTING MISS EMMA is a romance; we clearly need to discuss that in a review. What really impressed me about Emma and Stone is that both were resigned to not falling in love and remain single due to childhood traumas. But:
"‘One day.’ He dragged air into his lungs. ‘One day I intend to court you, lady. That’s a promise. Hangman’s daughter or not.’"
The relationship between Stone and Emma develops quickly once the action picks up in the novel. From their meet cute, through attacks and a kidnapping, to the sweet conclusion, I was cheering for these two characters.
I also really adored Calhoun’s and Maura’s relationship. And I clearly need to read their story.
On the spicy meter – this book is a clean romance. No worries if you blush or skip ahead while reading the sexy time scenes in romance novels.
PLOT and WRITING
The main storyline in COURTING MISS EMMA involves saving the orphanage and surrounding farms from being stolen out from under them by a robber baron. I relished all the action scenes! Lots of shoot-outs. Canon shots. More of the camels! It was a hoot! I was rooting for the team from the beginning. The fact that Emma is a self-rescuing heroine sure didn’t hurt, either. 😉 I’d almost go so far as to call this book western/action with a side of romance. And another side of humor, which I always appreciate.
This novel is the second in the series but can be read as a stand-alone.
The fast pace of the action results in a quick read.
While the novel does have a distinct conclusion, the introduction of Calista, the third Hangman’s daughter, gives us a hint of what’s to come in the next novel. And dang, she is feisty. That story should be fun.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Reading and highly recommending another book by Linda Broday is my pleasure.