Winning Maura's Heart

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Pub Date 07 Mar 2023 | Archive Date 04 Oct 2023

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A handsome stranger on her doorstep!

Texas, 1876. Maura Taggart is an outcast. She is the daughter of a hangman and tainted by association - no reputable man would ever want her as his wife. And now she is homeless, along with her sister and the group of children in their care. But Maura has grit. She finds a nearby mission where the nuns agree to take them in and set up an orphanage. But trouble is just around the corner . . .

The Calhoun brothers are identical twins but on opposite sides of the law. Cutter is a deputy Marshal, Jonas an outlaw. When Cutter attempts to break his brother out of a notorious gang, they are shot, and Maura finds one of them wounded, close to the mission - but which brother is it?

As the stranger regains his strength under Maura's care an attraction between them grows, but there's a question over his identity. Can he be trusted and why has his presence brought danger to their door? With the orphanage under threat can Maura trust this handsome stranger both with their safety and with her heart?

A handsome stranger on her doorstep!

Texas, 1876. Maura Taggart is an outcast. She is the daughter of a hangman and tainted by association - no reputable man would ever want her as his wife. And now...

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Featured Reviews

This was a great start to the Hangman's Daughters series, it was what I was looking for in a Western book. It worked with the time period and I was hooked from the first page and loved the way it was written. Maura worked so well and I was glad she was a unique character. It left me wanting to read more from this series and from the author.

‘So would I but until they come forward, there’s little we can do.’ Maura turned to help Sister Bernadette peel the potatoes. ‘I don’t think the person who left baby Juliette is the same as the one who brought the puppy and chickens. I can’t say why but I think it’s two separate individuals.’

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In 1876, sisters Maura and Emma were the daughters of a hangman in San Antonio. The sisters cared for the town’s yellow fever victims until they weren’t needed. The townspeople decided it was time for the hangman’s daughters to leave. With no house to return to, Maura sets out to find a place for the sisters and the recently orphaned children. She travels to an abandoned mission and discovers three nuns who would welcome them and the children. The Calhoun brothers, Jonas and Cutter, are trying to escape the outlaw gang Jonas has been in. Although twins, the brothers are on different sides of the law. Jonas and Cutter are pursued, and, in a shootout, both are shot. The story follows one unknown brother who finds a place to hide by the mission. Once the children and sisters get settled into the mission, Maura finds this man, takes him in, and doctors him, not knowing who he is. I quickly fell in love with Maura’s character. She was a strong, compassionate woman with a moral compass that guided her actions. Her love for her sister and those children was heartwarming, which nicely balanced how cruel the townspeople were to them. I found it intriguing not to know the brother's name until the very end and enjoyed getting to know Uncle Max. As Maura and her patient grow close, a family and healing emerge at the mission, but the outlaw gang is a danger to them all. This fast-paced story has a couple of twists that make it hard to put down. I highly recommend “Winning Maura’s Heart” to all who love a good western romance.

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It took me a while to download this book. It wss well worth the argument with my kindle. I just loved it. Maura and her sister Emma didn't have an easy life, Being the daughter's of the Hangman. The town requested they leave and soon. With nowhere to go and 16 orphans they find an old Mission with 3 Nuns who agree to take them in. Maura out hunting for food one afternoon finds a wounded man near death. Calhoun a man with secrets and troubles around the corner. What a wonderful cast of Characters. This book kept my interest from start to finish. 5Stsrs!

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Linda Broday never disappoints in the writing of her books. The research, location/setting is well thought out, attention to details is always there. You are drawn into the book in ways that make you keep turning the pages. In reading this book, I was there in the middle of the action. The outcome had some twists and turns, I wasn't expecting. I saw and felt the grief, anger, and finally Love. I for one can't wait to read more of this series.

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I was chosen to be an ARC Reader for this book.
This book is so well written, beautiful characters.
Moura and Emma have had a hard life. Outcast because of their father. The Hangman.
He is a crull manto his daughters. Shows no love to them. After an altercation in town they leave with 16 children who became orphans because of yellow fever.
They know that their Uncle Max is at a mission living with 3 nuns.
So they go there for refuge.Uncle Max is a man of heart, but he has demon's that turned him to drink.
The Calhoun Brother's. Wow... They are twins, but on opposite side of the law. Cutter is a Marshel, Jonas, an outlaw.
Cutter helps him escape the gang. But during the escape one is wounded and the other is shot dead.
But it leaves a mystery when Moura finds the wounded Calhoun. Is it Cutter or Jonas?. The gang wants back their stolen money that Jonas took.and that means danger to the mission and everyone.
Linda has a way to draw you in her books.
I couldn't get this book on my Kindle. So I downloaded it to my phone. First book I've read on a phone. But well worth the strain on these old eyes. I could not put it down.. Thank you Linda, my friend, for another awesome book.
Can't wait for Emma's story....

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Winning Maura’s Heart, by author Linda Broday, will keep your attention until the very last word in the book. The story begins in Texas, 1876. Lucius Taggart, a hangman by trade, is a worthless father who cannot deal with the loss of his wife. Sisters, Maura and Emma are rejected by their father and cursed by the towns people due to being daughters of a hangman. Maura and Emma are asked to take care of those sick with yellow fever. Yellow fever claims the lives of several people. When children are left homeless and destitute, no one in town wants to care for them. However, Maura asks to care for the children herself and takes them to an old, run down mission outside of town. Three nuns were found to be living there and agree to convert the mission into an orphanage. The orphans named it, Heaven’s Door, in honor of family who died of yellow fever and went to Heaven - how fitting.

Maura discovers the body of Cutter Calhoun as she is hunting to provide food for the orphans. He is trying to rescue his twin brother, Jonas, from a treacherous outlaw! From here the story unravels piece by piece, as Linda Broday weaves her magic of telling an incredible tale. There are so many acts of kindness as the orphans are cared for, cherished, and loved. Heart melting circumstances prevail throughout the book. Adventure, survival, tension, emotional, hardship, suffering, healing, horrendous life threatening circumstances, as the story of winning Maura’s heart is told. Twist and turns unravel leaving the reader gripping the story until the very end. What an exciting book layered with love and redemption!

Well done Linda Broday! Five star rating and then some!

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Linda Broday’s new series the Hangman's Daughters surpass all my expectations. Maura Taggart is beautiful, smart, and hardworking but her father’s profession has caused her to become a social pariah. She and her sister have been forced to take care of the sick in San Antonio while her house has been burned down. The pandemic is over and the town citizens want them gone. Outside of San Antonio, The Calhoun brothers have their own issues. One is a Marshall and the other an outlaw. While attempting to escape the gang the outlaw has joined both are shot. Maura finds one but which one is it?
Linda Broday has a way of describing the early days of Texas that you can see the sunset, smell the foul smell of the outlaw and feel the bullets whizzing around you. Reading the last page left me ready for the next book in the Hangman’s Daughter series. Thank you NetGalley, Severn House and Linda Broday for the ARC of Winning Maura’s Heart.

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When I open a Linda Broday book, it’s never a dull moment. She’s a master at grabbing her readers attention from the start and leaving them gasping until the end.
Her books envelope the true humanity of love and acceptance.

Maura and Emma are shunned by the entire town because of the travesties of their father.
Dubbed as The Hangman’s Daughters, they learn to defend and help others as unfortunate, as they are, themselves.

When Maura and Emma are exiled from San Antonio, upon their departure, they take the orphaned children with them and find shelter in an abandoned mission.
While venturing out hunting, Maura finds Calhoun injured from a gunfight and left for dead. Maura can’t let him die, she must help him, even if she doesn’t know if he’s a friend or foe, lawman or an outlaw.

I can’t give Linda Broday enough credit for this book or even begin to describe all the wonderful characters in this book. Broken, lost, exiled, and lonely, all looking for belonging and acceptance. Truly one of the most compassionate books I’ve ever read.
I have loved all of her books, but The Hangman’s Daughter is extra special.
It truly grabbed my heart from deep down and will forever be one of my most memorable and coveted books, I have had the privilege of reading.
I was given this book by Netgalley for an honest review.

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I absolutely love Linda Broday's books. I don't even need to read the synopsis to decide if I am going to read it. I fully trust her to deliver a great story with amazing characters. Winning Maura's Heart is the first book in her Hangman's daughters series and it follows the story of the sisters Maura and Emma who are outcasts because their father is a hangman. In the beginning of the book the sisters are forced to leave and take with them a group of orphans. They decide to make their home at an abandoned mission nearby, but find that it isn't as abandoned as they thought. The nuns living there agrees to turn the mission into an orphanage and the sisters and nuns start working together to take care of the children. One day when Maura is hunting she finds Calhoun, who is wounded, and takes him back to the mission and nurses him back to health. It doesn't take long before Maura and Calhoun start catching feelings for each other. However, both are keeping secrets from the other.

Winning Maura's Heart was a very heartwarming and beautiful historical western romance. The characters were all amazing and added extra layers to the story. The nuns were so helpful and sweet, Maura and Emma did everything in their power to take care of the unwanted orphans. They all worked together to give those children the best. Calhoun and the sister's uncle Max, who is also living at the mission, were great protectors and role models for the children. Everything just came together perfectly. The added action scenes were great but not overpowering. The romance was sweet and I enjoyed seeing Maura and Calhoun grow closer together. I am assuming Emma's story is next. I can't wait to see what will happen and who will steal her heart. If you are looking for a uplifting historical romance then I highly recommend this book and also check out Linda Broday's other books!.

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I'm always excited for a new Linda Broday book and Winning Maura's Heart the first book in her new series, The Hangman's Daughters, drew me in quickly and won my heart.

I can't get over the number of amazing characters in this book. Maura and Emma have always been outcasts because of the profession of their father and the ruthlessness he had in his life as a hangsman. They only had each other after the death of their mother. Their father was rarely home and when he was he paid no attention to his daughters.

When Maura and Emma are shunned out of San Antonio they knew that they had to take a group of homeless children with them. The sisters take the children and find refuge in an old mission where we immediately meet another group of fabulous characters. There are three French nuns and the sisters own uncle that jump right in to help Maura and Emma make a great life for these children.

Maura finds a bleeding, half dead, man in the woods and begins nursing him back to health. She and the others all choose to believe in the man that calls himself Calhoun not knowing if he is a lawman,, like the badge in his belongings lead them to believe or if he's an outlaw that stole the belongings. Little do they know that this man has put them in great danger.

This book truly made my heart swell with the plot and the number of heartwarming characters. This isn't just a Historical Western Romance it has danger, mystery and more. I can't wait to read many more additions in this series so I can see what is in the future for all that call the orphanage home.

An awesome read!

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I don't care what the book is about, if it's written by Linda Broday, I will read it! Her characters are multi-layered! Her storylines keep me up at night. Her settings are real - it's obvious she does a lot of research because she weaves real places and real happenings into her stories! I just can't get enough of her books. I've never thought of the life of a hangman before. I mean, who would? If asked, I would think they did a valuable service in the Old West. Something most people wouldn't want to do so they would be grateful for someone who did the job. However, the families of these men were actually pariahs - cast out of the cities. In this new series, the author shows us how unpleasant it was for the daughters of one hangman in particular. Maura and Emma are about the sweetest women you'll ever meet. However, the town still casts them out after they help out with a yellow fever outbreak - the nerve! Oh, and they have to take a bunch of orphans with them because they don't want them either! The women find a broken-down mission to live in with 3 French nuns and their uncle Max! Maura and Emma weave their magic throughout the book as they "bring back to life" just about everyone who crosses their path. It's so heartwarming and emotional! Calhoun is one of those - a man who is discovered outside the mission, close to death and nursed back to health. Is he a marshal or a renegade? They have to trust that he's a good man and not hurt them or the children. When Maura falls for him, will she be disappointed in love or find the man of her dreams? What will happen when the mission is attacked, and everyone is put at risk? Such a fantastic book! I want to read the next book already!

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Well, first off, I really enjoyed this book by one of my favorite authors. Ms Broday writes a fantastic western romance at it's best. She knows her craft and takes it to a higher level in her writing. The atmosphere and setting is full of action which starts at the first chapter. The characters are fully developed with thoughts and feeling of their own.
Maura and her sister Emma have been forced out of their home that burned down. Now they are kinda told by the residents to leave the sooner the better. Their father is a hangman and so people guess they are tainted along with him. So here they are alone with just each other and some children who are orphaned. They find a abandoned mission (which is home to nuns) and begin to make a nice life for all. They bond and create a family with everyone and are happy.
One day Maura is searching for food, and finds a man shot. His name is Calhoun and he says he's a marshal looking for bad guys.
Calhoun is wanting Maura's love with a clear conscience but secrets are abound and so he takes off after healing. Maura finds herself in love with the man and hopes he comes back.
I appreciate Net Galley for this ARC title in which I gave an honest review.

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I absolutely loved this book, a fantastic start to this series. Two lovely sisters who have been dealt a hard life both show kindness and love to a group of orphaned children, and the added is he or isn’t he that Calhoun brings keeps the reader guessing and doubting throughout. Very well written story weaved around outlaws and bigoted townsfolk.

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This is an emotional story that starts with both Maura and her sister Emma being ousted from a town without mercy. Oh, they were already outcasts because of their father being a hangman. But the town felt no remorse of using them working tirelessly helping when the yellow fever hit. But as soon as it was done, they were quickly kicked out of town. Maura and Emma have had to live through a lot of hardships because of their father. They learned to survive and move with their heads held high. Although Emma is involved in this story, it really has more to do with Maura as the title suggests.
I really liked how Maura and Emma stepped up to help the children orphaned by the yellow fever. The town could care less about them and were happy to throw them out too. What precious kids they turned out to be, which made the story even better. It just seemed like every time they turned around there was someone else who needed rescuing and were gathered in. The nuns made me smile and added so much to the story too.
The dangers and secrets that were waiting was well written too. And Calhoun had plenty, some of which their Uncle Max was pretty perceptive about. Uncle Max, what a character he was when he showed up!
Things do start out kind of slowly but set a really good foundation and when the action starts it does move along.
I liked how the story ended with all the concerns handled. And a hard earned H.E.A.

“I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.”

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This is definitely a book of outcasts. People in town want nothing to do with the hangman's daughters. Of course they have the biggest hearts of them all.

The characters in this book are fantastic, especially all of the orphans. They brighten up the fears from hiding from the outlaw gang. When Maura finds Calhoun, she doesn't know much about him and really accepts who he truly is inside. We all have an inkling on which twin he is, but those secrets aren't a major issue in the plot or character development.

I really like the action parts in this book that added some suspense. That kept me reading a lot more than the romance part, which in all honesty was a bit slow. It was mostly cute an innocent for a majority of the book, which did fit with Maura's character.

I like this first book in the series and am intrigued to where it will go from here.

Thank you to Severn House and Netgalley for providing me a copy of this ARC for my honest review.

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Maura and Emma Taggart have selflessly cared for victims of yellow fever in San Antonio, Texas. Now that the worst of the threat is past, the fine, upstanding citizens of San Antonio repay them by assaulting Emma and running the sisters out of town. Why? Because they’re the hangman’s daughters. Their father’s profession and reputation has made them pariahs wherever they go. They leave with a group of children orphaned by the epidemic, planning to care for them. The ragtag group finds a haven at an old mission outside of town, where three French nuns and Maura’s alcoholic Uncle Max currently reside.
Cutter Calhoun sets out to rescue his brother Jonas from the clutches of a notorious gang. They’re almost free when Jonas decides to go back for a stash of stolen loot. As they’re fleeing from the gang, one brother is killed and the other is seriously wounded. Maura finds Calhoun when she’s out hunting for food for her charges, and brings him back to the mission to nurse him to health – but which brother has she found?

Linda Broday masterfully weaves multiple story arcs together into a fantastic whole. We have Maura and Emma’s struggles with the burden of their father’s reputation, their care for the orphaned children, Maura’s efforts to help Uncle Max find redemption and recovery, and the mystery man Calhoun.

The French nuns are a lot of fun. They are able to communicate with Maura and Emma, but they have no problems playing up their difficulties with the English language when it will benefit their cause! They see God’s hand at work in everything, big and small, and they’re a treat. The orphaned children are by turns delightful, heart-wrenching, and occasionally exasperating (as children are). They come together to make a marvelous family where there was none before. Max, at first afraid to be too near the children because of his tendency to drink heavily, comes to love them, and they love him, too.

The romance between Maura and Calhoun is an important part of the story, but it isn’t all of the story. Broday kept me guessing as to which brother Maura had saved. Sometimes the evidence pointed to US marshal Cutter, and sometimes it pointed to erstwhile outlaw Jonas. I’m not going to tell you which brother survives – read the book if you want to know that. I will tell you that the romance isn’t insta, but it’s not exactly slow burn, either. The spark flares pretty quickly, and Maura had long given up on the idea that any man could look past her family association and see – and love – her. She sees a good man in Calhoun, whichever one he is, and even though he’s likely to move on when he heals, she wants to know love for as long as it’s in her grasp. Even with the mystery of Calhoun’s identity unsolved, I found myself cheering for them, wanting their relationship to last.

Lucius Taggart shows up, unannounced and uninvited, and he’s brusque and fairly awful to Maura and Emma. I saw glimmers of hope that there may be a redemption for Lucius in a future book, at least as far as his family is concerned, if not society. I hope so! The outlaw gang makes several menacing appearances, trying to reclaim what Calhoun stole from them (which, ironically, they stole from others). And Maura not only works to keep her young charges cared for, she jumps in to correct an injustice, even though it means going back to the town that shunned her and her sister.

This story hits everything I enjoy in a good book. Mystery. Romance. Action. Found family. Redemption. And it places it all in a marvelous historical setting, when Texas was still the Wild West. Linda Broday has done an excellent job of researching her story and bringing all the threads together into a well-written whole. I can’t wait for the next in the series!

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A woman judged and ill-treated for her father’s profession rescues a wounded man, but is he lawman or outlaw? This is the setup for a powerfully emotional western romance written by an author who writes the Old West of Texas with heart.

Winning Maura’s Heart is the first in The Hangman’s Daughters series focusing on Maura, who with her sister Emma had a tough childhood and still face the unearned cruelty of others simply for what their father does. Their tender and loving mother, when she was alive, offset the withdrawn distance of a father who was a hangman by profession. Their mother couldn’t protect them from all the bullying kids and their equally mean-spirited parents and their father was gone doing his work, so Maura and Emma have a sensitivity for the unwanted and downtrodden of the world.

When no one else in San Antonio will, the sisters nurse the yellow fever sufferers, get driven out when the plague seems to have passed, but they take the orphaned children of this latest plague with them into the old Alamo mission, joining three Catholic Sisters who have come to open the Mission back up and their own drunken Uncle Max with demons of his past.

Not long after they arrive, Maura comes upon a man shot and close to death. His personal effects and the saddlebags on his horse only give interesting hints that point to two extremes. He’s either a lawman or an outlaw. And, when Calhoun comes to and starts to get better, he’s not really forthcoming. But, the pair of them are drawn to each other even as the danger of an outlaw gang looking for the loot from their last bank robbery, Calhoun’s mysteries, and the trouble that always follows the hangman’s daughters are enough to divide them unless they can hold strong and hold to each other.

With the same attention to historical backdrop, western action and suspenseful build-up, layered characters, and tender yet compelling romance, the author draws the reader into a new series set up. What a unique background for Maura and Emma. My heart broke many times for these sisters who were shunned, bullied, and abused simply because people were uncomfortable or hated that their father hung criminals for a living. And, they didn’t even get a supportive parent with a mother passed away and their father’s means of living making him emotionally cold and physically barely there.

Added to the two sisters, their Uncle Max, who didn’t have it easy either with his brother following their father in the hanging profession and his troubling past. He was a fascinating side character who I enjoyed knowing and seeing him really make an effort through is struggles when his nieces and the orphans came. The three nuns were a nice addition to the underdog group at the mission. And, of course, there are the whimsical and touching ways of those orphan kids who lucked out at last with the found family that Maura and Emma made for them.

The romance was intriguing as the reader is kept in the dark with Maura as to which Calhoun twin survived the skirmish with the outlaws when the law-abiding twin went to find his brother who was a member of the outlaw band. Maura is reluctantly falling in love with her eyes open to the possibility of either even as she resists the feelings because everything in her past has taught her that love, a husband and normal family life are not for the likes of her. Meanwhile Calhoun is struggling to get his health back so he can deal with the outlaws that will come looking and endanger Maura and the others. I don’t want to give anything away. I swung between suspicions of which twin he was through a good deal of the story, but still fell in love with him right along with reluctant Maura.

The build to the confrontation and the reveals was as good as it promised through the story. Man, were my emotions vested. I do love how Linda Broday writes her western romances, so you get all the good stuff and a satisfying finish with a strong anticipation for more. The world of that time and place is drawn so well that I can heartily recommend this one to fans of romance set in the harsh times of the Old West.

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Back to the old west filled with outlaws, hangmen, and seemingly little law and order. But in Linda Broday’s vision we get to investigate the lives of some folk that are down on their luck and victims of their circumstances. We meet nuns that are just trying to survive and bring a sense of peace and faith into what was still a rather rough around the edges land. Most of all there are little peeks into historical rumors and innuendo mixed in just for fun. WINNING MAURA’S HEART is a gem by Linda Broday, a real diamond in the rough with a healthy dose of love mixed in for good measure.

Life has been hard and unfair for Maura and her sister Emma. They are the daughters of the hangman which made them untouchables in their own town. Strange since he is doing their bidding in getting rid of outlaws. But the townsfolk are small-minded bigots and spare no regard for the hangman’s family.
They literally run these young women out of town.

So Maura and Emma find themselves in an old Spanish Mission outside of San Antonia with a few nuns and their father’s brother, Uncle Max, and several orphans. With no money or supplies they need to be resourceful, lucky and a few of gods blessings would surely be appreciated.

Maura comes upon an injured man. Of course she feels the right thing is to help and brings him into their odd little group, of dare we say survivors.

WINNING MAURA’S HEART is a true adventure that plays out like an old western movie with lots of action, danger, challenges, and complicated relationships. Typical Linda Broday with a strong intelligent heroine and a rough around the edges hero. Even the orphans get their time in the action. Well-orchestrated and fun WINNING MAURA’S HEART is guaranteed to win this talented author lots of new fans. You get an interesting glimpse into what living in the old days was really like.

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For some reason I find this an interesting depart from Mrs. Broday's usual writing. To me it just feels different, but not in a bad way. The characters are interesting with a bit of quirky. The story is fabulous with some interesting turns. I look forward to the next one.

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From the incredibly evocative first page, Winning Maura’s Heart grabbed my attention and my heart and didn’t let go until the tenderly sweet ending. This story of outcast sisters, abandoned children, an unforgiving society, and morally ambiguous men had me tearing up in parts and once again admiring Ms. Broday’s remarkable writing prowess. She is an auto-read for me whenever I get a hankering for a good old-school Western romance.

"You’ll never get anywhere by sitting down and giving up.”

Maura Taggart joins the long list of Ms. Broday’s amazingly stalwart heroines. Along with her sister Emma, she somehow survived being driven out of San Antonio by ungrateful citizens while taking care of more than a dozen orphaned children armed only with her indomitable will, innate kindness, and unshakeable faith in a higher power. In saving a half-dead man, an abused child, an alcoholic uncle, and many lives, she is the embodiment of a true heroine.

By contrast, Calhoun is not a clear-cut hero. There is a mystery surrounding his real identity and he exists in the gray area between bad and good. I really appreciate how Linda wrote him as well as Max Taggart. Both men earned redemption through their actions. Such is the power of love.

"New life was born from hopeless despair.”

Nothing symbolizes love more than children. In this story, they provided both touching moments and funny scenes. They supplied the light to balance the heavy and dark threats of violence and abuse.

Indeed, Ms. Broday penned another action-packed and adventuresome novel that also taught me something new (hint: spiderweb) while satisfying my romance-loving heart. Her talent is so extraordinary, I’m willing to accept the improbabilities that happened in the story to bring about a happy-ever-after.

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Winning Maura’s Heart is a terrific first book in a new series by Linda Broday. Billed as a Western Romance, I really liked that the Western elements took center stage. Not that there isn’t romance. The attraction between the stranger and Maura builds slowly, letting the reader get to know both of them as the story evolves.

The mystery of which brother survived the shoot-out is deftly handled, and there were enough clues dropped into the story to keep the reader guessing. There were times I wondered, “Really? Could it be?” It’s hard to say any more about the romantic elements without a spoiler, but readers will find the resolution most satisfying.

Maura and her sister have had a hard life up to this point, and it gets worse right after they’ve nursed people through an outbreak of yellow fever in San Antonio, Texas. No longer needed for a job nobody else wanted, the townspeople drive Maura and Emma out of town, and they take a group of children orphaned by the epidemic to an old Spanish mission now being used by French nuns. The Sisters welcome the children and help Maura and Emma care for them, with the assistance of their Uncle Max when he is sober enough. Max is drinking to try to forget his own problems, but he does have a good side, which Maura recognizes and attempts to foster.

Winning Maura’s Heart starts with an emotional hook that doesn’t let go as the story evolves. The two sisters face intense cruelty at the hands of others and so many challenges as they attempt to hold their band of children together. All of the characters are deftly drawn and so likeable. Well, except for the gang members who come looking for the loot that the brothers stole from them.

This is a story of grit and determination, as well as faith and compassion. Even though life has been so hard for Maura and Emma, they don’t let that harden their hearts. They are always willing to help those in need, and the reader knows that from the opening of the story when they are in the throes of the epidemic. Then we meet the Calhoun brothers in an action-packed attempt to get Jonah out of the gang, and we think both brothers are dead until Maura finds the dying man near the mission and nurses him back to health.

The plot flows from one element to another seamlessly and so many parts of the book reminded me of my favorite Westerns from Zane Grey and others who’ve penned great novels about the Old West. Broday definitely knows the genre and does detailed research to bring the mid-1800s alive. I highly recommend the read.

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A super sweet western romance between the hangman's daughter and man who isn't telling Maura his full story. With a feisty uncle, a trio of nuns and a dozen or more loveable orphans, Maura will win your heart as well!

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Well, well! This! This is a story I did not anticipate in any way. I honestly was expecting a highly romantic novel. While some might say Winning Maura’s Heart, (The Hangman’s Daughters Book 1)is a romance novel; it is really not. Yes, there is romance. But this book is so much more…

Encased between the pages of the beautiful cover is a story about the aftereffects of Yellow Fever when parents die. It is a story about orphans needing someone to look after them. It is a story about people needing redemption. It is definitely a story about loss. It is also a story about how human nature fears what it does not understand. It is a story about outlaw gangs of the old West.

Author Linda Broday enveloped all these storylines encapsulating them into one fantabulous story Winning Maura’s Heart. At its core, Winning Maura’s Heart is about doing good and having faith that in the end, a higher power is watching out for everyone. The characters are utterly realistic and unforgettable, and you get completely immersed in their lives.

Maura and her sister Emma are the Hangman’s daughters. They are run out of town and in tow, they take all the kids who have been orphaned. Nearly every single character in this book has had a hard life and most are searching for redemption. There is romance but not like you think – meaning you do not have tons of kissing and flowery language. Soon into the book it became unputdownable and engrossing because underneath all that I have mentioned is a mystery of who really was saved by Maura.

I love it when an author introduces me to something I have never known before. Spiderwebs! Thank you, Linda, for introducing me to the folk, historical remedy of using spiderwebs as bandages for wounds.

Winning Maura’s Heart reminds me of the movie Once Upon a Time in the West only told with Linda’s fantabulous storytelling. I’m looking forward to Book 2 in this series. This book delivers a fresh, unputdownable experience to devour in a weekend and transports you back in time to the Texas old West, puts smiles on your face, and gives you hope.

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“There was a great deal to be said for grabbing every second of life and finding joy.”

Linda Broday has taken a few historical facts and crafted a stellar beginning to what is definitely a must-read new fictional series. How does Linda keep delivering such fantastic romantic westerns time after time? I haven’t a clue, but I hope she never stops!

Winning Maura’s Heart by Linda Broday is the first book in The Hangman’s Daughters Series. This story starts off with a yellow fever epidemic in San Antonio, Texas, in 1867 and then progresses quickly into a wild chase, flying bullets, bags of money from a bank heist, and identical twin brothers running for their lives: Jonas and Cutter Calhoun―one an outlaw and one a lawman.

Twenty-eight-year-old Maura Taggert and her younger sister, Emma, are daughters of an infamous hangman, Lucius Taggart, and by association, they are just as despised and shunned as their father. But the sisters are used to being outcasts and relying on only themselves for companionship. When the mayor of San Antonio unceremoniously demands they hightail it out of town, Maura and Emma leave and take the many unwanted children who became orphans after the yellow fever stole their parents and their future. The sisters and the children find refuge with some sweet nuns in a nearby Spanish mission, discovering that their drunkard Uncle Max has been residing at the mission as well. When Maura stumbles upon the almost lifeless bullet-riddled body of a handsome man near the mission, the story takes off with a vengeance.

One Calhoun brother is recovering from bullet wounds at the mission, and the other brother is missing and presumed dead, but did Maura rescue the lawman or the outlaw? Linda Broday does an excellent job keeping everyone in suspense, with many clues along the way pointing to both brothers. Either way, this Calhoun brother is a keeper because no one at the mission can apparently resist his charms, especially Maura.

At the heart of Winning Maura’s Heart is acceptance, kindness, and purpose, with the well-developed characters showing that age-old duality of humanity: good and evil. And while evil often appears to have gained the upper hand, good eventually prevails but not without hardship, doubt, and a gang of outlaws determined to recover the stolen loot and whatever treasures the mission hides. The pacing is naturally quick because the action never really lets up, which means you will reach the end way too soon. Good thing more of this thrilling series is on the way!

Love in Winning Maura’s Heart comes in many forms: family; friendship; and, of course, courtly romance. Respect for human life and second chances are other major themes here, juxtaposed nicely with the narrow-minded townspeople in San Antonio and a few other bad actors all portraying just the opposite. If you like your westerns laden with treasure, romance, highly electric action, a handsome man with secrets, rescued children who will steal your heart, a puppy named Gunner, and many other dynamic characters (Uncle Max is my personal favorite), then Winning Maura’s Heart is the book for you.

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Outstanding western romance. One of Linda Broday’s best. A look at two sisters who are the hangman’s daughters. Outcasts in western society. Every character is described to imagine how life was back in the west. Hope you enjoy as much as did.

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I loved this book! This was an amazing story about people who overcame adversity with a strength that enabled them to face anything that came their way. I loved the way Broday developed the characters in the story. I also liked the adventures that were brought into the story by one of the main characters. She also did a great job of allowing the reader to see into the heart of the characters as they grew and became the person that they needed to be. If you like westerns and romances then this is the book for you. This story is also the first book in the series and I can't wait to read more books by this author and in this series.

Thanks to Net Galley and Dragonblade Publishing for the reader's galley in return for an honest review of this book.

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Linda Broday's Winning Maura's Heart (Severn House 2023), Book 1 in the Hangman's Daughters, is an old west romance with all the pride, respect, chivalry, and challenge of life and love in the American West in the second half of the 1800's. Maura Taggart is a twenty-something older sister struggling to take care of a younger also-twenty-something sister in a world that has dealt them nothing but jokers. Their mother died when they were too young. While their father the Hangman remains alive, he is always absent from their lives, leaving them to survive on their own wits and wiles, and with the reputation as the Hangman's daughters, a slanderous designation that causes all respectable people to snub them and the disrespectable to try to take advantage of them. It is left to Maura to find a way to provide for them while maintaining the values impressed upon them by their mother.

When cholera strikes their hometown, the sisters do what they can for the sick and when the town rejects them for their questionable past, they take responsibility for the care of a wagon load of homeless orphans whose parents died of disease. No one wants the children or the sisters which might be why Maura can’t let them go. Through a stroke of luck, they end up in an abandoned mission that is also the home of their alcoholic Uncle Max and three French nuns who came to America to save souls. This unlikely group of outcasts becomes an orphanage with little hope of surviving but that seems to have anonymous supporters that allow it to limp along. When an almost dead gunslinger falls into yard, they don't know if he's an outlaw or a US Marshall, but it doesn't matter. They must take care of him. His arrival seems the catalyst for a whole lot of activity that can save or sink the orphanage.

Want to see how this turns out? You’ll have to read the book. You won’t be sorry.

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Unexpected Love

Author Linda Brody entwines fact and legends into a rip-roaring story that will capture your heart. It is mildly steamy, but deals with much of the human condition, focusing on rescuing those who have been thrown out, like orphans and people considered undesirable--such as a hangman's daughter. (First in a series but standalone.) Enjoy!

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