My expectations were high, due to my impression of the previous book of Lucy and Ambrose Quince's dramatic story in the untamed West, yet I feel this sequel just didn't do well with tying up loose ends.
Alpha hero, Ambrose, and heroine, Lucy, both have to learn to get deal with tragedy, regrets and each other. While the author does well to reveal the chinks in their relationship, sever it abruptly and then piece it back together, there still isn't dialogue or emotion to make the aftermath of emotions encounters believable or satisfying enough.
One day, Lucy takes off, like the spoiled and rich girl she is, after arguing terribly with an equally clueless Ambrose, who indulges the wife he feels he doesn't deserve on one hand and denies her the respect of being smart enough for important matters on the other. Lucy then sets out to commit a willful act that she never completes because she is caught by unknown enemies that strike out to not only kill her, but her husband as well. After this, she disappears for three years.
This couple's vulnerabilities aids their demise, even after Lucy is found and her reunion with Ambrose prevents his hanging for her death (I know...drama, right?).
Gem Sivad's characterization depicts an Ambrose who still lusts strongly after his wife, yet takes too damn long to "clue in" that his wife's disappearance is linked to people in his very town, who are murdering and thieving rapists that smile in his face while conspiring to have access to his land, his wife's money and political power behind his back. Lucy, who comes back scarred and loads wiser seems to be the only one smart enough to take notice (even though she is not only experiencing post-trauma but also recovering memory loss). (Suffering much?
Therefore, Ambrose Quince is taken down some notches as a hero and he's milquetoast, in the end, IMO. Lucy, could've been a 100% admirable heroine if the author had thought to explain her three year absence(not just the last year of it, which was a little vague too). Also, Lucy is affected by her trauma with some phobias that are never explained well, and the unveiling of ultimate culprit involved in the evil against her is so anticlimactic and integrated that one is well over it before the end.
Still, Gem Sivad has a style with setting(the Western Romance)and characters that is worth noting.