Title: Robby Riverton: Mail Order Bride
Author: Eli Easton and Matthew Shaw (Narrator)
Publisher: Pinkerton Road
Release Date: August 2nd 2018
Genre(s): Historical Romance, Western
Length: 7 hrs and 34 mins
Reviewed by: Lily G. Blunt
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Being a fugitive in the old west shouldn’t be this much fun.
The year is 1860. Robby Riverton is a rising star on the New York stage. But he witnesses a murder by a famous crime boss and is forced to go on the run – all the way to Santa Fe.
When he still can’t seem to ditch his pursuers, he disguises himself as a mail-order bride he meets on the wagon train. Caught between gangsters who want to kill him and the crazy, uncouth family of his “intended”, Robby’s only ally is a lazy sheriff who sees exactly who Robby is – and can’t resist him.
Trace Crabtree took the job as sheriff of Flat Bottom because there was never a thing going on. And then Robby Riverton showed up disguised as a woman and betrothed to Trace’s brother. If that wasn’t complicated enough, Trace finds the man as appealing as blueberry pie. He urges Robby to stay undercover until the danger has passed.
But a few weeks of having Robby-Rowena at the ranch and the Crabtree family will never be the same again.
I loved this western adventure and romantic comedy all rolled into one. It was such fun and uplifting too. Apparently, mail order brides were a real thing in the old west, but Eli Easton certainly turned this trope on its head by making the ‘bride’ male. Robby Riverton finds himself in such a predicament, the only way he can escape the ‘baddies’ is to take the place of a genuine mail order bride destined for Clovis Crabtree.
Robby falls for Trace Crabtree, the sheriff of Flat Bottom and brother to Clovis. He’s strong and sexy and smart, and he soon works out who Robby is. Their attraction and relationship builds steadily and, by the time they sneak some alone time together, they are seriously hot for each other. The chemistry between them is smokin’ and we are treated to some lovely sizzling scenes. No condoms or modern lube here, folks!
Being a skilled actor, Robby takes to the role of ‘Rowena’ and whips the uncouth Crabtree ‘hillbilly’ men into shape, improving their manners and showing them how to treat their womenfolk with respect and consideration. These scenes are delightful; well-written and with great characters.
Throughout, there’s the expectation that Robby’s disguise will be uncovered or the ‘baddies’ will catch up with him. Time is short for Robby and Trace, and this makes their romantic connection all the more poignant. And it’s not as if they could have been ‘out’ and seen together in the nineteenth century Wild West. Subtle but spot-on world-building permeates this story.
The story builds to an exciting and rather nerve-wracking climax. No spoilers, but I had tears in my eyes near to the end. There were also some touching moments and the epilogue is just perfect. I always love Eli’s stories and characters, and this heartwarming tale is one of my favourites.
I adored Matthew Shaw’s narration of the Howl at the Moon series and he is just as fabulous here. He created a wide range of identifiable voices—from the sassy Rowena to the sexy voice for Trace to Pa’s high-pitched almost squeal. Matthew characterized each person wonderfully, and there’s a whole cast of characters here. He made the already amusing story such fun and so enjoyable to listen to. Highly recommended.