Samantha And The Cowboy
by Lorraine Heath, historical (2002)
Avon, $4.99, ISBN 0-06-447341-4


This is a love story aimed at teenagers. There is no libido in this story, at least none of that rumbles in my privates kind of libido. You just "feel something" when you look into his eyes, that sort of thing. Just the sort of books adult love to imagine that children love reading.

Samantha Reynolds cuts her hair and wears boy's clothes. As "Sam", she will join the cattle run and earn herself $100 for her family. Her elder brother is traumatized by the War Between the States, her other siblings are too young, so it's up to our young lady to put bread on the table. Naturally, everybody believes her to be a boy, albeit a sissy one, and instead of ganging up on "him", Prisoner in Cell Block H style, they indulge "him" like the youngest bro they never have.

Chief of the boylove king is our hero Matthew Hart. He is a young man fresh from the horrifying aftermaths of the war (described in G-rated "darkness", so don't worry, parents) and he becomes Sam's big brother. Only, of course, Sam feels innocent love for Matt. What can she do when Matt discovers that the boy he loves as a lil' bro is in fact a girl?

She was terrified that she was falling in love with him.

And he'd never return that love. He thought Sam was a boy. And if he'd ever found out that Sam was a girl... he wouldn't love her then, either? How could he love someone who had deceived him?

Ah kids. Unlike us adults, who have lusts and all, these hormonal teenagers are so prim and proper. Matt makes that playboy in those Sweet Valley High books (not that I read those - ahem) look like a Byronian hero. Sam is, well, she's a typical tomboy hero who behaves just like every tomboy heroine would.

What's more worrying is that even without the sex, Sam here is more mature than any of the "adult" Western heroines I've encountered lately.

Still, while being completely predictable and lacking the wistfulness of those "innocent" Anne of Green Gables books, I'm sure this book is worth reading because... uh, oh heck. I don't know why one should read this book, really, unless you want to buy your kids something you'd sure won't corrupt them into taking off their clothes to inspect their privates. While you're at it, you may want to check under their pillows for those VC Andrews books you seem to have misplaced ages ago. Oh, sure, you never read those trashy books when you were younger. Neither do we all, I'm sure.

Rating: 60


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