Series: Deep in the Heart of Texas #7
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by Forever on 16 December 2014
Starlet Brubaker, the awkward “ugly duckling” of the Hen House is all grown up now and has a successful country music career. Beckett, the brother of Starlet’s long-time crush, is fairly wary of her as he remembered her as a manipulative little creature but when her life is threatened, he can’t help but get involved.
Both our leads undergo significant physical changes throughout the course of this series. Starlet is now thin and beautiful while Beckett has gone from the geeky brother to a ripped ex-Marine. I found myself wondering if these cosmetic changes were really necessary though as both were initially attracted to each other in their pre-gorgeous days. Perhaps Lane felt the need she had to repackage the pair to make them worthy of a full book.
Starlet hasn’t lost her immaturity (or naivety) when you consider the way she continued to lust after her long-time crush Beau and tried to break up his marriage. She puts up with her sponging relatives who are determined to cash in on her success and is completely under the thumb of her manager. She begins to find her voice with Beckett around and ironically falls prey to a new form of control as she is unable to write music without him around. Her behaviour however threatens this fragile relationship repeatedly.
Beckett has his own demons to fight with PTSD and a feeling of inadequacy around his high-achieving older brothers. It is fascinating to see how so many romance authors put their own spin on PTSD and try to reflect such a serious issue sensitively. I think Lane did a good job with Beckett as although he was clearly suffering, his condition didn’t define who he was or his potential. I’m glad we weren’t patronised with a magical cure but instead saw some of his rough edges gradually smoothed by Starlet as he learned to trust her.
This is the last novel in the series and acts more as a love story for the town than for Beckett and Starlet. I didn’t mind checking in with the other couples who achieved HEA status and those in the town who hadn’t made it that far but I just wish that the sequencing of the interludes was better paced as just when I thought we were going to get some relationship progression between Beckett and Starlett, we got sidetracked with other romances. The way it was executed made it harder to connect with the couple the novel was supposed to be about. The humour however remains intact and the sheer craziness of Bramble will have you alternatively rolling your eyes or giggling.
Please don’t jump into the series with this final book as you will probably be bewildered with the cast of thousands and references to past events. It’s a bit sad that this is the last Bramble book as they’ve been lots of fun.