Review: Bound for Eden by Tess LeSue

Bound for Eden
(Frontiers of the Heart #1)
by Tess LeSue
Publisher: Berkley
Publication date: May 1, 2018
Genre: Western Historical Romance

Alexandra Barratt has found the perfect man—it’s a shame he thinks she’s a boy…

Fleeing from the murderous Grady brothers, Alexandra disguises herself as a boy and joins a frontier party heading West, with her brother and sister in tow. The wagon train is captained by the irresistible Luke Slater, who’s never met a woman he couldn’t charm.

At first, Alex can’t believe the way every woman in town falls at Luke’s feet, including her suddenly flirtatious sister. But when she sees him naked in the bathtub, she finds herself swooning over him too. If only she could wash the muck of her face and show him who she really is. Unfortunately she has more pressing concerns…

The Gradys aren’t about to let Alex, nor the small fortune she stole from them, slip through their fingers. Only by maintaining her ruse does she have a chance of protecting her family. But fate, it seems, is conspiring against her.




I don’t know about you, but I love a good romance that starts off with the hero mistaking the heroine as a boy. I usually find such tropes in historical romances revolving around highlanders, but I was interested to see how it would play out with cowboys. Since Alex is on the run from a group of brother’s for stealing an obscene amount of money from them, she and her siblings decide to head out west to Oregon to meet up with their brother. They pretend that Alex is their young brother, when she’s really the oldest of them all, and join Luke’s convoy of wagons heading out west. Little does he know that the “runt” he’s been ordering around, and taken under his wing, is actually a woman

Let’s get one thing out of the way. I’m not well versed in the whole “Oregon trail” era, other than what that wretched game taught me. Never name the members of your party after friends or family, because they will all die a tragic death. Thus, scarring you for life. So, I have no clue if visiting a whore house every night when you are besotted with another woman is normal. I would have loved Luke’s character if he wasn’t boning everything with two legs. Which made it really hard to get behind his character and the romance between him and Alex. Every night that he was in town, before leading his convoy out west, he was spending it in the whore house. However, he’d talk about the girl back home that he intended to marry. Not to mention when he becomes obsessed with “Beatrice”, who was really just Alex who decided to dress like a girl for a night. She’s all he can think about, and yet, there he is, saddling up to yet another woman willing to have a toss in the hay with him. I honestly don’t know how Alex could have been so smitten with him when she knows all this about him. Which made me wonder, is this normal? I mean, for the time period, is it normal to still want a man after you’ve witness him taking liberties in a whore house just about every chance you bump into him? Or the fact that he’s flirting with your sister? This dude seriously couldn’t keep it in his pants and it was a major turn-off for me.

Poor Alex had the short end of the deal. While her younger sister played her damsel card gaining every male’s attention, and her younger brother was content with caring for the livestock and treated with respect by Luke, Alex was basically the low man on the totem pole. She did all the dirty work of waking up early and making breakfast, fetching water for baths, cleaning up after a meal. It was painstakingly clear that Luke had no idea that “Runt” was really a girl. However, there were tender moments when you could clearly tell that Luke had taken Alex under his wing. He took it upon himself to teach her how to ride a horse, he relaxed around her, and in the end viewed her as a friend and ally. She basically went from being a lady to doing all the hard work that was expected of a young boy, and she never really complained about it. She grumbled a bunch, but set off and took care of the task at hand.

The story moves along at an even pace. We are with the characters as they hire Luke, procure a wagon and livestock, and head out west. We are witness to some nail-biting moments while they are on the road. As well as moments of them settled on the west coast. However, I wish we had more time with these two once the air is cleared. I mean, the ending just felt so random and rushed that I honestly felt a little gypped.  I don’t want to go into specifics, but let’s just say that one moment they aren’t even speaking to each other and the next moment they are married. I just wish the author took more time to establish them as a couple before jumping right to the, “and they lived happily ever after.”

Bound for Eden was a fun story. There were some intense scenes when I thought the Grady brothers were going to catch Alex and her siblings, and times when I thought they were going to die while trying to make it to Oregon. I loved getting to meet all the characters in the story. From Alex’s siblings, to Dolly who ran the whore house, to Rides with Death (aka Nate) who was an Arapaho Indian we meet while on the road, and even good ole’ Ned who had a crush on Victoria… but was probably old enough to be her father. This novel had so much going on that I was practically glued to the pages. I’m really hoping that Nate gets his own book because his character is so mysterious. Luke knows him as Deathrider, another character said that he has many names and none at all, and the man sort of just ghosts around in the middle of nowhere. I feel like his story would be a good one.



Favorite quote…

“The woman of his dreams, he thought with a snort. The woman of his dreams didn’t exist. And neither did the runty little beanpole he’d come to call his friend. In their place was a perfect stranger.”




10 Thoughts on “Review: Bound for Eden by Tess LeSue

  1. oh I don’t think I’ve ever tried a westen novel

    • It was a lot of fun! I wasn’t sure how I’d like it going in since it’s not something I’ve read before, but it was very well written.

  2. I can’t say I’ve read many (any???) where the heroine was mistaken as a boy. I’m probably forgetting some, but oh my I need to try some hahaha

  3. Cowboy love – yes! Like you, I like this type of trope as well, and the story sure sounds fun! Glad you enjoyed it! Hugs…RO

    • It was a fun story. The disguise went on for way longer than I’m used to, but it made it all that more enjoyable, in my opinion. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.

  4. This sounds like a good one, glad to hear you liked it.

  5. Just glancing! I forgot I had this one for review. Oops! Thanks for the reminder and yay for it being a good one!

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