Somewhere in the Badlands, embedded deep in centuries-buried rock and sand, lies the skeleton of a massive dinosaur, larger than anything the late nineteenth-century world has ever seen. Some legends call it the Black Beauty, with its bones as black as ebony, but to seventeen-year-old Samuel Bolt, it’s the “rex,” the king dinosaur that could put him and his struggling, temperamental archaeologist father in the history books (and conveniently make his father forget he’s been kicked out of school), if they can just quarry it out.
But Samuel and his father aren’t the only ones after the rex. For Rachel Cartland this find could be her ticket to a different life, one where her loves of science and adventure aren’t just relegated to books and sitting rooms. And if she can’t prove herself on this expedition with her professor father, the only adventures she may have to look forward to are marriage or spinsterhood.
As their paths cross and the rivalry between their fathers becomes more intense, Samuel and Rachel are pushed closer together. Their flourishing romance is one that will never be allowed. And with both eyeing the same prize, it’s a romance that seems destined for failure. As their attraction deepens, danger looms on the other side of the hills, causing everyone’s secrets to come to light and forcing Samuel and Rachel to make a decision. Can they join forces to find their quarry, and with it a new life together, or will old enmities and prejudices keep them from both the rex and each other? – Goodreads.com
I had such fun reading this book. My oldest son turned me into a dinosaur nerd when he was around 5 years old (he carried plastic dinosaurs with him wherever we went), so I loved the adventure and wonder of discovering new dinosaur breeds and fossils in this novel.
The two MCs, Samuel and Rachel, are nearly polar opposites in personality – him being more rash and impulsive, and Rachel the more practical and balanced type. But they share a deep love of paleontology and their personalities play off each other quite well. At times, they also display more maturity than their competitor fathers and it makes for some humorous situations. While the reader knows a romance between them is a given, I appreciated that the author gave each of them their own character arcs apart from the romance, which made it a more interesting read for me.
I enjoyed everything about this book – the paleontology, feuding fathers, wild west setting with Native Americans, and the determination of a young woman to follow her own dreams during a time period where it was unheard of for women to have dreams other than marriage and children. Highly recommended for readers who enjoy a well-paced adventure, humor, and a dash of romance thrown in. This book is scheduled for publication September 20, 2016.
Thanks to Edelweiss for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.