Winds of Time by Lilly Gayle

A vicious tornado whisks our heroine through the winds of time to unexpectedly drop her back in 1872. We’re definitely not in Kansas anymore Toto! Or at least…not in modern day Texas anymore.

What’s it About?


The past is her future, the future, her past, but can she save an innocent man’s life before history repeats itself? As long as Selena Tillman dreams of her ancestor, Mary, who disappeared without a trace in 1872, she’ll never find peace. As long as she dreams of the half-Native American army scout accused of killing Mary, she’ll never find love. Hoping to end the dreams and learn the truth, Selena goes to Texas where Mary and the scout died and sees more than ghosts. She sees a tornado kill Mary in real time before it jumps to the twenty-first century to pull Selena into its vortex and send her back to the nineteenth century. Selena believes she’s fated to prove Dylan’s innocence and save his life, but Dylan isn’t just the man of her dreams; he’s her destiny.

Fed up with the army, bigotry, and women—especially white women, Captain Dylan Casey dedicates himself to solving the mystery of Mary’s disappearance, proving his innocence, and trying to stop a war between the whites and the Indians. Then Mary’s cousin shows up, claiming a tornado killed Mary. Dylan doesn’t trust Selena, but she’s his only ally in Canyon Creek. Yet despite their common goal, growing mutual attraction, and a Comanche shaman’s prophecy of a white woman who will change his destiny and foretell the fate of the Indian Nation, Dylan refuses to take a chance on another spoiled, white woman—until fate changes his mind.

First Impressions

Yes, we are dealing with a time travel historical romance here. But more than that we are exploring some inherently deep-rooted and devastatingly tragic instances of racism in late nineteenth-century Texas. The supposed superiority of the white man over the “savage” Indian, and the downfall of the great Indian Nation at the greed of the white man. What I love about any Lilly Gayle historical romance is that we always learn about a unique chapter of history, and in most cases they are lessons which I never really had the opportunity to study fully in school. In each instance my interest is spurned to learn more! You can tell a lot of time and effort was spent researching this topic in an attempt to give an accurate portrayal of what it would have been like for a “half-breed” to live at this moment in history, not to mention the obstacles involved by falling in love with a white woman. After finishing this read I must say I’m inspired to visit the National Museum of the American Indian, especially considering it’s just a 15 minute drive from my apartment!


Traveling the Winds of Time

One of my favorite aspects of any time travel story is discovering the rules of time travel which the author has chosen for their world. Will it be like Outlander, in which the events of the past are firmly set in stone? In these works we usually find the attempts of our characters to change certain events will instead directly cement the circumstances of history. Or will we maybe see something along the lines of Back to the Future where practically everything you do has a direct impact and influence on changing the outcomes of the future? In this novel we see an interesting blend of both.


After being dropped in 1872 by a wayward tornado, Selena seems stuck in the past with no possibility of traveling back to her own time. She knows the history surrounding the fate of Dylan Casey, who stands accused of murdering her ancestor Mary. However, she’s just seen that the same tornado which carried her through time is responsible for Mary’s death, not Dylan. Can Selena possibly alter the events of history to prevent Dylan’s own murder which she has seen play out in visions since she was 10? Is Dylan fated to die, or is it Selena’s destiny to save his life? You simply never know what the rules of time travel might be in any given romance.


An Argumentative Romance

Race is an extremely important discussion in this novel, especially in how it relates to Selena and Dylan exploring a romantic relationship. Living in a small Texas town, Dylan experiences hateful glances and racial slurs practically every day. He’s had friends and lovers desert him upon discovery of his mixed heritage. He once thought Mary (Selena’s ancestor) was the woman for him, but in the end the fact he was a “half-breed” proved to be reason enough for her to give up on them. When Selena drops into town she’s unlike any other woman Dylan has ever met. She has no hesitancy about exploring a physical relationship with Dylan, which is something he simply can’t wrap his head around. Why would a white woman risk her reputation pursuing a half-breed like him?


All in all I’d have to say that my one complaint with this book is how much of Selena and Dylan’s time together is spent arguing. I feel like Selena had a closer connection to Dylan because of the visions she’d experienced of him throughout her life rather than from their interactions with each other. The fact that Dylan is a scout for the army also means that he and Selena spend pretty long periods of time apart from each other. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, but I couldn’t help but feel there was some disconnect between the feelings garnered from Selena’s visions to her actual interactions with the man.


Selena has literally been dreaming of this man forever, and when she finally has the opportunity to meet him in person he’s…well…a bit surly. She continuously reiterates the fact that his race is of no consequence to her. Selena’s actions also speak towards her dedication, especially when she gives up the luxurious comforts of his parent’s house to instead make a home for them in Dylan’s small ranch house. And yet, it still doesn’t seem to be enough to convince Dylan that she’s serious when she says his Indian heritage doesn’t bother her. He insists she could never love a “dirty savage” such as him.

Vctorian woman's toilette

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Wilder Hearts by Lilly Gayle

Phew! I feel like I can finally take a breath after finishing this book. What with all the murder, mystery, and sexual awakening going on here.

What’s it About?

wilder hearts

Writing about the outlaw, Jake the Snake, could be the opportunity of a lifetime—if it doesn’t get her killed.

When Ellie Wilder takes her sister from their grandfather’s home, she’s determined to put her family back together and write of their adventures. Then she runs into Jacob Harper, a man who resembles Jake the Snake, a notorious outlaw who once rode with Billy the Kid. Is it possible the outlaw who escaped justice has mended his ways? Or is the handsome Mr. Harper now murdering servant girls in Austin? Finding out the truth could be the journalistic opportunity of a lifetime.

Former Texas Ranger Jake Harper has returned to Texas to help solve the Servant Girl Annihilator murders. But when a similar murder occurs in Harmony, Texas, Jake goes undercover as Jake the Snake to find a connection between the series of brutal murders. Then Ellie Wilder shows up. Her snooping could blow his cover and get her killed, but Ellie soon becomes a bigger threat to his heart than his investigation.

First Impressions

Mkay, so I have to admit I had a slight history nerd-out moment with this book. And by slight, of course, I mean I squealed like an idiot, and was incredibly happy nobody was around to witness my silliness. A few weeks ago I was watching one of my fav TV shows ever, Mysteries at the Museum, and they featured a segment on the Servant Girl Annihilator in Austin, TX during 1885. Lo and behold my surprise when I start reading this book and it revolves around that same set of murders. I flipped out! I was like, OMG are they gonna mention the cook as a suspect? They’re after Maurice! Are they gonna make the link between the Annihilator and Jack the Ripper?! Gah, they totally do!! Sorry, I’m done.


Murder, Oil, Undercover

Now I’ll admit that at first there was almost too much going on story-wise with this book. Ellie and her sister, Ida, leave their grandfather in Philadelphia to live with their father in Texas. Once they arrive you’ve got the Austin murders that Jake is trying to solve, but Ellie thinks he may also be an outlaw that ran with Billy the Kid, so she does some sleuthing of her own. Ellie’s dad is searching for oil in a small town, and murders start happening there too, so Jake goes undercover to try and find the killer. All we’re missing is a partridge in a pear tree.


However, I will say that the story really got good and going once they all arrive in the small town of Harmony. This is where everything starts to focus on one particular set of murders, and the suspect list starts growing. Who in this small town could be responsible for such grisly murders? There’s also an added level of suspense because, let’s face it, we know it’s just a matter of time before Ellie and her family get mixed up in all the murdery mayhem. Will they manage to escape the clutches of the Annihilator, or become his next victims?

*A copy of this book was provided for an honest review*

Series: A Western Hearts Novel, Book 2.

Should you read it? For all you history buffs out there who might have an interest in true crime, you’ll prolly like this one! That being said, consider yourself warned it’s a pretty gruesome tale. For those of you who know the real story of the Annihilator and Jack the Ripper, you’ll know that a lot of innocent people end up butchered. Kind of depressing. Gotta love the simmering sexual tension between Jake and Ellie though.

Smut Level: OMG Jake and Ellie!! Love ’em! And their first time together was just oh so wonderful. Ellie gets caught in the rain, stumbles across a cabin, and oh, whose cabin should it be but Jake’s? Oh my, I wonder what could ever happen as they wait for their clothes to dry as the storm passes? It’s like the Notebook rain scene, but in late 19th century Texas.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $2.99 Kindle Price. Glass Slipper Press. 254 Pages.


Slightly Tarnished by Lilly Gayle

This is the second Victorian-era romance I’ve read by Lilly Gayle, and I’m officially stating that she’s just too good an author. Why is this, you ask? Because her books are so engaging I can’t put them down! It’s seriously interfering with my designated bedtime.

What’s it About? slightly tarnished

When a brooding English earl with a Slightly Tarnished reputation marries his dead wife’s American cousin to save her from an uncle’s vengeful schemes, the sea captain’s daughter with a taste for adventure sparks desires he thought long dead. Nicole Keller has always been headstrong and independent, but after a failed business venture and a sinking ship take her father, her home, and her childhood sweetheart, Nikki must support herself and her mother. But moving to England and marrying Chadwick Masters, Earl of Gilchrest isn’t what she has in mind. And falling in love with the mysterious earl could endanger both their lives.

First Impressions

Gripping stories and dynamic characters aside, something else I love about Ms. Gayle’s novels is that I always learn something new about English society of the period. These informational tidbits often take on a darker tone than the fluffy debutante balls which are so common in British historical romances, but they are fascinating nonetheless. This book shed light on the Great Stink which plagued London in 1858, as well as the terrible working conditions for street children. Combine this with some romance, a villain or two, and a plethora of lovable characters and you’ve got yourself a book!

Impeccable Story

There’s always something happening! From Nicole’s sicko uncle who wants to marry her off to an abusive 80-year-old, to Chad’s mother who blames him for his brother’s mentally impaired state, there’s never a dull moment. The timeline of events is also organized so incredibly well. It starts off with the death of Nicole’s father in a storm at sea, Nicole and her mother moving to England, her marriage to Chad, and then eventually it comes back full circle to finding out exactly what happened to her father. Every question and mystery raised is eventually answered in full detail.

stormI personally really enjoyed the romantic aspect of the book. What starts off as a marriage of necessity, combined with obvious mutual attraction, quickly turns into one of loveydoveywonderfulness. At first they are both hesitant to fully trust the other. She knows he’s keeping secrets about his brother Edward, and he questions if she’s scheming after his fortune. After a while she falls for him, and although he tries to insist that they are in lust, not love, Nicole simply smiles to herself, knowing that his feelings are more profound.

The Good, the Bad, and the OMG

ickySo we’ve covered the various aspects of the storyline; let’s move on to the characters. Holy cannoli each and every one was entertaining! Her fearful mother, his bitchy mother. Her psychotically deranged uncle who you just want to kick in the groin. The creepiness and ickiness surrounding his character practically leaps off the page to the point where you’ll want to wash your hands. What truly showcases Ms. Gayle’s talent though is that there is always an underlying explanation for what appears to be, at first, a quirky personality trait of each character.

And now for my favorite character and storyline: Chad’s twin brother Edward. The whole of society believes that Edward died as a child due to a fever he contracted after swimming in the Thames with his brother. In actuality he survived, but his mother hid him away from everyone due to the brain damage he suffered. It wasn’t until Chad was an adult that he discovered his brother was alive, and ever since he has been severely protective of him. Nicole discovers Edward’s existence fairly early on, unbeknownst to Chad, and her immediate understanding and compassion surrounding the whole matter is commendable. Don’t even get me started on Edward’s fear of thunderstorms, and how Chad would hold him tight in the hopes of providing some little comfort to his brother. Oh God, I’m getting a little verklempt!

verklempt*A copy of this book was provided for an honest review*

Series: Let’s call it the Slightly series, book 1. To read my review of the second book in this series, Slightly Noble, click here.

Should you read it? If you’re in the mood for a great historical romance, then yes! There’s suspense, intrigue, romance, and some questionable family dynamics.

Smut Level: For a historical romance it was pretty darn steamy at times, especially the first sexual romp on their wedding night. Chad also has the tendency to whisper sweet dirty talk in her ear.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $5.99 Kindle Price. The Wild Rose Press. 310 Pages.