By Janet Dailey
Published in 2015 by Kensington.
Reviewed by Victoria Williams.
When author Janet Dailey penned her debut novel in the mid-1970s on something of a dare, according to The New York Times, I’m sure she never expected it would spark a decades-long career as an accomplished writer. But that’s exactly what happened. Over the course of her career, Dailey wrote numerous romance novels, leading her to establish herself as one of the most popular female-American novelists in the world.
According to an obituary featured in The New York Times, in December of 2013, Dailey followed the natural order of the typical boy meets girl narrative when developing the rapport between characters, particularly when it came to cultivating romance between the main characters. According to the article, it was her innate ability to portray her books’ heroines as working women who, often times, overcome adversity while living within the confines of the Great American Frontier that set Dailey apart from her peers.
Texas Tough, a contemporary romance released by Kensington Books in May of this year, is an exemplary example of Dailey’s work. It tells the story of well-to-do Lauren Prescott and her love interest, Sky Fletcher, a Comanche horse-training cowboy with a troubled past. Separately, Lauren and Sky are vulnerable people looking to free themselves of their families’ control. Together, they are a complementary pair of insurmountable potions who, with the support of the Tyler Family, work to save the Tyler-Family Ranch from having to close and keep the reputation of Lauren’s political father intact amid a murderess scandal.
Dailey uses the perfect blend of erotic language throughout the book to show the progression of a budding romance between Lauren and Sky. She also does an excellent job of integrating the characters, transitioning between plots and adding a touch of intrigue, captivating her audience and making it easy for them to follow the story. There is also a natural flow of events that leaves room for readers to use their imagination and draw their own conclusions about the fate of its characters, particularly those portraying villains. In my opinion, the novel is appropriate for readers ranging from young adult to adult.
Another fascinating piece of Dailey’s writing, in the telling of the novel, is how she demonstrates the importance of family when introducing the audience to the Tyler Family. Despite the complex dynamic between the Tyler brothers, the family maintains a bond between them and an unspoken loyalty for one another, coming together when it counts to preserve the place they call home. It is the very essence of who they are. It is their livelihood. It is the very definition of the book’s title, Texas Tough.
Although Dailey is gone, her legacy lives on through her work. She continues to be an inspiration for aspiring, as well as established writers because of it. For more information about Janet Dailey, visit her website.
Victoria Williams holds a BA in Communications from Montclair State University in New Jersey. She is a former Journalist for the South Jersey News in Woodbury, New Jersey. Victoria has been a member of the Writers’ League of Texas since November 2013 and serves as a member of its marketing committee. Victoria is also a member of the Women Communicators of Austin. She is a writer for its Communications Committee and has recently been appointed as its Publicity Chair. Victoria is a native of New Jersey.