Hidden Hearts Review
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The fantastic follow-up to Rachel Smith’s historical romance Texas Hearts, Hidden Hearts tells the story of Captain Jesse Rivers and Elena Maria Marisela Guadalupe de la Cruz Fernandez.

While Charlie McKenzie is away working for the Pinkerton Agency, he hires a nurse to be with his wife, Elizabeth, for the upcoming birth of their first child. To Jesse Rivers’s dismay, it turns out to be the woman he’d hoped to marry years ago, before she chose to marry someone more suitable—or so Jesse thought. Now she’s a widow with secrets that might bring harm on Jesse’s family at the Flying J Ranch. She’s running from something, but Jesse isn’t about to let that get in the way of a second chance with her.

Marriage wasn’t anything like what Elena hoped it would be. Her husband was a cold, cruel man who forced her to do unmentionable things—and her brother was no help. After her husband’s violent death, she found herself pregnant and trapped, but she pulled herself out and studied to become a nurse. Now, a blackmailer follows her no matter where she hides. When a position at the Flying J Ranch becomes available, she feels that she might be able to stay put for a while—until she’s faced with Jesse Rivers, the man she’s always loved and should have married all those years ago. Under no circumstances can he know about her past because he might not be able to look at her without disgust.

I simply love Rachel Smith’s historical romances. Her characters come alive and make you want to be a part of their family. Hidden Hearts is also a great love story with a plot that has some depth without being overly mushy or overtly sexual. The story and its settings come alive with rich detail, from the Flying J Ranch to the dry goods store in town to the borderline between Mexico and Texas.

Elena is an amazing character, full of courage and grit. She possesses strength born out of a rough life that no woman should have to endure. That’s not to say that she didn’t break down a time or two, but she was entitled. And the fact that she rose out of the depths of despair and took her life into her own hands and learned to live on her own two feet is cause for great admiration.

Jesse is an old raw-bone cowboy, but he’s got tons of integrity—and enough love in his heart to raise two orphaned children as if they were his own flesh and blood. He certainly deserves the love of a good woman, and he finds that in Elena.

Hidden Hearts is a wonderful historical romance that I urge you not to miss. Ms. Smith brings a wealth of talent to the genre, and I always look forward to reading anything that she writes.

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