PIECES OF SKY
From the first page, it's clear why debut author Warner has won several awards. Her western romance is a striking portrait of the territory in all its reality, harshness and beauty. Like Francine Rivers, Warner creates a novel of the human spirit's ability to conquer emotional and physical obstacles. She conveys her characters perfectly, giving them lives of their own. Readers will be waiting breathlessly for the next book in the Blood Rose trilogy.
Escaping England and the horrible shame of rape, Jessica Thornton is headed to her brother when her stagecoach crashes. Rancher Brady Wilkins carries the terrible burden of his brother's death. He can allow no one to suffer, and when he comes upon the crash site he brings the stranded passengers to his ranch.
Jessica's physical state means she must stay longer than the others, and as she recuperates she and Brady develop a strong bond that slowly turns to love -- a love that even her pregnancy does not dim. As Jessica heals in body and mind, Brady faces down his own demons. When their pasts collide, Brady and Jessica reach deep down to find the strength to move into the future. (BERKLEY SENSATION, Jan., 432 pp., $15.00)