The best inspirational Western romance novels with rugged heroes and fiery heroines

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child, I fell in love with horses. As a teen, I fell in love with a cowboy. That’s how I became the wife and mother of professional rodeo bullfighters and wrote for rodeo magazines. Today I write historical cowboy romances. The Western way of life is down-to-earth, honest, and God-fearing—even in our contemporary world, and I’ve written several of those stories as well. But my favorite challenge takes me back to the 1800s when life was simpler. Not easier, just simpler even though people faced the same emotional challenges we face today. I love writing about their journeys and encouraging readers that there is hope.


I wrote...

An Improper Proposal

By Davalynn Spencer,

Book cover of An Improper Proposal

What is my book about?

When a mail-order bride’s groom is shot dead on their way to the wedding, she does the only thing she can in an unfamiliar town with no money or friends—she proposes to a stranger. Mae Ann Remington isn’t afraid to fight for what she wants—a home and respectability. If that means becoming a rancher’s wife, so be it. 

Colorado rancher Cade Parker’s biggest problem isn’t catching the rustlers that are thinning his herd. It’s keeping his heart from stampeding after the last person in the world he should be falling for—the bride he didn't want.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of From a Distance

Davalynn Spencer Why did I love this book?

I love happy endings and that’s why I read romance—Western romance from simpler, not easier, times. There is always a struggle, an honest hero who is not afraid to fight for what is right and protect the helpless, and a woman who doesn’t want the rugged cowboy/lawman/rancher telling her what she can or cannot do. They are a perfect match but it takes at least one of them a while to figure it out.

That’s exactly what I found in Tamera Alexander’s From a Distance. I was repeatedly startled, anxious, sympathetic, and angry. Alexander is masterful at interlacing passion, promise, and pain in a way that ties up even unexpected loose ends. And I must say, this book had the best ending of all!

By Tamera Alexander,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked From a Distance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Determined to become one of the country's premier newspaper photographers, Elizabeth Westbrook travels to the Colorado Territory to capture the grandeur of the mountains surrounding the remote town of Timber Ridge. She hopes, too, that the cool, dry air of Colorado, and its renowned hot springs, will cure the mysterious illness that threatens her career, and her life. Daniel Ranslett is a man shackled by his Confederate past, and he'll do anything to protect his land, and his solitude. When an outspoken Yankee photographer captures an image that appears key to solving a murder, putting herself in danger, Daniel is…


Book cover of The Lady and the Lionheart

Davalynn Spencer Why did I love this book?

This book grabbed my heart and is still holding on. I have never read a hero more committed to what is right and willing to pursue it at all costs, in spite of his imperfections. His compassion and level of sacrifice are unmatched. Both he and the heroine are wounded, yet in different ways. Her journey to trust is one that touched me deeply. Bischof knows how to write the heart and paint the power of redemption. 

By Joanne Bischof,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Lady and the Lionheart as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Heartachingly beautiful" - RT Book Reviews, 5 Star TOP PICK!

Virginia, 1890

Raised amid the fame and mystique of the Big Top, Charlie Lionheart holds the audience in the palm of his hand. But while his act captivates thousands, it’s away from the spotlight where his true heart lies. Here he humbly cares for his pride of lions as if they were his brothers, a skill of bravery and strength that has prepared him for his most challenging feat yet—freeing an orphaned infant from the dark bondage of a sideshow. A trade so costly, it requires his life in exchange…


Book cover of Courting Morrow Little: A Novel

Davalynn Spencer Why did I love this book?

I was put off by the title of this book because of the name, Morrow Little. I mean, who has a name like that? Plus, I wasn’t a fan of stories set in the 1700s American frontier. But a friend insisted I read it, and yeah, my friend knew me well. I wanted to run away with this hero, but no spoilers here. Morrow Little embodies every woman looking for honest love and she has the courage to pursue it. Or follow it. You be the judge. Because of this story, I’ve read every other Laura Frantz book I could find. She has a way of capturing the setting and atmosphere and dropping you right in the middle of it.

By Laura Frantz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Courting Morrow Little as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Morrow Little is haunted by the memory of the day her family was torn apart by raiding Shawnee warriors. Now that she is nearly a grown woman and her father is ailing, she must make difficult choices about the future. Several men-ranging from the undesired to the unthinkable-vie for her attentions, but she finds herself inexplicably drawn to a forbidden love that both terrifies and intrigues her. Can she betray the memory of her lost loved ones-and garner suspicion from her friends-by pursuing a life with him? Or should she seal her own misery by marrying a man she doesn't…


Book cover of A Lady in Defiance

Davalynn Spencer Why did I love this book?

I loved the heroine’s grit! Boy howdy, no one’s going to get anything over on her. The story is both gritty and sweet. Real. Full of truth and hope and opposition. Her setting puts you right in the action and her characterizations leave you feeling like you know these people. This was the first book I read from Blanton, and I have since read a couple more. 

By Heather Blanton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Lady in Defiance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

100,000+ copies! The best-selling saga of sisters finding love in a rowdy, frontier mining town! Charles McIntyre owns everything and everyone in the lawless, godless mining town of Defiance. When three good, Christian sisters show up, stranded and alone, he decides to let them stay. The decision may cost him everything, from his brothel...to his heart. Naomi Miller, angry with God for widowing her, wants no part of Defiance or the saloon-owning, prostitute-keeping Mr. McIntyre. It would seem, however, that God has gone to elaborate lengths to bring them together. The question is, "Why?" Does God really have a plan…


Book cover of Thankful for the Cowboy

Davalynn Spencer Why did I love this book?

I liked this story so much that I read it a second time. Author Mary Connealy took me to the Nebraska Sandhills and showed me the beauty of the country while painting the beauty of the woman who lived there. Such a sweet love story of a mother who gives all she has for her sons—and the man who surprisingly gives back to her something she never dreamed she'd have again. 

By Mary Connealy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Thankful for the Cowboy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Tom MacKinnon rides up driving a wagon with a second wagon trailing him. He and his sister builds windmills. They’ll ask for very little money and, in exchange heroine, Lauren Drummond, newly widowed mother of four nearly grown sons, will help them learn to survive in the Sandhills of Nebraska. What to grow, what to hunt, how to build a sod house.
Tom’s windmills will save her ranch. Lauren needs three windmills on this drought year or her growing herd of cattle is going to die of thirst. She eagerly agrees to teach him the ways of the Sandhills. She’s…


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The Woman at the Wheel

By Penny Haw,

Book cover of The Woman at the Wheel

Penny Haw Author Of The Invincible Miss Cust

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Storyteller Dog walker Dreamer Runner Reader

Penny's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Inspiring historical fiction based on the real life of Bertha Benz, whose husband built the first prototype automobile, which eventually evolved into the Mercedes-Benz marque.

"Unfortunately, only a girl again."

From a young age, Cäcilie Bertha Ringer is fascinated by her father's work as a master builder in Pforzheim, Germany. But those five words, which he wrote next to her name in the family Bible, haunt Bertha.

Years later, Bertha meets Carl Benz and falls in love—with him and his extraordinary dream of building a horseless carriage. Bertha has such faith in him that she invests her dowry in his plans, a dicey move since they alone believe in the machine. When Carl's partners threaten to withdraw their support, he's ready to cut ties. Bertha knows the decision would ruin everything. Ignoring the cynics, she takes matters into her own hands, secretly planning a scheme that will either hasten the family's passage to absolute derision or prove their genius. What Bertha doesn't know is that Carl is on the cusp of making a deal with their nemesis. She's not only risking her marriage and their life's work, but is also up against the patriarchy, Carl's own self-doubt, and the clock.

Like so many other women, Bertha lived largely in her husband's shadow, but her contributions are now celebrated in this inspiring story of perseverance, resilience, and love.

The Woman at the Wheel

By Penny Haw,

What is this book about?

Inspiring historical fiction based on the real life of Bertha Benz, whose husband built the first prototype automobile, which eventually evolved into the Mercedes-Benz marque.

"Unfortunately, only a girl again."

From a young age, Cacilie Bertha Ringer is fascinated by her father's work as a master builder in Pforzheim, Germany. But those five words, which he wrote next to her name in the family Bible, haunt Bertha.

Years later, Bertha meets Carl Benz and falls in love-with him and his extraordinary dream of building a horseless carriage. Bertha has such faith in him that she invests her dowry in his…


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