Sunday, April 21, 2013

CERA'S PLACE: A Story Wrapped In Love And Justice by Elizabeth McKenna

Paperback, 270 pages
Published December 19, 2011 by CreateSpace
Genre: historical fiction, romance novel, western
Rating: 3.5 stars

CERA'S PLACE: A Story Wrapped In Love And Justice by Elizabeth McKenna

"In 1869, San Francisco saloon owner Cera Cassidy offers redemption to any woman looking for honest work. At Cera’s Place, men can get a decent hot meal with a whiskey, but if they want anything more, they have to take their desires elsewhere. One summer night, a distraught Chinese girl bursts through the swinging doors with a shocking tale of murder, kidnapping, and prostitution. Outraged, Cera vows to set things right.
Jake Tanner, a scarred ex-soldier haunted by the horrors of the Civil War, is on a mission to fulfill a friend’s dying wish. The trail has brought him to Cera’s door. Captivated by her Irish beauty, he wants to join her fight – but will she let him?" (Goodreads blurb)

I have always had a soft spot for historical romance novels and a diversion from the usual Regency England setting seemed to be a refreshing change of view. Western romance Cera's Place by debut author Elizabeth McKenna has a great potential and captivating premises (post Civil War historical backdrop,   interesting focus on human trafficking and slavery at the time of the Chinese immigration toward the Western Frontier, a wounded  and tormented war hero, a brave and unconventional female lead), but I think that the author didn't capitalize enough on these great assets. After a powerful introduction, where a descriptive and melodious prose raised the bar of my expectations, the novel fell short in some of its departments. The chemistry between lead characters wasn't supported by a convincing build-up of romantic tension, the male protagonist lacked depth and his characterization fell flat despite the angst of his backstory. Overall, the novel was less engaging than anticipated.

*Review copy graciously offered by the author in return of an unbiased opinion.


  1. Hey Mina,

    I know what you mean. It sounds like you were waiting for an explosion and got sparklers instead. I applaud you for giving an honest review. Few have the courage to do so. :)

  2. Hi Celeste! The aim of my reviews is to provide readers and authors with an honest opinion and a constructive feedback, in full respect of writers' work and creative effort. I hope I managed to convey these feelings. Whenever I see something positive and noteworthy in a book, I do not hesitate to celebrate it. This book received some very positive reviews on Goodreads and there are some elements in it that play in the author's favour.