April 15, 2013

Quillan Shepard

Hero-girl hugs to the reader who suggested Quillan through the nomination button. I was hesitant at first because this series is "old" but I read some of the reviews and the first chapter and here Quillan is. He is a hero that will get in your soul. But he's going to stick in your craw a bit along the way. There were so many things I enjoyed about this novel, but Quillan was for sure worth the journey and he and this novel lingered in my mind for days after I'd finished it. He deserves his orange, though a lot of it was hard-earned. Let's see why.

About The Rose Legacy (released Aug. 2000 & Nov. 2009):

If he wants her, let him come and prove it.... Fleeing her idyllic home in Sonoma, California, Carina Maria DiGratia journeys to the mining town of Crystal, Colorado. Clinging to hopes of a new life, she finds reality has a harsh welcome for her. Overrun with men seeking their fortune and women bound by circumstance, the town hosts both dreams and nightmares, with little surety for tomorrow. But at least here Carina is far from the betrayal that still pierces her heart. Early on, two men vie for her trust, but neither is what he seems. Will Carina discern the truth and confront the turmoil hidden in her own heart in time to prevent tragedy?

Excerpt from The Rose Legacy:

      When he made it into Crystal late that afternoon, the buzz of the town was well under way, it being Friday. Quillan had hoped to beat the weekend madness, but the extra day in Denver had cost him. Now it would take much longer to make the deliveries. Fighting his way through the crowds, he stopped first at Ormsby's Drugstore with the extracts and tinctures. He made a handsome profit on that load, having finagled items hard to come by at the best of times. But Ormsby could afford it. Doc Felden would get the one precious box of smallpox vaccine, no extra charge.
      He headed next for MacDonald's Sampling Works. He had a scale for them, as theirs had not been weighing accurately. He knew Gavin MacDonald was too Scotch to order a new scale, but Quillan would make the man believe it a bargain and see it put to use before someone got shot. A bad scale was unforgivable in these parts.
      In just over two hours he had all but the last of his deliveries made and the money collected. The last was Miss DiGratia's. The gunsmith had thrown in a leather shoulder holster, though Quillan doubted Miss DiGratia would wear it. Nevertheless, it was wrapped in the package with the gun, and he took it from beneath the box. He made his way on foot through the incoming miners to Drake Road.
      Mae Dixon watched him from the porch like a well-fed cat. "Well, well. Quillan."
      "Hello, Mae. I have a delivery for Miss DiGratia."
      Her violet eyes took on a decidedly feline glee. "You can leave it at the desk."
      Quillan cocked his head. "How would I get payment?"
      "She can leave it at the desk."
      He took the steps up. The cool evening air ruffled the hair on his neck. "All right."
      "Then again..." Mae nodded to the street. "You could hold still a moment."
      Quillan turned as Carina DiGratia lifted her skirt and stepped off the end of the boardwalk. He saw only a flash of booted ankle, enough to confirm that her leg bones were as delicate as the rest of her. He noted the blue denim skirt they'd rescued from the mountain and a fresh white blouse with a lacy ruffle like moth's wings down the front. Was it the torn and ragged blouse she'd scavenged? If so, she'd done admirably by it.
      She carried herself sprightly enough, unaware of an audience. He'd wager she had money, or at least she'd come from it. She didn't look the hard-luck kind, come to find riches in the Rockies. Especially not by the means most women found it.
      He was surprised now that he could have thought so. There was an air of quality he'd missed on the road, a certain strength of spirit and breeding. She was like the dainty, dark Morgan horse he'd seen in Golden, small-boned and light-footed. If he pressed his imagination, he'd see her prance and bob her head as that filly had.
      But now she looked up and saw him, dark eyes suddenly large. He wished she wouldn't startle so every time they met. It made him feel less than respectable. He tipped his hat. "Miss DiGratia."

Excerpt used with permission. All rights reserved.

Gallant Score

Quillan does the right thing in perpetuity but the problem is, it often doesn't appear to be the right thing until much later. He saves a lot of lives and makes the world a better place because he's in it, despite the lie he believes about himself and who he is.

Wounded Score:

Heroes don't come any more wounded than Quillan Shepard. There's an answer behind the reason he says Shepard isn't his name. He's "borrowing" it as he says and when you learn why and how as a reader, have tissues handy. There is a sleeper villain in this novel and when I learned why Quillan is so against God and emotionally wrecked, I was surprised he survived at all. My heart broke because even though this is fiction, I know there are real individuals who carry his same burden. A strong reminder that not everyone who says "Lord, Lord" are actually FOLLOWING the Lord.

Softie Score:

Quillan has a soft-underbelly but it makes very rare appearances. Mostly with his good friend and the man's dog. There's a tender heart inside Quillan, it's just been battered nearly into oblivion, and Carina, God bless her, takes a while to figure that out.

Stupid Strikes:

There were a few times I wanted to just knock the man upside the head and go "Really, Quillan? Really? Who. Does. That???" Especially when he asks Carina one morning if she is praying for deliverance. (Old readers - don't spoil it for the new readers in the comments. Just know that I was so mad at him in that scene too.)

Swoon Score:

I love Quillan. I truly do, but he isn't going to come in orange heads blazing when he makes his first appearance. Quite the opposite actually, so be prepared for that. I told the author Kristen Heitzmann that after the scene where Quillan and Carina meet I was wondering what on earth possessed someone to think this hero was FHF-worthy. But I'm glad I kept reading because he is. He stole my heart. His pain and fears and hopes were mine. His triumphs, his failures, his grief, both remembered and endured together on the page, were mine. While I didn't always agree with him, I could understand him. And the more I understood him, the more I grew to love him. Like Carina.

About the author:

Kristen Heitzmann is the bestselling author of two historical series as well as ten contemporary romantic and psychological suspense novels, including The Still of Night, nominated for the Colorado Book Award; The Tender Vine, a Christy Award finalist; and the Christy Award-winning Secrets.
She lives in the Colorado Rocky Mountain foothills with her husband Jim and sundry family members and pets.
Visit her at http://www.kristenheitzmannbooks.com/

The FHF exclusive directly from the author:

Kristen's schedule didn't allow for our usual FHF exclusive but I so appreciate her taking the time to let us feature Quillan. I know you do too so show her some hero-girl love in the comments!

Amazon   Barnes & Noble  Christianbook.com

The giveaways: 

One copy, print or ebook (winner's choice) of The Rose Legacy, Diamond of the Rockies Book 1
Just tell me in the comments you'd like to be entered in the book drawing.

One $10 gift card to Amazon or Barnes & Noble for those who have already read and enjoyed The Rose Legacy. To be entered in the gift card drawing, leave the name of a character from the novel not mentioned in the feature or previously in the comments.

Both drawings will happen April 30th and for me to find you, be sure you leave your e-mail address in a spam-fighting format like cleartheroad (at) Crystal (dot) com


  1. Melissa JagearsApril 15, 2013 at 1:46 AM

    This is one of my crit partner's favorite books. I need to get it to read it.

    I thought, perhaps though, by the descriptions of the series I read a long time ago that these are books that won't stand alone? So did book #1 stand alone?

    1. Nancy KimballApril 15, 2013 at 9:43 AM

      Melissa, it's good. Since you're an author this will make sense but it doesn't follow the current formula. There are more POV's than the hero and heroine but it made for a richer reader experience and helped shed a LOT of light on what is really going on with Quillan inside. The Rose Legacy stood alone for me, however I can see where it does not for a lot of readers. That's the most I can say without giving too much away. Thanks for stopping by! Always good to see you. =)

  2. MarissaApril 15, 2013 at 10:16 AM

    This book looks super interesting!! Especially because it's set in Colorado. :) Quillan(what a cool name!) sounds like a manly man for sure! :) Please put my name in the hat for the book drawing!


  3. Samantha KuiperApril 15, 2013 at 11:22 AM

    I read this book a few years back and have forgotten all about it! Well, I will have to try and fix that :)

  4. SarahApril 15, 2013 at 12:01 PM

    I would love to win,Enter me!!
    Thanks for the giveaway and God Bless!!
    Sarah Richmond

  5. HeidiApril 15, 2013 at 1:20 PM

    I'd like to be entered in the drawing for the book- it sounds like a great read! Thanks!

  6. WhitneyApril 15, 2013 at 5:33 PM

    I think this may have been on my reading list some years ago? Via the amazon reviews, it looks like it should go back on. :) I am intrigued. There really isn't much to go on here, or in the summary, but readers seem to love it. I always need another book, so put my name in there. ;)


    1. Nancy KimballApril 15, 2013 at 6:40 PM

      I had to do that on purpose. While I review the hero and not the novel, there is so much suspense for the reader (and the heroine) in uncovering the secret in Quillan's past, that I couldn't risk wrecking that. This is totally "your" kind of read though, Whitney. ;-)

  7. Pam K.April 15, 2013 at 8:00 PM

    I'd like to be entered in the book drawing for a print copy of The Rose Legacy. I've read several of Kristen's contemporary novels, but none of her historical books. I would imagine they are just as good as her contemporary books. Thanks for introducing me to this book.


  8. AngiApril 15, 2013 at 8:11 PM

    Nancy, this book sounds really intriguing. Just reading what I did about the story makes me want to read any more books that may follow. And I love Quillan's name! Please enter me in the drawing. Thanks!


  9. KristenApril 17, 2013 at 11:47 PM

    Thank you so much for featuring Quillan on your hero page, Nancy. What a fun concept!

  10. Charity UApril 18, 2013 at 7:16 AM

    I greatly enjoyed another book by Kristen...and now I'm blanking on the title even though it's sitting on my bookshelves at home. I think it starts with an I, and it has the awesomest cover -- all blue and waterfall and lovely girl with amazing eyes.

    BUT. All that to say. I'd love to read another book by this author, so thanks for the giveaway! :)


  11. lorlyn63April 18, 2013 at 10:13 AM

    I would love to read this book, it is set in the time era I love and I love Colorado too. Please sign me up for the giveaway and thank you for the opportunity!

    God's Blessings,


  12. Deanna MundyApril 18, 2013 at 11:27 AM

    I would love to win a print copy of the book. Please enter me in the drawing.


  13. Rose MilliganApril 18, 2013 at 2:47 PM

    I would like to be entered to win the book. Thanks for having the giveaway.


  14. rubynrebaApril 18, 2013 at 5:06 PM

    I have not read The Rose Legacy and would love to be included in the drawing! Thanks!

  15. jojoApril 18, 2013 at 6:11 PM

    I haven't read either book but both sound terrific! I love that you are from Colorado and place some characters there. It always has been a dream of mine to live there sometime, love the western history! Please enter me into the book giveaway! Thanks for the opportunity.

  16. Angela HollandApril 18, 2013 at 8:39 PM

    I would love to win the print copy of this book. Thank you for the chance.

    griperang at embarqmail dot com

  17. eliza elliottApril 18, 2013 at 11:25 PM

    I would love to win a print copy of this book - looks like a wonderful read. Thanks truckredford(at)gmail(dot)com

  18. AnonymousApril 19, 2013 at 4:55 PM

    Please enter me to win this great sounding book.

    sonflower277 at gmail dot com

  19. AnonymousApril 26, 2013 at 8:36 PM

    I love Kristen's books and read this one when it first came out (as well as all of her books!). I would like to be entered for the giftcard. A character in the book...her fiance, Flavio, whom she caught with her sister, Divina.....don't think these characters were mentioned. Thanks for the giveaway!
    Jackie Smith

  20. Veronica SternbergApril 28, 2013 at 5:11 PM

    I'd love to be entered in the drawing. The only book I've read of Kristen's is Indelible, which was amazing, and I'm excited to read the rest. shopgirl152nykiki@yahoo.com

  21. AnonymousApril 28, 2013 at 5:29 PM

    I would love to win a print copy of this book. Sounds interesting!
    marypopmom (at) yahoo (dot) com

  22. Nancy KimballApril 30, 2013 at 11:48 PM

    WINNER!!! The copy of The Rose Legacy goes to lorlyn63 courtesy of Random.org

    The blog is growing so much we're really going to have to find a new system because it takes so long to enter you guys' names in there, LOL. It's a good problem. ;-)

    Now, to see who keeps up with me here in the comments, we did not have entries for the giftcard, so I'm going to give away TWO e-book copies of The Rose Legacy(kindle or nook) to the next two people who comment below with an e-mail addy to reach you and if you need Nook or Kindle.

    Thanks so much, Kristen and everyone for being with us. A new hero in fifteen minutes... ;-)

  23. AngiMay 1, 2013 at 10:16 AM

    Hey Nancy! Congrats to the winner of The Rose Legacy! I would still like to read this book, so please enter me for the e-book. Thanks!


    1. AngiMay 1, 2013 at 10:17 AM

      And I would need a Kindle copy. Thanks.

    2. Nancy KimballMay 1, 2013 at 10:25 AM

      It is on it's way, Angi! =)
      One down, one to go, hero-girls!

  24. WhitneyMay 1, 2013 at 12:03 PM

    Okay, like, me too, please? ;)

  25. WhitneyMay 1, 2013 at 12:05 PM

    Oops. Post first, read the ENTIRE sentence later. lol.

    road_to_avonlea_17(at)yahoo(dot)com... Kindle!