McDade Cycle, Book 1 by Cindy Bonner. Title: Lily. Author: Cindy Bonner. Genre: Historical Romance. Hardcover: 350 pages. Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill; 1st Edition (October 1992). Description (from News Bite): Loosely based on historical events and possessing a simple, frontier-legend plot-farmer's daughter and dashing outlaw fall for each other-this sensitive, winning western a la Larry McMurtry might easily attract fans outside its genre. The year is 1883. The town is McDade, Tex. Narrator Lily Delony, 15, can't stop thinking about 18-year-old Marion Beatty, kid brother of three notorious ruffians known as "the Beatty gang." Marion begs Lily, "Don't judge me by them over there" - meaning his robbing, murdering siblings - and she trusts him, risking her reputation to sneak out with him at night. When McDade's citizens organize a posse to rid themselves once and for all of the Beatty gang, Lily is torn between loyalty to her respectable family and love for her gun-totin' Romeo. First novelist Bonner credibly conveys her heroine's sincerity, bravery and naivete as well as rugged Marion's charming-yet-dangerous persona. Even readers who ordinarily shun shoot-'em-up, rough-and-ready novels will sympathize with the lovers and become caught up in this exciting story. My Review: I read a lot of western-y books back in the day. Little me enjoyed reading about my country's history. Something about early Americans trying to survive hard weather, trying to get by without much, is very fascinating.
I believe that the thing I liked most about the book was the setting descriptions. Not that there were tons, I credit my imagination. I have a set of brain pics that pop up when the book is about "the west," etc. Anyway, I like books with cowboys and farmers. So, I was kind of hoping I would like this better than I did. I was tolerant of the first 50 pages or so, but I started to get annoyed when the only development between Marion and Lily was that Lily was finding out that she really did not know her lover-boy all that well. The thing I hated the most, and it is magnified by the fact that I read a review about the second book in the series, is that Marion is a big ol' d-bag. I hate him. He is a liar. A drunk. A gambler. A thief. A rapist (okay, maybe he's only a semi-rapist). And probably a killer too. I was so frustrated at how Lily easily believed that she was in love with Marion. The second book (spoiler) tells how Lily lives with and sorta-kinda-maybe falls for Marion's brother, who turns out to be a decent, loving and caring provider to Lily and her spawn of Satan... um, I mean Marion's kid. And still she goes back to her jerk-wad man in the end. (end spoiler) I couldn't really think about finishing the book after I learned that. I asked myself, "Why bother?". Rating: Did not finish. Side Note: The reason I put the ya in parenthesis is because this book wasn't initially aimed towards young adults... I am basing this assumption on the fact that the old covers look like romance covers for adult books. So I could be wrong. I recommend this book to people who like their boys very bad, and who like old west-y type books.