BOOK CLUB: Widow’s Flame

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[Total: 6 Average: 4.2]

Widow’s Flame by Australian author Jess McFarlane is a stunningly stylish dose of America’s Wild West crime fiction. It’s filled with action and adventure and a touch of romance.

Blair Ryan has grieved for 3 years for her husband, Thomas, who was murdered by an outlaw gang in America.  Her life is pointless and the only company she keeps is a bottle to see her through the pain of grief.  

As the years pass, Blair wants justice and with no help from the sherriff solving the crime she finds Colin McCarthy. He’s a fighter nicknamed “The American Outlaw” and thought to be the best in the business.  He agrees to help her, despite his suspicions that everything is not as it seems.

The duo starts the hunt for Thomas’ killer across states and townships uncovering strange circumstances and buried secrets as they progress. Can they uncover the truth before the unthinkable happens?

Widow’s Flame is fast-paced and full of action. Jess planned and executed a unique and complex plot brilliantly. I was glued to the pages from the start and loved the storyline development, it has all the elements that make a story impossible to put down. She does a tremendous job of keeping you guessing as to the identity of the murderer.

I loved the cast of characters; everyone has a legitimate role to play, and their motives and actions always felt genuine.  Jess gave sensitivity to her characters which made the story come to life and give it authenticity. 

Colin McCarthy is a man with his own story, and I loved getting to know him. “The American Outlaw” showed strength in his talent – with drive and charisma. He was aggressive and dedicated in the pursuit of results. 

Blair is a character who isn’t afraid to follow her inner instincts, and it is this facet of her personality that makes her such a compelling protagonist. She is determined to solve the mystery and catch the killer, but she didn’t bargain with what she would face along the way. I loved her feisty, determined character and could not believe she would go to such lengths to seek justice for the death of her husband.   

The description of the landscape was spectacular, the mountains, the trails, the desert.  I had visions of it in my head too so it almost took on a role of a character

Jess McFarlane has a captivating writing style that is sharp and electric filled with suspense and unpredictability.  There was not a wasted word in sight and the narrative doesn’t leave room for fluff. All this in a debut novel has left me eagerly waiting for her next one.  

This novel was utter enjoyment, and I highly recommend it.

Thank you, Beauty and Lace and Shawline Publishing for the opportunity to read and review. 

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club members are reading Widow’s Flame by Jess McFarlane. You can read their comments below, or add your own review.

17 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: Widow’s Flame

  1. Widows Flame was certainly stepping back in time to the Wild West and so very different. I really enjoyed reading this book and understood where Blair was coming from even if I didnt agree with all her reactions I still had understanding of her emotional turmoil.
    I felt this book tried to show that sometimes good people do bad things and just because someone does a bad thing does not mean that they are a bad person and cant feel remorse and have a desire to change and get their life back on track.
    It teaches us to try not to judge and to allow peoples actions to guide us in seeing the true person but at the same time trying to understand why and how they reached the point of this action.
    I really enjoyed this read. If you are looking for something a little different to read over the Easter break then I suggest you give this one a go.

    1. Thank you so much for such a well-thought review, Meedee! You’ve hit the nail on the head and I’m thrilled you enjoyed Blair’s story.

  2. Thank you to Beauty and Lace Club and Shawline Publishing for my copy.

    Wow, this book has blown me away emotionally and is a big five stars from me! The author has done an amazing job with her debut novel.
    Starting out in Galway City, Ireland 1898 it features Widow Blair Ryan. Blair is lost in a fog of grief after the murder of her husband Thomas in America. Blair and Thomas were happy in their marriage and Thomas set out to America to build them a home in Cheyenne on a ranch then send for Blair to come over once it was finished.
    This is a story mostly of two broken people that meet and go on a mission of revenge. It is also about grief, healing, love and so much more.
    Blair enlists the help of an Amercian fighter living in Ireland known as The American Outlaw. Colin McCarthy is a massive man with his own secrets and agrees to go back to America with Blair as her guide helping her to avenge her husband’s death.
    Both Blair and Colin are damaged emotionally and regularly drown their sorrows in a whisky bottle. Blair is very bitter and hard and doesn’t want to get close to anyone as she has lost a few loved ones in a short period of her life.
    The story bounces back to the past when Thomas was alive in 1895 but most of the story features in 1898.
    I was completely engrossed in the raw emotion of this story and the author did such a good job with the feels and the slow burn of the whole book had me from go to whoa! Please write another book Jess McFarlane!
    5 stars

    1. Thank you very much, Tracy! So pleased to hear you enjoyed Widow’s Flame. I will be releasing another book in the foreseeable future too! 😉

  3. Widow’s Flame by Jess McFarlane is a book about Blair, a gutsy Irish widow
    who travels with an American companian dubbed the american Outlaw, a bare knuckle fighter.
    Jess has employed Colin McCarthy to help her as they are travel to America to track down the outlaw gang that murdered her Thomas,
    she wants revenge on the gang that murdered her husband.
    In the three years since his murder, she has gone off the rails and lost interest in everything but the bottom of a whisky bottle.
    Will the rage inside her be extinguished when she tracks her husbands murderer’s down?

  4. Thank you Beautyandlace and Shawline Publishing for the chance to review ‘Widow’s Flame’ by Jess McFarlane.
    For me this book was exceptional, I enjoyed it so much and read it in record time.
    It commences in 1892 with a letter written from America by Thomas who has travelled from his home in Ireland. This is written to his wife Blair.
    He is setting up a Ranch home and Blair is to travel there when it is completed.
    He is murdered by a gang and three years later, still in Ireland Blair has not recovered from her loss, turning to whisky to dull her pain.
    She is determined that the gang must pay for their crime and enlists the help of ‘The American Outlaw’, a man who fights in pubs. (And wins!)
    He accompanies her to America where they pursue the gang members. Blair has no feelings for this man (Colin), her ultimate goal, to catch the criminals.
    It’s great to travel through America with Blair and Colin and feel part of their journey and share their individual histories.
    Such a great story!

  5. This book was a raw, wild read, a ‘Western’, even as it begins in Galway, Ireland, 1898. Blair Ryan is slowly drinking herself into a stupor every night with cheap whiskey, mired with the pain she feels for her husband’s death. He was mercilessly gunned down in America, shot dead by outlaws, and none of them have ever come to justice. And that’s killing Blair, too. On impulse she enlists the help of an American fighter, Colin, who makes a living by fighting in pubs – she wants him to help her get to America to find these murdering outlaws so she can see them hang. Both Blair and Colin have demons riding on their shoulders, and it isn’t until much later that we find out more about Colin. But Blair, oh Blair, she is incredibly driven and mad with blood lust to see justice for her dead husband. You’ll be surprised at the wild twists and turns this story takes, wow, it’s pretty crazy fierce. And what about forgiveness, Blair? Is that even possible?
    Thanks so much to Beauty & Lace Bookclub and Shawline Publishing for this review copy.

  6. Widows Flame by Jess McFarlane .
    Love a good read set in the Wild West era.
    Set in 1898 the story is about a widow named Blair Ryan who lives in Galway Ireland ,her beloved husband was murdered three years ago by an outlaw gang in America for no good reason he was making a home for them both .
    Blair is becoming a drunk drinking every night to cope with her pain and grieving for her late husband.
    Blair finds a fighter in a nearby town named Colin Mcarthy ( The American Outlaw )who loves to fight in bars and wins she enlisted him to help her find out what really happened to her late husband and get some answers with Colin they travel to America ,Blair is ravished with hatred and wants justice .
    Will Blair get what she wants what’s Colin hiding from his past .
    Will she find her husbands killers and will they pay for the murder of an innocent man .
    Well to find out you will have to read this fantastic engaging story
    4out of 5 stars .

  7. Widow’s Flame by Jess McFarlane is a story of revenge and redemption set between Ireland and America’s Wild West.

    I find Blair an interesting character, a woman with a tough exterior that hides a lifetime of emotions. Her travelling companion Colin, again a tough exterior with a heart, provided a balance that was supportive and ready to protect her in anyway he could.

    What started as a strange coupling, became a much more cohesive pairing as their tough shell melted through shared experience.

    I found some of the violence in the story a little hard to handle, but it was also these experiences that moved the story and the relationship of the main characters.

    It wasn’t a book I’d normally be drawn to, however at its heart, it was a story of redemption and finding the things that help you keep living.

    Thank you for the opportunity to read and review.

  8. Thank you Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read Widow’s Flame by Jess McFarlane.

    I absolutely loved this book!! Set in the late 1890’s this is a well written story about Blair who becomes a widow and her grief is so profound that it takes over her whole life and she goes in search of the men who killed her husband.

    She takes an outlaw with her to help her get revenge and he is a very interesting character.

    She is in the Wild West of America.

    Her journey shows how life can change you and how you can really change as a person if you want to. Just because you have done bad things doesn’t mean that you can’t be a better person.
    It also shows what lengths you may go to when you are consumed by grief.

    With great raw characters, this is a must read!! I can’t wait for the next Jess McFarlane book!!

    Highly recommend ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    1. So delighted to hear you enjoyed Blair’s story! Thank you so much for your thoughtful review, Judy! I loved your insight!

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