Author: Kim Fielding
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 240 Pages
At a Glance: Rattlesnake is an incredibly gorgeous love story, a story of healing and of finally coming home. I cannot say enough about this beautiful novel.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: A drifter since his teens, Jimmy Dorsett has no home and no hope. What he does have is a duffel bag, a lot of stories, and a junker car. Then one cold desert night he picks up a hitchhiker and ends up with something more: a letter from a dying man to the son he hasn’t seen in years.
On a quest to deliver the letter, Jimmy travels to Rattlesnake, a small town nestled in the foothills of the California Sierras. The centerpiece of the town is the Rattlesnake Inn, where the bartender is handsome former cowboy Shane Little. Sparks fly, and when Jimmy’s car gives up the ghost, Shane gets him a job as handyman at the inn.
Both within the community of Rattlesnake and in Shane’s arms, Jimmy finds an unaccustomed peace. But it can’t be a lasting thing. The open road continues to call, and surely Shane—a strong, proud man with a painful past and a difficult present—deserves better than a lying vagabond who can’t stay put for long.
Review: Jimmy and Shane…holy smokes. Kim Fielding’s Rattlesnake should be on your ‘must read’ list, and if it’s not, I hope it will be by the end of this review. Smartly written, incredibly tender and romantic, but never giving way to soppy, unbelievable romance, this novel is an exceptionally well done novel that grabs your heart at page one and never lets go.
Jimmy is the consummate drifter, never staying in one place more than a few weeks, rarely involving himself in the humanity that swirls around him, and never getting his hopes up higher than the grass beneath his feet. Hopes and dreams are for people who deserve such things, and never in Jimmy’s entire life has he felt deserving of anything more than scorn from his fellow man. You see that is what he grew up with—from a mother who was never certain who Jimmy’s father was and who never took the time to love her son, much less encourage him at anything, to the brutality of a stepfather who hated the sight of him, and the cruelty of brothers who wanted him gone. Jimmy has learned never to expect anything and has resolved himself to live his life seeking what lay around the next bend in the road.
So when Jimmy sees a drifter like himself alongside that road, he stops to offer the man a lift. Never in his wildest imagination did he think that the dying man he’d offered a ride would become the catalyst in a life-changing event that would bring him face to face with a man who would somehow sneak under all the barriers he’d built around his heart. Suddenly, the small town of Rattlesnake would become his new home—but not for long if Jimmy had his way, because men like him didn’t deserve a home, and thinking otherwise only led to unhappiness and pain.
Shane knew all about pain, for he lived with it every day. Recovered from a near fatal car accident, Shane now limps his way through life with a terrible secret hanging over him. Never able to forgive himself, the past haunts him, and when Jimmy lands at his bar one evening, Shane finally sees the opportunity to do something right–try to save another hurting soul. As these two men become friends and then lovers, the idea that Jimmy will be leaving any day hangs over them like a pall. Unfortunately, both of these lonely men have begun to realize that time is running out for them, and there seems to be nothing Shane can do to change Jimmy’s mind about running away once again.
There are so many reasons this novel was outstanding—I hardly know where to begin. Suffice it to say that I rarely cry at the end of novels, but I surely had the tissue box handy at the close of this one. Beautiful comes to mind, tender, redemptive, emotionally overwhelming—all these could be used to describe Rattlesnake. The real treasure here, the true gem hidden inside this book, was that these two men were so incredibly real—never whiny and yet god knows they both had reason to be so–never distant or stubborn, always so kind, caring, invested. That is the real gem, that the incredible characters Kim Fielding created are fully three dimensional and invested in the people around them, and in each other.
The secondary characters in this story were just as important to them as they were to each other. The town was central to the story, never perfect yet so accepting, so careful when watching out for one of their own–and Shane was certainly that, a young man the entire town watched over, often to his consternation. Jimmy fought tooth and nail against this loving town, this caring younger man, this tempting respite from a road that had so often beaten him down. To give in would mean that he forgave himself, that he loved himself, and that was so foreign to Jimmy for you see, it was second nature for him to loathe the man inside. When Shane and the town get too close, breach the walls around Jimmy’s heart, he has to go, to run.
Rattlesnake is an incredibly gorgeous love story, a story of healing and of finally coming home. I cannot say enough about this beautiful novel. Kim Fielding is a consummate storyteller who weaves a magic spell around two lost souls, and reminds us that if we trust with our hearts, there will always be a home waiting for us just around the bend. I highly recommend this novel to you.
You can buy Rattlesnake here: