Gunpowder Tea – Review

Gunpowder Tea By Margaret Brownley:  A Review (The third book of the Brides of Last Chance Ranch)

Heiress wanted: Inquire within…

When Miranda Hunt, a Pinkerton detective, flubs on her latest case, she has one last chance to prove herself in an almost all male business.  Out west The Phantom is an elusive train and bank robber who may or may not be hiding at a cattle ranch in the small town of Cactus Patch. Sent to the Last Chance ranch in Arizona, she disguises herself as Annie Beckman, an heiress in training for the position at the ranch, owned by crusty woman rancher, Eleanor Walker.  Unbeknownst to her is also a Wells Fargo detective, the handsome and charming Jeremy Taggart, undercover at the ranch, disguised as the newest ranch hand, Branch.

Sparks fly between Annie and Branch as both seem to have ulterior motives to just being at the ranch.  Annie ends up being Ms. Walker’s caretaker after a disasterous first impression that leaves the ranch owner bedridden.  Now it’s up to Annie to care for the sharp woman and hunt for the Phantom, and manage to keep her eye on Branch without falling for him.  Will she ever catch the Phantom?  Will love triumph?  Will Annie ever be considered a first rate Pinkerton?  Tune in to Gunpowder Tea to find out.

While the premise of this book was charming and it had plenty of potential, I found the story lacking in several departments.  Many times I was lost as to what was actually happening because out of nowhere some fact would come in that didn’t relate to anything I knew about and I had to flip back pages to see if I could make sense.  There were several editorial issues, things I felt any editor should have caught right off the bat.  Now I realize that this book is part of a trilogy, though when I requested it I didn’t know that, but it was not written so that anyone could just pick up the book and read without knowing some back story. I thought the author could have included a bit more back story on the whole “Heiress wanted” issue without a whole plot, just so I knew what was going on.

Personally, I’ve read Harlequin romances that were better written than this book.  While I liked the premise of the plot, it was all quite confusing and a tad predictable.  One thing I’ve noticed with Christian writers is they leave out too much information and I’m left wondering what the heck they are getting at.  It’s like they are more concerned with the morality of the character than they are on writing a really good story. Not just a good story because of plot, but the common overall picture.  One thing in particular that caught my attention was here you had a Pinkerton detective that was concerned with the morality of listening to gossip.  Oh my gosh!  We can’t possibly listen to gossip because it’s ungodly.

But you are a detective.  What else are you going to do to find out information?

I hate to give a bad review, but this is not one I would say was great.  Cute. Yes.  Quick to read.  Definitely.  If you are looking for something that doesn’t really delve into the meat of a story or character, then this is it.

I’d say 2 out of 5 stars.


This book was provided for me to read through Thomas Nelson and for my honest opinion. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Signing off