Rachel's Eyes features characters from the author's western historical romance novel, Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold. Rachel Miles Ross has shunned her former best friend, Anne Wells Bennett, since the day of Anne's marriage to half-breed Cord Bennett. Yet when Rachel's life crumbles around her, she turns to Anne for help. Anne can give sympathy, but Cord is the one whose help Rachel really needs. Will he help a woman he considers an unworthy friend and first-class snob?
I had to think a bit about this story before I could write a review. My initial reaction was that it was not really a "short story" in that it almost reads like a mini-novel. But as I thought about it, I was able to accept the fact that this story was created to fulfill a specific purpose: to be a spin-off from a novel. TV shows have "webisodes" these days, so why shouldn't a novel have a short spin-off? A very intriguing idea and an interesting approach to the short story genre.
That being said, I very much enjoyed O'Connell's writing style. She creates characters and situations that have a down-to-earth feel to them. Our hero, Cord, gives the impression of being realistic rather than romantic. While this story is a spin-off, O'Connell does a fantastic job introducing relationships in a way that makes this story stand-alone. Past history is implied, but not necessary to know about in order to appreciate what is going on now in the story.
Though I have not read any of O'Connell's other work, "Rachel's Eyes" has certainly piqued my interest. It is an impressive feat to create a story that both stands on its own and be a taste of a larger body of work. Well done and a recommended read if you like western romance.
Reviewed by Alain Gomez