Book Review: Johanna Lindsey’s All I Need is You

Posted June 16, 2015 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Johanna Lindsey’s All I Need is You

All I Need is You


Johanna Lindsey

historical romance that was published by William Morrow on December 1, 1997 and has 384 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Second in the Straton Family historical western romance series and revolving around the Straton family. The couple focus is on Chandos and Courtney’s daughter, Casey, and Damian. It’s 1892 in Texas.

My Take

How very disappointing. I expected so much more from Lindsey, but most of the story was tell with very little show. I was expecting a story more like A Heart So Wild, 1, in which Lindsey grabbed hold of me and pulled me in. This one? Well, I wanted to read more about Chandos and Courtney, find out how their lives turned out. They’ve got their HEA even if Chandos finds it boring. As for Casey and Damian, it is a cute read, and I do love a primary protagonist who will not accept second place — yay, Casey! As for love, well, there’s that lack of show again ’cause I sure didn’t feel it. I didn’t feel much at all, really.

There were a number of places where I expected Lindsey to wring out that tension. Then I was expecting to read more about Casey’s affection for Old Sam. Casey was all I expected in a Chandos-Courtney offspring — feisty, confident, and good with a gun. I liked her. She was TALENTED and, lol, spunky. I want her on my side.

Chandos, however, was not very believable. I liked that he was willing to give his daughter some space, but his insistence that she was too young…how old was he again when he first rode onto Fletcher Straton land? Then there’s that firm expectation that she should up and get married? No. Of course, if she isn’t old enough, ahem, to run the ranch, how can she be old enough to get married and start poppin’ out kids? *eye roll* Hypocrite much? I do appreciate that Chandos rides out to keep an eye on her, and lets her roll her own way. Which is another lost area for tension.

Lindsey starts out a tiny bit slow as she sets the character of the characters and puts them in motion to encounter each other. It is a trope how they meet, but Lindsey twists it nicely and makes it fun. There are a couple of other tropes that she doesn’t twist. They are minor and don’t impinge much on the story. There were, however, a couple of tropes that did drive me nuts: Damian being unable to speak about his feelings and Casey running off every chance she gets. Lindsey didn’t even try to put a twist on these. If she’d at least have given them some emotion, some show, had her characters agonize about what to do, it might have made a difference. Instead it brings the story down.

What was with Damian’s temper? There was one mention that he used to bop kids in the nose when he was young, and his dad had a stern talking to with him, but otherwise nothing. He comes across as a cipher. Rigid, unyielding about his clothes. He seemed to be an intelligent man — and Lindsey TOLD us through his ignorance of camping and riding that he was a dude — but how can he possibly imagine that his eastern clothes will function well in the west? How does he not think that blending in is a better idea? Nor do I understand why he erupts so easily over everything.

It’s misinterpretation and a good lesson in why it is so important to communicate clearly. The conflict between Casey and Chandos isn’t the only misinterpretation when Damian ends up owing his life over and over again to a young kid he assumes is a bragging cowboy.

“‘How dare you be a girl?’

‘I don’t think I had much choice in the matter.'”

We do find out that Fletcher died about a year ago, and that Sawtooth is currently in charge of the ranch. I’m surprised he wouldn’t be willing to back Casey up. But what happened to Maggie? Not even a mention.

The Story

The fate of Fletcher’s Bar M Ranch is in question, and Sawtooth has been, temporarily, managing it since Fletcher’s death. It’s Chandos’ attitude that sends Casey out. It’s a challenge, and she’ll prove she’s ready. She’ll make her father eat his words!

Damian has his own quest. One of vengeance against his father’s killers.

He’s destined to keep gettin’ in K.C.’s way, although he does have a few surprises for K.C.

The Characters

Casey, a.k.a., Kid or K.C., is Chandos and Courtney’s seventeen-year-old daughter, and she’s feeling her oats. Old Sam is the colt Casey raised and trained from age twelve. Tyler is Casey’s older (by one year) brother, who is going to be a lawyer; Dillon is fourteen. Fletcher Straton was Chandos’ father and the kids’ grandfather. He owned the Bar M Ranch. Chandos and Courtney have been running the K.C. Ranch for years (read their story in A Heart So Wild). Sawtooth was the foreman for the Bar M Ranch before he retired. Dr. Edward Harte is still alive but retired.

Damian Rutledge III, heir to Rutledge Imports, is a know-it-all Eastern dude with absolutely no clue about the wild west. Winnifred, the heir to C.W. & L. Company was the socialite to whom he was engaged. Damian II was our Damian’s father. Henry Curruthers was Rutledge Import’s accountant.

Out West

The fancy (and chatty) Luella Miller of Chicago is trying to get to Fort Worth. Billybob and Vince are the hapless stagecoach robbers. The Dalton gang includes Robert, Emmett, and Grattan Dalton (former U.S. marshals), Bill Doolin, Charley Pierce, and “Bitter Creek” George Newcomb. Mr. Melton is a horse trader. Judge Roy Bean is quite arbitrary and more interested in a buck than justice.

“If one of his pals shoots someone, he figures out a way to acquit them. In one of his … decisions, he ruled that the victim shouldn’t have gotten in front of the gun his friend was firing.”

Jack Curruthers is running for mayor. Jed and Jethro Paisley, Elroy Bencher, Candiman, and Mason are no-good gunmen who work for Curruthers. Larissa Amery is the schoolmarm who doesn’t like Curruthers.

John Wescot is a dentist. Bucky Alcott is a range cook for a local ranch. Pete Drummond is a tenderfoot who now sells firearms.


Milton Lewis‘ brother is a mine of information. Margaret Henslowe is a rich widow.

New York City

Sergeant Johnson was with the Twenty-first Precinct in New York.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a soft gradation from a cold yellow at the bottom up to a soft orange at top. The author’s name is the largest text and at the top while the title is smaller and at the bottom. Both use a gold embossed font in all-caps. Separating the text is a deep red, embossed and stylized sun.

The title might be better as “all I need is some show, instead we’ve got All I Need is You. Maybe Lindsey needs us to accept this story as is.