Posted in Author, Romance, Western

InD’Tale Magazine Review

I am very thrilled to have received a 4 1/2 star review from InD’Tale Magazine and a Crowned Heart Award for Excellence for Blind Acceptance.I would like to thank Margaret Tanner for being my critique partner, friend and mentor. She helped polish my story and kept me on track.


Blind Acceptance

Susan Horsnell

Luke Johnson loves his Texas ranch. It’s a family tradition that he wants to pass down to his son, Phillip, and has since the day he was born. Luke had always hoped his wife would warm to the ranch but she never did – she longed for the city and eventually took a lover. When she decides to escape the ranch life and flee to the city with Phillip, they’re in a terrible accident that claims her life and Phillip’s sight.

Luke is devastated by the loss of Phillip’s sight. For him, it’s just short of a death sentence. All of his dreams for his son and his ranch are shattered—until  he’s presented with Rachel Grey. Is she the answer to unlocking a life for his son and, just as importantly, can she heal his hardened heart?

“Blind Acceptance” is a tender story of devotion, family love and the determination to persevere. The father/son relationship is particularly heart-warming and the love story between Luke and Rachel is sweet. Horsnell’s characters and her settings create a homey environment that invites one to snuggle in and feel part of the family. With the perseverance presented in “Blind Acceptance”, one could easily be inspired to re-examine their own struggles and find new strength and determination to soldier on.


Blind Acceptance

Braille: A system of raised dots which enables the blind and visually impaired to read.

Developed in France by Louis Braille, in 1824 when he was just 15 years old. Braille writing was taught with the use of a metal slate, paper and a wooden handled awl. Raised dots were pressed into the paper to enable the blind and visually impaired to read.

Louis then developed Braille musical notation and published a book about this in 1829.

This book is a work of fiction and although some details are accurate some have been embellished for the sake of the story.


Braille Chart


Texas 1869

“Marie, will you please just consider it?” Luke asked for the third time in twenty minutes. He was tired of constantly having the same argument with his wife.

Marie stood with her hands on her hips and pursed her lips as she listened to Luke plead. “For the last time; I am not going to home school Phillip. I have better things to do with my time. If Meg can’t teach him any more then he will go to school.”

Luke watched as his wife stormed from the room. He would not let Phillip be sent off to a boarding school in Austin, he wanted to teach his son about life on a ranch.

It was the life Luke loved and he hoped his son would too. If Marie wouldn’t home school their son then he’d hire someone who would.

Marie was such a restless soul; he should never have brought her from Austin to live on his isolated ranch.

She was city born and raised, the only child of a wealthy banker and his wife, and she was more suited to the contacts and social life the city provided.

In the beginning, because of her loneliness he had encouraged Marie to visit the city, but over the last couple of years he suspected she had a lover.

Their marriage was far from perfect; in fact it was a disaster, but to cheat on him with another man. The pain of betrayal was like a knife twisting in his gut.

Years before he’d fallen in love with her beauty and spirit but it was this very spirit that had begun tearing them apart after only six months of marriage.

They had not shared a bed or a bedroom for years, an arrangement that suited them both, and they avoided each other at every opportunity.

Luke wasn’t sure what he felt for Marie any more – indifference, contempt, sympathy; it most certainly wasn’t love. As the mother of his son he had told her he would give her a home with him for as long as she wanted but he refused to pay for lodgings in town where she might be at the beck and call of a lover.

He’d made it quite clear that if that was what she wanted she would have to find a way to pay for it herself or have her lover pay. Phillip would most definitely not join her.

Marie hated the ranch and she had used every trick at her disposal to try to make Luke sell and take her back to the city. It was all to no avail so she had resolved to stay until Phillip was old enough to be sent to a boarding school in the city; that time had finally come.

She had steadfastly refused Luke’s request to allow him to grow up on the ranch. She had said she would not allow her son to grow up in such a backwards place that afforded him no opportunities.

She knew Luke was tired of arguing over it and the sooner she had Phillip ensconced in his school, the sooner she would be free to settle in the city and begin living her life.

Luke strode into the kitchen and found Phillip clutched tight to the bosom of Meg – his cook/housekeeper, and up until now, Phillip’s teacher.

When Phillip noticed his father he disengaged himself from Meg’s grasp and ran to where Luke had crouched down and now held his arms outstretched. Luke swept his son up and held him close as he stood and walked into the parlour.

“Did you hear pardner?” Luke was becoming concerned with the effect the frequent arguments were having on their impressionable child.

The arguments seemed to be disrupting the household more and more and Luke was grateful that Meg protected Phillip from them as much as she could.

“You arguing again?” his brother, Nathan, asked as he marched into the parlour seconds behind Luke. “I heard you clear on over to the corral.”

“Yeah; Marie is still insisting on sending Phillip away to school but I just can’t let it happen.”

“Big brother, you can’t force her to keep Phillip at home and teach him. She wants to go back to Austin herself, you know she isn’t cut out for this life.”

Luke looked thoughtfully at his brother. Nathan had fallen in love with Marie the first time he’d met her. He had told Luke repeatedly for the first couple of years they were married that if Marie was his wife he would give up the ranch and take her off to a city for the life she so desperately wanted.

If Nathan didn’t love and respect his brother as much as he did, Luke thought he might have saddled up with Marie and headed off to Austin a few years ago.

Fortunately, as Nathan had grown older he’d also grown wiser and he could see Marie now for the woman she was. He told Luke she was everything he didn’t want in his wife.

Luke couldn’t, and didn’t want to, leave the ranch he loved more than anything else in the world; except for his son. His father and grandfather had worked hard to build the Circle J Ranch from nothing when they’d first arrived out west from Tennessee. Luke was convinced it was Phillip’s legacy he protected.

Marie could do what she liked.

He’d gladly give her the divorce she’d been asking for lately, but he would never give up his son.


Marie stomped upstairs and angrily threw some of her belongings into a large suitcase, she would send for the rest of her things once she was settled. “I will not stay on this Godforsaken ranch a minute longer than I have to.” Her clothes were becoming more and more crumpled as she continued to stuff as much as she could into the case. “I am leaving this place tomorrow and I am never coming back.”

Once she was satisfied she had what was needed, she sat on the lid of her suitcase forcing it closed and managed to secure the clips and the straps. She placed the case near the door and stormed across the hall to Phillip’s room.

She pulled a suitcase from under his bed and placed it onto his mattress. She took more care folding his clothes. It wouldn’t do for the school mother to see she’d only thrown them all in.

Marie had been planning her ‘escape’ from the ranch for more than six years now. She had prayed for the time to pass quickly so Phillip could be sent off to school. She couldn’t wait to finally be with her lover of five years in Austin.

While she stood folding Phillip’s clothes she pondered how she had let herself fall for a man like Luke Johnson She admitted she had been cossetted and spoiled all her life, protected and hovered over by her doting and wealthy parents.

Luke was earthy, unrefined and dangerously exciting to her as a girl of 18 and she’d fallen in love with his handsome good looks and his tall sculpted body.

She hadn’t considered what life on a isolated ranch would be like. She’d been horrified when he’d brought her to his home as a new bride. It was half an hour from Austin by horse and an hour by wagon.

Marie had been used to living in the centre of Austin where she could indulge in the fast paced lifestyle of 1880 whenever she pleased. She was adamant that this savage wilderness just would not do and she began to develop a plan for Luke to sell and take her back to the city.

None of Marie’s plans were successful. Threats, tears and cajoling didn’t get through. After she’d given birth to Phillip she’d been forced to stay longer than she’d expected.

Marie knew how much it would hurt Luke to have Phillip taken away but was determined to make him as unhappy as he’d made her.

The years had taken her love for her husband and turned it into a deep seated hatred. She wanted revenge, and depriving Luke of his son was the way to do it. She was finally on the verge of getting her much longed for freedom and no-one, neither Luke nor Phillip, would stand in her way.

After closing Phillip’s case she carried it to her room and placed it on the floor next to her own. “Just another few hours my darling, Jack and we’ll finally be together.”

Marie lay on her bed to rest before supper.

Available in Paperback from the Amazon Store:


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Western Romance has always been my first love but I also write hot contemporary romance under my pen name A.L. Simpson. In my Westerns I love to write about knock ‘em down - drag ‘em out fights, outlaws, bank robbery, stage hold-ups and romance. In my Contemporary’s I write f/m, m/m and m/m/f. I usually draw on experiences for these and they usually cause more than a few tears for the readers. When I am not writing I enjoy walking our dogs – 2 elderly Jack Russell Terriers - with my husband and travelling both overseas and in Australia. Susan Horsnell Links: Blog: Web: FB: A.L. Simpson Links: Website: Blog: FB:

4 thoughts on “InD’Tale Magazine Review

  1. Susan, congratulations on the fabulous review! A blind child is a heart wrenching character, but so was his father. My dad was blind the last 15 years of his life, so that is a subject important to me. Looking forward to the next book.

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