This cowboy romance revolves around the thoughts and struggles of two people in a potential romance. Written from a universal point of view, we are privy to both of the main characters extensive ruminations on life and love.
Abby Knightley needs a new start after the tragedy she has endured. Enamored with Maggie's advice column touting the citizens of Wishing Spring, Abby decides to move there. As she tiredly approaches the town in the evening, she nearly runs over a cowboy chasing a loose cow. The hunk of a cowboy is Bo Monahan, expert stirrup maker and eligible bachelor. He is somewhat of a recluse, hiding from the women descending on the town because of Maggie's column and the TV special. Such is the beginning of a complicated and troubled romance. (We met Maggie in the first novel in A Four of Hearts Ranch series, Betting on Hope. You can read my review of that novel here.)
Thoroughly enjoying the first novel in this series, I was a little disappointed in this second one. Abby's troubled thinking precluded the light heartedness I liked in the first novel. And there was lots of troubled thinking. Even during dialog there were paragraphs of thoughts. And I missed the quirky characters of the first novel. Oh, they were there. They were just not very exciting as there was no new quirkiness to them.
And I did not like Bo, our hunk of a cowboy. His character seemed a bit unrealistic to me, a recluse from women but almost immediately falling for Abby head over cowboy boot heels. His early attraction for Abby seemed mostly physical. He had to back away too many times, not trusting himself. I would have liked a man with a more developed character. And that means I would have liked some attraction on Bo's part on a higher level, something like her faith or her intellect or her insights into life. By his own admission, he's not good at relationships – “good for a little fun and that's about it.” Not my kind of man.
I was disappointed in the lack of Christian influence in this novel. Bo had “gone too far” with a girl friend he had previously dated for about three weeks, resulting in a child (now about a year old). There was some remorse on his part but only because he knew sex should have more meaning. There was never any talk of sin nor the necessity of repentance. I really feel the serious nature of Bo's actions was considered lightly by all of the characters. It almost seemed like no one thought there was really anything wrong with Bo's behavior. The opportunity for a discussion on an important aspect of Christian morality that would have fit well into the plot was completely ignored.
On the other hand, there is quite a bit about alcoholism. Much, in fact. If I had to identify a moral to the story, so to speak, I'd say it was the evils of alcohol.
One of my requirements for an excellent romance is that I learn something new about a profession, place, or idea. That did not happen in this novel.
This novel is full of relationship turmoil, detailing much of the characters' thoughts. If you enjoy that, you'll like this novel.
My rating: 3 stars.
I am taking part in a blog tour of this book and you can read other reviews here.
Debra Clopton is an award-winning author of more than twenty novels. She and her husband teach the youth at their local Cowboy Church. You can find out more about her and her books at http://debraclopton.com/.
Thomas Nelson, 320 pages. You can purchase a copy here.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book for the purpose of an independent and honest review.