Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Cowboy's Touch by Denise Hunter

Abigail Jones is a crack investigative reporter for her mother's magazine. She is also a twenty eight year old obsessive workaholic. Her sister doctor has seen stress and recommends rest. Much to Abigail's dismay, her mother insists Abigail spend three months in Montana visiting her odd Aunt Lucy. Montana is a very long way from Chicago, and Aunt Lucy talks to her dolls, but affection for her aunt wins out. Moose Creek, here she comes.
Aunt Lucy lives in a tenant house at Stillwater Ranch. There was no wi-fi but at least Abigail was losing her perpetual headache. While helping in her aunt's doll store, Abigail meets tearful young Maddy whose bike has been stolen and Abigail volunteers to help.
Maddy's mom died some time ago and her dad...her dad was a rodeo star and voted Sexiest Man Alive by a celebrity magazine (really). When Maddy's summer nanny backs out at the last minute, Maddy insists Abigail take her place. Handsome Wade realizes his daughter likes Abigail and gives her the job. Abigail is thrilled. Besides, the spare bed in the ranch house is much more comfortable than Aunt Lucy's couch.
Abigail finds out there are some questions about the death of Maddy's mother. Wade was questioned by the police. Then he left the rodeo scene and moved to Moose Creek. Why is he hiding out? Should she trust him?
Abigail has the idea of writing an expose on the “missing” rodeo star, an article that would save her mother's declining magazine. The only problem is that Abigail is falling in love with Wade. When Wade accidentally finds out about the magazine article, anger and distrust toward Abigail causes him to send her on her way. It looks like their blossoming romance is over.

The ending of the book was a disappointment to me. I am always pleased with a “they lived happily every after” kind of ending but this one was just not satisfying. Abigail did not have to work through issues to be reunited with Wade (someone else did that for her). Wade, amazingly, worked through all his issues, I guess, “off camera,” so to speak. And, Maddy was not present at the end. That should not have been the case. Maddy's love for Abigail was a major part of the story and to leave her out at the end, in my mind, made the romance less than suitable.
The typical romance plot is: 1) boy and girl love each other, 2) an insurmountable obstacle to the love appears, 3) boy and girl manage to overcome the obstacle and then live happily ever after. Hunter did great setting up the first two aspects of the plot but then fell short on the third. Part of a successful romance is seeing how the characters worked through the obstacle. We readers were robbed of that satisfying part of a romance.

I received an egalley of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers for the purpose of this review.

Thomas Nelson, 320 pages.

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