Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Past or The Future?? "The Cowboy Takes A Bride" by Lori Wilde

Ex-champion bull rider-turned-cutting-horse cowboy Joe Daniels isn't quite sure how he ended up sleeping in a horse trough wearing nothing but his Stetson and cowboy boots. But now he's wide-awake, and a citified woman is glaring down at him. His goal? Get rid of her ASAP. The obstacle? Fighting the attraction he feels toward the blond-haired filly with the big, vulnerable eyes.

When out-of-work wedding planner Mariah Callahan learns that her estranged father has left her a rundown ranch in Jubilee, she has no choice but to accept it. Her goal? Redeem her career by planning local weddings. The obstacle? One emotionally wounded, hard-living cowboy who stirs her guilt, her heartstrings, and her long-burned cowgirl roots.

It has been said that it is impossible to keep a good woman down.  So it is with Miriah Callahan, the daughter of a Texas cowboy who was obsessed with cutting horses, and who  made the choice, early in Miriah's life, that he would rather have the horses than his family.  As far as the citizens of Jubilee, Texas were concerned, "Dutch" Callahan was the salt of the earth and one of the best men who ever walked the planet.  But then again, Jubilee was the world's cutting horse capital.  Miriah's "take" on Dutch was considerably different.  She remembers his leaving one day to go see a man about a horse, and she only saw him once more in her life--when she was 14 years old--and then he was dead.  Her anger and resentment at being abandoned and not loved, at knowing that he chose all those horses and all these other people over her and her mother, knows no bounds.  But coming to claim her inheritance was the only things she could do.  

This is a wonderful cowboy romance full of real, deeply flawed, both hurting and happy people who happened to have a view of living and friendship that is quite different from Miriah's.  She's the big city gal from Chicago and they're just small town folk who have built their lives around the joy of horses, and cutting horses in particular.  It is the story of one woman's life journey that forces her to look at herself and others with different eyes, who has to deal with her own sense of loss while not really understanding the clash between the grief over her dad as it clashes with her anger and sense of abandonment.  But there are others in this story who have loved deeply and lost, whose fear of that kind of pain keep them from venturing on in their lives, who seem content to love their horses and meet their personal needs in some superficial ways.  It is about life and death, living and loving and losing, about joy on a wedding day, and the deep sorrow and mourning of a funeral.  In other words, it is about real life.  

You won't have to be a confirmed fan of cowboy romance to love this story.  Ms Wilde has a long list of successes to her name and those who love good loving, good writing, and the riveting nature of a good story will like this book.  It is not a simplistic boy-meets-girl novel and there are triumphs and failures and crises that take the reader in some surprising directions.  So don't miss this one.  You'll be glad you gave it a go.  I give this book a 4.25 out of 5.

This novel was released by Harper Collins Massmarket in March, 2012.

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