The Cowboy Poet by Susan Page Davis
For A Song by Susanne Dietz
Crazy About Cat by Nancy J. Farrier
Love’s Sweet Storm by Miralee Ferrell
The Reformed Cowboy by Darlene Franklin
A Texans’ Surprise by Vickie McDonough
The Wrangler’s Woman by Davalynn Spencer
Cowboy Competition by Becca Whitham
The Cowgirl’s Lasso by Jaime Jo Wright
This and Lassoed By Marriage are now officially my favorite novella collections (so far) from Barbour Publishing.When choosing whether or not to read each collection, there is generally one author’s name that draws me in. For this collection that name is Susan Page Davis, and her story did not disappoint. Bat Wilson, ranch hand, is inspired by the boss’s daughter, Rilla Lane, to write poetry – much to the amusement of the other ranch hands. A sweet, fun story that sets the tone for the collection.
In the second story, Jackson Bridge asks his Aunt Martha to send two songbirds for his “saloon.” While Lily Kimball and her sister Delia delight his daughter Georgie, they were not quite what he had in mind. A story of faith and family that had me laughing with one line:
“Gal folks,” somebody said in an awed hush. (Dietz)
Cait Sullivan excels at working with horses. Much to her chagrin, her father hires Jonas Hall to train them. Having her sister’s ex-fiance working on the ranch is difficult for her pride, and her heart.
Addie Patrick, raised like a son, is an orphan with no place to go. After a few letters, she leaves Iowa to be the bride of a Colorado store owner. Being trapped in a line shack with an injured rancher during a snow storm was not in her plans. For Grant Hollister, however, it is a good thing that he felt God nudging him to keep going until he could be.
Millie Cain has co-founded the Ladies Society for the Betterment of Culture, intent on bringing Boston manners to the cowboys of Wichita, Kansas. Little does she know that Wes, the man she has been corresponding with for a year, has joined her Learn To Be A Gentleman class to see if she can accept him as a cowboy. Everything they hope for hinges on a song.
When Trey Carpenter’s ma comes to visit his ranch, he is unprepared for the surprise she brings with her. He is even less prepared for how he feels when neighbors come courting Sadie Hunter, the penniless young widow with two daughters.
“Hmmm.” The unhelpful syllable came with raised eyebrows that said, “Character issue.” (Whitham)
With the threat his deceased wife’s sister coming to take his daughter, Josiah Hanacker hires a spinster, Corra Jameson, to turn her into a lady. Petunia (Nia) Lindley learned not to trust her judgement about men, but there is something about Toby Lane, one of the men competing to become foreman of her family ranch. Jonah Spark has come a long way from being a titled Englishman to a New Mexico rancher, but he is still a bit too proper to accept a woman as his foreman. CJ Matheson is ready to fight to win this power struggle. It isn’t her fault the ranch’s owner thought she would be a man.
Not only did she destroy all his preconceived notions of how a proper woman should conduct herself, she’d also settled her granules of personality into every crevice of his ranch. (Wright)
In a collection like this, there are often stories that you wish would be developed into full length novels. Miralee Ferrell provided a prime example with her story. It felt a bit of a jumble, which might have been partly due to the length, but it was so very sweet that I would gladly read a longer version.
I try to take time between each story so that my reaction to one doesn’t affect my thoughts and feelings about the next. Sometimes, however, the stories are strong and distinct enough that this isn’t necessary. For example, Becca Whitham’s story was a little touch and go for me at first, but had such an “awwww” ending that I was won over. Jaime Jo Wright, on the other hand, had me from the first page with her descriptions and humor.
Darlene Franklin and Vickie McDonough are two authors I have been wanting to try, as they wrote the series with Susan Page Davis that includes Captive Trail, one of my favorite books read in 2014. I was quite pleased to see that they had contributed the fifth and sixth stories in the collection, and I’ve lost any trepidation I may have felt about reading the rest of their co-written series.
If you enjoy, as I do, Historical Romance set in the Old West with faith integrated into the story, engaging main characters, and touches of humor then this is a great choice. I plan on adding a physical copy to my bookshelves in the near future. French flaps, deckled edges, and nine enjoyable romances that are just the right length to read one (or two, if you start early) in an evening. Whether you prefer ebooks or physical books, I recommend it.
The Cowboy’s Bride Collection, 9 Historical Romances Form on Old West Ranches, various authors | Barbour Publishing, Inc., March 2016 | review ebook, 450 pgs
This review refers to a review ebook read for free courtesy of the publisher through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.