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Monday, June 1, 2009

Chance’s Return by Lucy Naylor Kubash

Chance’s Return, by Lucy Naylor Kubash
Publisher: White Rose Publishing
Genre: Inspirational; Contemporary
Length: Full (196 pages)
Heat: Sweet
Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Lily

When prodigal son, Chance McCord, returns home to the North Star ranch, he faces a tragic past and a family divided. When young widow, Casey Girard, decides to spend the summer working on the North Star near the Grand Tetons of Wyoming, she doesn't expect to meet such a man as Chance, nor to fall so completely in love with him. They both must learn to trust in each other.

Can Casey's faith and love truly bring Chance home?
In the opening scene of Chance’s Return, you can almost taste the rain, hovering in the Tetons, just waiting to explode in the fresh mountain air. And when Casey offers the drifter a ride home, the smell of the leather saddle sits heavy between them.

It doesn’t take the woodsy back home expressions, which are a bit distracting in the beginning, to let you know you’re in cowboy territory. Less would have been more, but soon, the author reverts to a less stereotypical voice pattern, with the exception of one character, and the story begins to stand on its own.

Family dynamics are daunting in real life, and Kubash does a wonderful job of allowing them to unfold between the characters in her novel. Using her heroine, Casey Girard, she gently peels back the layers of familial discontent and exposes the internal workings of this ranch family with finesse. Casey, reeling from the death of her husband, is running away from her pain with the help of the North Star Ranch, and Chance McCord, prodigal son of the owner, is running straight toward her with problems enough for both of them. But it’s a little boy, doing his best to start life over without a father, who crawls into Chance’s heart and starts the healing all three need.

If you love bigger than life masculine heroes with hearts damaged by the hardships of life, and strong, but gentle, heroines out to save, not only their own worlds, but those of the people they love, you’ll be pleased to meet Chance and Casey as they rediscover their faith and each other. You won’t be able to stop smiling when the cowboy finds he’s lassoed a feistier city slicker than he expected.

Don’t let the folksy dialect in the beginning stop you from reading on. Chance’s Return is impossible to put down from the first gulp of mountain air to the musty cabin in the hills. You’ll be glad you stayed for the campfire where more than marshmallows heat up warm and sweet.