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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Maddie Inherits a Cowboy by Jeannie Watt

Maddie Inherits a Cowboy by Jeannie Watt
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Full Length (283 pgs)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 4 books
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

No heat. No bed. And a cow…hanging from the rafters? What kind of ranch is this? No wonder Madeline's brother only sent pictures of the stunning Nevada landscape. He couldn't very well have convinced his family he was happy in this godforsaken place. But the cold outside is more bearable than the frosty partner she's inherited along with half of the ranch. Ty Hopewell. Not exactly Mr. Social.

Never mind. She has every right to be here. She may be a city girl, but Madeline Blaine has a PhD and she's not afraid to use it. Something about this place—and this cowboy—just doesn't feel right. And she's going to figure out what it is. And fix it. Fix him, too…if she can.

This is the perfect story for readers who enjoy a well developed romance between a life weary cowboy and a stiff and proper city lady.

Madeline is a woman at a crossroads in her life. She’s coming to grips with the loss of her brother and the legacy he left behind for her. She is also under a heavy burden because everything she’s ever worked for and lived for is under the microscope and she could lose it all. That’s a lot for a woman to deal with and you’d think that was more than enough but then she meets Ty. And the icicles form.

Ty is a man carrying a world of guilt and self-recriminations on his broad shoulders and he thinks he deserves every miserable minute. He’s a tortured man with an untapped heart. He’s capable, hardworking and he’s in hiding. He doesn’t see it that way or course and that is why this story is so heartfelt.

This is a book of healing, of personal growth, and their learning to trust each other which leads to a slow tractor ride into love. It’s mostly an internal conflict with a peripheral nudge or three from the external conflict that brought Madeline to the ranch in the first place.

There’s a lot of detail about ranching and the author uses the day to day chores of ranch life to bridge the chilly silence between the two characters. Sometimes I felt it was a bit drawn out but I think I understand why the author wrote it in the style she did. In working together, they find they have more in common and even more reasons to stay apart. It gave a chance for those unguarded moments -- an unexpected smile and a husky laugh, and heated glimpse of skin that Cupid uses to bring these two characters together. There is no flash-bang moment, no extravagant over the top scene to hit readers over the head with. This story reads as how a romance would unfold in real life, step by step as each discovered hidden depths about the other and despite their circumstances, find that they can’t resist the attraction.

I like how the initial meeting of the store clerk was just the kind of reaction you’d expect a stranger to receive. I enjoyed how the relationship through each brief interaction showed the emerging of a potential friendship and acceptance. This book has so many down to earth scenes that if feels real and right. For readers who might expect a quick dash to the heat and into the sheets, be warned. This is a story about two people’s feelings – what’s in their hearts, what they fear, what they want and what they dream of. The culmination of their romance does get celebrated in the horizontal position but it doesn’t end there, it only adds another ingredient to the emotional aspect of the book.

Maddie Inherits a Cowboy is a perfect book for those readers who prefer a story that focuses on the heart and the intricate journey it has to navigate to get to the happily ever after. I wish the ending was just a bit more fleshed out because it was such an intense emotional moment; I wanted more. As it was, it read just like one of those classic 1950s western romances in the movies. For me, Ty reminded me of John Wayne and that is so cool. Read it and see why.