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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Reclaiming Tess by Beth Shriver

Reclaiming Tess by Beth Shriver
Publisher: Desert Breeze Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Inspirational
Length: Short Story (134 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

A wayward corporate woman finds herself again when she returns to the family ranch and renews her faith in God and her fellowman

A small town girl becomes a big-city corporate, woman who slowly forgets her roots and her faith. But when her grandfather dies, Tess revisits her childhood church, and the Lord reawakens the inspiration she once had there. Tess doesn't want three generations of her family heritage to end so she decides to leave her corporate America world and heads west. What she thinks is temporary turns out to be permanent when she is roped into a relationship with the all too helpful, handsome ranch hand, something she hadn't bargained for. But he just might be enough to keep her there.

Reclaiming Tess is as warm and inviting as a plate full of delicious, home cooked comfort food.

Tess takes a huge leap of faith when she buys her family’s ranch after her grandfather’s death. While Tess spent her childhood summers on the ranch, she is now a corporate businesswoman who knows very little about running a ranch. I admire her spunk and courage at trying something new and her resolve to keep her family’s heritage intact.

While I liked Tess from the first moment I met her, her character blossoms as the story progresses. At first, Tess has no intention of staying at the ranch long term. She intends to delegate the tasks to capable people and go back to her job in Colorado. I really enjoyed watching the countryside and the animals and people who lived there get under her skin. It was also a pleasure watching Tess reconnect with Christ. Over the years, she’d let go of her faith. After her grandfather’s death, Tess realized she needed to make a change. Surrounded by Christians who lived and breathed their faith, Tess’s old family ranch proved to be the perfect place for her to rejuvenate her faith.

Colt is certainly a country gentleman. He’s a hard worker who genuinely loves the land and animals he works with. I liked the fact that he never made Tess feel out of place on the ranch. He did everything possible to make her feel at home and help her get to know the routine on the ranch. He also served as a guiding light for Tess on her way back to Christ. The chemistry between them is great. It started off as a small spark of attraction and developed into a steady, glowing fire. I have no doubt that they are on their way to a beautiful happy ending.

I do feel that Ms. Shriver only scratched the surface concerning most of the secondary characters. The ranch was inhabited by a diverse group of interesting people from all walks of life and I would have liked to get to know some of them a bit better. Of all the secondary characters, Tess’s grandmother is the most developed. She is a fiery country woman who challenges what most people feel a Christian ought to be. While she is a bit brash at times, she is certainly entertaining.

Ms. Shriver’s portrayal of country life is idyllic. Everything from the land to the food seemed to be better in the country. Even the problems Tess faced on the ranch were presented as “better” than the ones she faced in the city. While I don’t think this presentation is entirely realistic, it did make me want to slip into the pages of the book and visit Tess on her ranch.

Overall, I enjoyed reading Reclaiming Tess. It is an endearing romance with a beautiful Christian message about love and second chances. I recommend it to anyone looking for an inspirational tale that will leave them feeling warm and cozy.