Jamie Lisa Forbes roped me in right away with her tale of ranch life in Wyoming.
Every day is the same for Gwen Swan. She's lost in a sea of cooking, cleaning, children and ranch life. Her daughter McKenna is a parent's dream compared to her rowdy son Rory. Her son Rory is always in trouble. She tries everything she can to get Rory on the right path. No matter how many times she preaches the value of good grades and manners, Rory still gets in trouble. Her husband Will doesn't think anything is wrong. In Will's mind, he will grow out of his bad behavior. Making him work the fields and raising cows will should straighten him out.
Gwen's father-in-law John is often the voice of reason. She sees John as a thorn in her side. She sees his words of wisdom as an attempt to usurp her parental authority. Sometimes the kids would rather be around their grandfather than Gwen. John just has a different approach. Having raised two boys, John can relate to Rory in a way that Gwen can't. Marriage to Will has hit a lull. Will is more wrapped up with the problems in his own head than his marriage. Following John's death, Will had the perfect opportunity to reconcile with his estranged brother Nick. But rather than embrace his brother, Will was more concerned with retaining ownership of the ranch. What about Gwen in all of this? She lets the family problems overtake her own happiness.
A friendship with Meg Braeburn, a fellow rancher and neighbor, offers Gwen a break from her routine. Like Gwen, Meg just seems to be going through the motions. She let love guide her life, but it only led to heartache. Meg's son Jim was the only bright spot of her failed marriage. Estranged from her parents, Meg tries her best to provide a normal life for Jim. Working as a ranch hand in town after town, Meg might have finally found a place to plant roots. Meg and Jim begin to feel like they are part of the Swan family. Before his death, John even took Meg under his wing, teaching her that's it's Ok to let her guard down. Meg is determined to prove that she is tough. She wants to prove she can hold her own in a male dominated profession. Often she is too stubborn to take help, but the Swans show Meg that she can.
Despite having more than most people, Meg and Gwen seem very lonely. Gwen has a husband to share her worries with, but Will is so self-absorbed it's hard for him to see what's wrong. Meg wants to have a loving relationship, but often thinks she is unworthy of it. Her marriage failed, and in Meg's mind she doesn't deserve a second chance. A betrayal of trust destroys Meg and Gwen's friendship, leaving both women back where they started. Can they trust another person again if it's just going to lead to heartache?
By the end of this book I was a little misty. The author went in a direction I wasn't expecting. You have to read it to get what I'm talking about. As a little side note, I have to say that this book gave me a great
appreciation for ranch life. I personally don't eat beef, but I respect
the amount of work it takes to raise and breed cattle. The book is a very emotional and powerful look into a way of life that few of us know about.
Rating: O.M.G. !!!
Note: I received a copy of the book as part of a blog tour with Premier Virtual Author Book Tours
Over the Counter #330
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