January 01, 2013
Big Sky River by Linda Lael Miller
I'm not going to lie, I read Miller's books because of the covers. Oh my! Well, that and the fact that she's my guilty pleasure, I like her romances generally. This one wasn't too bad, it makes me want to go back and read the rest of the Parable series (although you don't really have to, this can be a stand-alone).
After a rough divorce, Tara moves to Parable County Montana to start life as a chicken rancher. She's sad to be leaving her stepdaughters, but life in the country is just what she needs right now. The only problem she has to deal with is the eyesore double-wide next door owned by handsome Sheriff Boone. And he's got his own problems, after his wife died a few years back he sent his sons to live with his sister. But her husband was in an accident and now the boys have to come back and live with him. He's secretly pleased, but scared at the same time. At least they'll have someone to play with though since Tara's stepdaughters are also coming for a visit. And despite her snooty ways, he's looking forward to seeing Tara a little more as well.
I have to say that Tara got the bad end of the bargain in this book. Sure Boone is handsome and helps out a little bit. But the man abandoned his kids (which is softly ignored in the book, although Tara does think about it at some point) and couldn't even keep his house up to par. I know grief does things to a person, but if you have responsibilities and can still handle being a sheriff, it shouldn't excuse you from being a parent for so long. Tara herself is wonderfully nice. She has a way with children and while I can't figure out how she's making a living at chicken farming, it still provides a background for her. There are numerous side characters that are always harping on them to not be single, which is a bit disingenuous, but maybe I'm just jealous because my friends don't set me up with handsome cowboys.
The plot was formulaic, as Miller's books tend to be. She always has a headstrong couple that doesn't like each other at first but then blossom into passionate feelings for each other. I'm not complaining, it makes for some steamy romance scenes, but if you like variety, it's probably not going to be found here. All the kids added in made this book kind of interesting too, since they added to the dynamic and the troubles that the main characters had. One element I wasn't expecting was the religious tone in this book. Miller's other books had hints of it here and there, but this one was a little more in your face than her other books, and I just couldn't wrap my head around it. It wasn't preachy, but it wasn't her normal either. But it was an entertaining read, perfect for a glass of wine and a bubble bath on a cold winters day.
So as it stands I want the cowboy on the front cover. But I suppose I'll just have to live vicariously through another one of Miller's books as soon as I can get my hands on it.
Big Sky River