Teagen McMurray would ride to hell and back to protect his land. He’d certainly never felt that way about a woman. Not, at least, until Jessie Barton showed up with her three little girls, desperate for a place to stay. Suddenly he found himself proposing marriage, telling himself it was only to protect her and her children.
The McMurray siblings lost their parents at a very young age. Teagen, the oldest, was not yet 18 years old… as a result, the three boys had to fight hard to keep the ranch theirs in addition to raising their baby sister. Years later, Teagen is an adult, his two younger brothers have married, his sister has already gotten her heart broken. The situation has changed, but not everything. Teagen has grown into a man of few words, terse and somewhat rigid. Deep down, he’s a good man, but not one that is used to express emotions and feelings. He was burdened with great responsibilities as a young man… he doesn’t seem to resent his past; however, it did mold him into the man he is now. His only outlet seems to be books and his only friend, a bookstore owner from Chicago.
Jessie Barton has just lost her husband. Her mother-in-law is threatening to take away her three little girls… Jessie’s only solution is to run away… to Texas. She seeks refuge at Whispering Mountain, with Teagen. Unknown to Teagen however is that his long-time friend from Chicago is not Eli Barton, Jessie’s husband… but Jessie herself.
I enjoyed this book very much. As I said, this is not a typical western romance with cowboys, saloon, etc. The book focuses on the characters and the land more than the time period… What I liked most about this book is the pacing. Ms Thomas does not rush thing and the story occurs at its own pace. Some might think it was a tad too slow, but I thought it was nice and made this book stands out a little. I also liked that Teagen did not change overnight and he did not transform into this loving man at the sight of the kids. Authors often use children to soften heroes and while I enjoy it most of the time, it just didn’t seem to fit with Teagen. Ms Thomas was clever enough not to push this issue… Same thing with Teagen and Jessie. It was not love at first sight… although Teagen did warm up to Jessie better and faster than with the girls. Both shared a love of books and the connection seems natural.
I liked how Ms Thomas meshed the love story with the action. It fit and made the book more exciting. You kept wondering what would happen, would the ranch get attacked, etc. I enjoyed seeing the secondary characters without having them play too big of a role and overshadowing Teagen and Jessie. In the end, I think that Teagen and Jessie’s relationship was very sweet… I liked seeing Teagen cares about something else than the ranch. My favorite part was probably when Teagen discovers Jessie puking in the weeds and he asked her what she had…
My Grade: 4.0/5 (B+). People who enjoy Ms Thomas’ previous books will definitively enjoy this one as well 🙂