Judith’s review of Last Chance Cowboy by Cathy McDavid.
The Powell Ranch is not the expansive spread it used to be. With a good part of its land sold off to developers, Gabe Powell is struggling to save his disappearing way of life. He has a legacy to leave his daughter, and starting a stud farm would give him financial stability. But first he must capture the wild horse he’s spotted in nearby Mustang Valley.
Sage Navarre is in Arizona on an urgent domestic matter that will secure her young child’s future. And as a government field agent, she’s been ordered to help Gabe track down an escaped mustang while she’s here. Working with the cowboy is an incredible experience—and Sage finds herself wildly attracted to him.
But what will Gabe say when she dashes his dreams for his ranch? Because he’s not the only one who wants that mustang.
This is another short novel from Harlequin that continues the tradition of nice short reads that fit into the busy American way of life. It is also a story that is reminiscent of the Zane Grey cowboys who lived tough lives, struggled against difficult circumstances that were often caused by the evil or disinterest of others, who had to dig down deep into themselves to find the determination and ingenuity that would make a solution possible. So it is with both the hero and heroine of this novel. Bring in the wild mustang, a daughter who is finding it difficult to adjust to life with a dad long estranged, a family in disarray due to illness and financial stress, and you have a story that almost any reader can relate to in some way or on some level.
And perhaps that is why many people still love the cowboys of the modern West, those seeming “left-overs” from a time long gone, who personify the attitudes of fortitude and determination that have become the stuff of legend. Certainly this hero had trouble in bags and barrels. So did the heroine and they were brought together by that most illusive of wild things: the American Mustang. The recent movie success Hidalgo made the American Mustang a household word and revealed their marvelous qualities to many who had previously been ignorant of them. They have long been looked down upon by the premier horse breeders of the world, yet they embody some of the finest qualities anyone would seek in a horse. That is exactly why the characters in this story wanted this particular stallion. And the story hinges on that fact.
There’s lots going on in this short work and it certainly isn’t the 5-inch thick, complicated story some readers love. It is a novel that doesn’t bore, involves people who could just as easily be one’s neighbors, yet it is a love story and a family story all wrapped into one. It will fill a quiet afternoon, or be the kind of book you can read for a bit before going to sleep. It won’t keep you awake with its horror or its unsolved mysteries. But all the same, it is a satisfying read and one that gives the reader lots of insight into the mustang and its place in American folklore. This book will please those who love horses anyway. It’s the kind of read that we all need in our library–something that is a bit more substantive than a “snack” but which won’t cause the reader to lose the appetite for heavier fare.
I give it a 3.75 out of 5
You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.