RITA Reader Challenge Review

RITA Reader Challenge: Rancher’s Twins: Mom Needed by Barbara Hannay

B+

Title: Rancher's Twins: Mom Needed
Author: Barbara Hannay
Publication Info: Harlequin 2011
ISBN: 978-0373177257
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rancher's Twins This review was written by Renee. This story was nominated in the Contemporary Series Romance category.

The summary:     

Nanny Holly O'Mara has formed a close bond with her late cousin's little twins. When their estranged father, rough, rugged Australian cattleman Gray Kidman, arrives to take them home to the outback, Holly senses that he is out of his depth. Holly soon falls for mysterious Gray.

Seeing him light up his children's world makes her spirits leap and even begins to heal her own emotional bruises. Yet something is making Gray push her away….With her help, will he find the courage to love again?

And here is Renee's review:

First of all, let me say writing a review is HARD.  I totally have new respect for those of you who do it on the regular.

Okay, if I had to describe this book in one word, the word would be warm.

Elementary school teacher (now librarian) Holly has been taking care of her dearly departed cousin/best friend's small children for three months.  She is warm and caring and knows just what to do to make everything wonderful for the darling little moppets.  Holly is a bit of a Mary Sue and on the rebound from her high school sweetheart, but I still liked her.  She wasn't overly plucky, just doing the best she could in a bad situation.  She's been waiting for Gray, the children's father, to retrieve them from NYC and whisk them back to his Cattle ranch in Australia.  Once the parental baton is passed, she plans to nurse her broken heart and start a new job/life.

When Gray arrived to gather the children he seemed genuinely grateful for Holly's help and very nervous about his ability to raise his two young traumatized children.  Holly, not quite ready to take her finger off the giant pause button on her life, volunteers to travel with them to the Outback for the summer.  It doesn't have anything to do with the fact that she's kinda got the hots for her dear dead cousin's ex. Nuh uh.

The dear dead cousin, Chelsea, abandoned Gray on the Outback three years ago.  She was too much of a “city girl” to survive on his isolated million acre ranch.  As a result, Gray is a little gun-shy about getting involved with anyone else.

I loved Gray.  He was so earnest and vulnerable, in that strong-silent way.  I have a soft spot for blue-collar heroes, especially wounded ones, and Gray did not disappoint.  And he recites poetry!  That he makes up in his head! OMG…swoon.

I tend to read books with more sexy times, but the kissing in this one was pretty warm/steamy.

It bothered me a little that Holly didn't figure out Gray's deep dark secret sooner, because it seemed totally obvious to me.  But, when she finally did, she handled it in a awesome matter-of-fact way that it made me like her even more.  I loved the trust that finally developed between them as Gray accepted Holly's help.  The final “grand gesture” was such a small simple thing, but it was perfect in its simplicity.  I actually choked up as Gray swallowed his pride for Holly.

It also bothered me a little that most of what he loved about Holly revolved around his children.  This was addressed in the narrative to a degree, but it didn't work for me.  As a step-mother myself, I tend to avoid this kind of book.  I just can't quite suspend disbelief where the realities of blending a family are concerned.  With “Mom Needed” in the title I'm not sure what I was thinking when I bought it.

I'm glad I did.  It was warm, sweet and cozy.  Not my usual cuppa, but a pleasant afternoon diversion.


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