This RITA® Reader Challenge review was written by Lisa. This book finaled in the Contemporary Series romance category.
But the broken-down ranch in front of him was the closest he’d ever come. Now, pregnant widow Emma Manning was struggling to keep it, her children and herself going. She could use a hand. Well, that was all burned-out musician Cash Cochran could spare.
He’d never had a woman to call his own, either…
That was painfully obvious to Emma as soon as Cash knocked on her door. And though, with her ever-growing brood and her money pit of a ranch, she was the last woman on earth he could ever fall for, he was falling nevertheless. They both were.
But what would happen when they landed?
Welcome Home, Cowboy, by the time I finally got to the end, made me think I was reading a first novel. It showed promise, but still had some rough patches. I discovered just now (upon writing) that this is one of many by the author, and now have to reconsider my grade.
I want to start with what I liked: the prose in this book jumps up occasionally with succulent sentences like this one:
“Putrid memories punched through the paneled wood door and fake-shuttered windows, trampling the riot of egg-yolk-yellow daffodils crowding the foundation, the cutesy Welcome sign beside the recently painted porch—” (10)
There is also a line in this book that references the “Magic Hoo-Hoo.” For, Behold!
“Since she somehow doubted her womanly bits, as spectacular as they might be, had any magical healing powers to repair wounded souls.” (129)
So, generally, from a technical aspect, I found the writing well-crafted and clever, and enjoyed discovering the best sentences as I waded through the book.
However, books are not built on literary devices alone, and unfortunately this one’s substance fails to live up to the standard set by its style. The plot plods along like a train—not much happens, and there are no surprises along the way. The story includes enough hackneyed details and devices to push it almost to the point of parody. It’s kind of like a Cliff’s Notes of romance novel stereotypes: Babies are born, secret and otherwise, heroines are feisty and have red hair, and heroes are haunted by the abuses suffered at the hands of an authority figure.
I think this book slides in at around a B-, higher than the boring plot warrants, but extra points given for juicy writing.