The illegitimate son of a wealthy rancher, Sheriff Slade Barlow grew up in a trailer hitched to the Curly-Burly hair salon his mother runs. He was never acknowledged by his father…until now. Suddenly, Slade has inherited half of Whisper Creek Ranch, one of the most prosperous in Parable, Montana. That doesn't sit well with his half brother, Hutch, who grew up with all the rights of a Carmody—including the affections of Joslyn Kirk, homecoming queen, rodeo queen, beauty queen, whom Slade has never forgotten.
But Joslyn is barely holding her head up these days as she works to pay back everyone her crooked stepfather cheated. With a town to protect, plus a rebellious teenage stepdaughter, Slade has his hands full. But someone has to convince Joslyn that she's responsible only for her own actions—such as her effect on this lawman's guarded heart.Review:
I am usually not a fan of Harlequin romances or westerns, but somehow the love-struck crime-fighting cowboy in Big Sky Country kept me entertained. Of all the characters involved, I loved Slade (the aforementioned cowboy) the most! He's a down-to-earth, passionate man, full of rancher's dreams, and a lot of history to go with them - not to mention a lot of muscles... I found Slade to be the most well-developed character, however, I did enjoy reading about most of the characters milling about in Parable, Montana - especially Joslyn, Hutch, Opal, Shea, Boone, Jasper, and Lucy-Maude (furry friends included). Speaking of Parable's pets, I must comment on Linda Lael Miller's writing abilities, it is rare to find a book where the reader is groomed to care as much about the four-legged characters as they do for their human counterparts. I am an animal lover, so I liked the contrast between the person-to-person and person-to-pet relationships - dogs, cats, horses... they tend to bring out the "softer" (and more vulnerable) side of the people they interact with. The story is filled with rich imagery, making me yearn for the openness of the Montana skyline; if the cover-art did not thrill me, the landscape descriptions sure did! I found the dialogue simple, yet effective, although I wish that the conversations between Slade and Joslyn had not been so predictable. I enjoy a well-cultivated romance - slow to bloom, but full of promise, potential, and hidden passions - however, I thought that once Slade and Joslyn got over their history of "sideways glances" and "hidden feelings" that they moved too abruptly into a full-blown relationship. I understand that they had known each other since childhood, but there was no real "build-up" or excitement. It is unfortunate that the romance never seemed to hit a peak, because it made the ending feel rushed and unrealistic (no spoilers). I hope that Linda Lael Miller rounds up some of the loose-ends in book two of the Parable series, Big Sky Mountain, due out this August; I would love to know more about Hutch and Kendra! Overall, Big Sky Country is a nice summer romance that will warm the heart and leave readers homesick for Montana's big sky.
Rating: Bounty's Out (3.5/5)
*** I received this book from the author (Meryl L. Moss Media Relations, Inc.) in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
Linda Lael Miller is a #1 New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of more than one hundred historical and contemporary novels, most of which reflect her love of the West. Raised in Northport, Washington, the self-confessed barn goddess now lives in Spokane, Washington. Linda hit a career high in 2011 when all three of her Creed Cowboys books—A Creed in Stone Creek, Creed’s Honor and The Creed Legacy—debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. To learn more about Linda, visit www.LindaLaelMiller.com.