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A Cowboy for Keeps (Colorado Cowboys) Paperback – January 5, 2021
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From the Back Cover
Greta Nilsson's trip west to save her ailing little sister, Astrid, could not have gone more wrong. First, bandits hold up her stagecoach, stealing all her money. Then, upon arriving in Fairplay, Colorado, she learns the man she was betrothed to as a mail-order bride has died. Homeless, penniless, and jobless, Greta and her sister are worse off than when they started.
Wyatt McQuaid is struggling to get his new ranch up and running and is in town to purchase cattle when the mayor proposes the most unlikely of bargains. He'll invest in a herd of cattle for Wyatt's ranch if Wyatt agrees to help the town become more respectable by marrying and starting a family with Greta. But when old insecurities and surprising revelations arise, can a union born out of desperation survive?
About the Author
- Publisher : Bethany House Publishers (January 5, 2021)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 352 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0764236393
- ISBN-13 : 978-0764236396
- Item Weight : 11 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.88 x 8.5 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #176,244 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Wyatt and Greta definitely have chemistry, and I enjoyed both. Wyatt in particular is authentic to his setting and the kind of character he is. He pulls off a great mix of manly and compassionate, intelligent yet down to earth. I don't think I've ever seen a character, especially a male, use improper grammar and colloquialisms as much as Wyatt does, yet still come off as authentic and not just some guy "playing up" cowboy status. Furthermore, I wholeheartedly believed in Wyatt's ability to love and protect Greta and Astrid from minute one.
Speaking of Astrid, I loved her. She is probably one of the best kid characters I've seen in a while. Kudos to Jody for making Astrid sick, but not pathetic or cheesy. This little girl is stubborn, fiery, rambunctious, and determined. She's also not one of these, "Oh, bless her heart, her sickness doesn't stop her" kids. Yes, it does, as it should sometimes. But Astrid never loses her personality, independence, or agency. I wish more authors wrote sick or disabled characters like her.
With all that said, A Cowboy for Keeps could be a lot stronger. Despite the fact that I enjoyed the characters, most of them, especially Greta, were usually two-dimensional. I knew, for instance, that Greta was protective of Astrid and a good baker and cook--but what else? I knew that Wyatt struck a deal with Steele and felt like a failure at everything--partially because he says so over and over--but what else? I knew Roper Brawley was a threat, but he kind of pops in and out of the story at almost random intervals, so even when he tries to ruin Wyatt, it's hard to get behind him as a credible villain.
Because of the two-dimensional characters, the romance and overall plot doesn't work as well as it should. For instance, I don't mind a passionate romance. But if Greta and Wyatt never kissed or, let's just say it, made out, I wouldn't know how or why they developed feelings for each other. They exchange basic dialogue, they pull apart for two minutes and come back--and that's it. There is little depth to anything that happens to them or that they share with each other, even when there should be. Wyatt's childhood and adolescence with Rusty, plus his plan to bring over his mom and siblings, are great examples, in that these could've held deep plot threads. Yet, even while things are happening...nothing really happens.
Some of the plot threads also feel out of place, because they're dropped or not resolved well. The biggest issue for me happened when everyone assumed Greta was pregnant--and nobody ever bothered to correct the assumption. But at the same time, Greta and Wyatt don't try to solve the problem. What if Greta actually got pregnant? What if her lack of pregnancy cost Wyatt the ranch or his herd? What if Roper Brawley was somehow mixed up in this? Nope, nothing. The same is true for other threads, like the stagecoach robbery. Jody seems to drop it back in about 70% through the book, but then nothing comes of it. The same is even true when Astrid goes missing--with tuberculosis, in the frigid mountains, for two days! You would think the pace and plot would wake up a little, but...again, zilch.
Overall then, I wouldn't call A Cowboy for Keeps a bad book, but I would call it disappointing. Jody Hedlund can do much, much better and I hope she does with other books. Maybe next time she can take the elements that worked here and probe them a lot more.
I had high hopes for this new series but I feel very disappointed after finishing this one.