Romance Rides the Range By Colleen Reece

I came into this book with pretty high expectations, knowing something of the author, but unfortunately, it wasn’t my cup of tea.

My Rating: Three stars

Back Cover: Sarah Anderson refuses to become a drudge for her stepfather and his unruly children after her mother dies in 1882. Neither will she become a pawn for his indebtedness to a riverboat gambler. Sarah escapes from her Missouri home and heads for California to find her brother Seth, trusting God to keep her safe on the perilous journey west.

Matt Sterling rescued Seth from danger and taught him to become a top hand on the Sterling ranch near Madera. Betrayed by one selfish girl, Matt has vowed the San Joaquin River will run dry before he ever gets involved with another woman. He’s better off fighting cattle rustlers, floods, and drought to make his spread on of the finest in the valley.

Is love’s long lasso strong enough to overcome obstacles and rope in the runaway girl and the once-bitten, twice-shy rancher?

The Style: I think this was where I disconnected with the story. There was nothing that really grabbed me and forced my eyes to the next words. Nothing that immersed me in the setting.

The writing is rather…quick. The key incidents happen over a period of several months which forced the author to skip through the seasons so that everything would still be fresh and suspenseful. Maybe the spaces between the action is realistic, but I found myself thinking ‘get on with it, y’all’. Because of that, I skipped a lot without losing any of the story.

I also couldn’t easily relate to the characters. There were several times when I thought: ‘I wouldn’t do that’, or when I wondered how the character got from one point to the other. The couple was sweet, I guess, but I didn’t feel like I’d been taken into the depths of their soul, and shown their innermost struggles and insecurities. And I thought that their relationship was kind of stop-and-go. They carried pictures of each other before they even met, then when he proposed, she stalled. I wouldn’t call this story seamless or smooth, and that, along with the lengthy time line, was what ultimately gave it a lower rating.

Things I Liked: It was clean, there was no cussing, lewd comments, or graphic material. The main characters were Christians, and they involved God in their relationship.

The Moral of the Story… This is a Christian romance, it is clean, with numerous scripture references, so many actually, that I felt it broke up the story somewhat, instead of enhancing it. I’ve read books where the scriptures hold revelation for the characters, but this seemed more like just quoting the verses. There was belief, don’t get me wrong, just not the ‘alive’ aspect of the Word that I’ve read in other books.

Who Should Read This? As far as content, and the lack of description, this book is readable for even young teens or tweens, in my opinion.

All in All: I’m glad I read it, but I probably won’t be in a hurry to check out more of the author’s works. I am very sorry to have had to give it such a low rating, because I was hoping to like it very much.

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