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Wendy the Super Librarian‘s review of How A Cowboy Stole Her Heart by Donna Alward
Contemporary Romance published by Harlequin Romance 04 Oct 11

In the pantheon of dippy titles slapped on romance novels, this one is pretty tame.  That said, it’s almost more annoying for me to find a generic title slapped on a story that is anything but, not to mention that said title really doesn’t “fit” the story at all.  What will readers find instead?  An emotional roller coaster of a read, one that left me mentally wrung out by the close of the final chapter.

Megan Briggs is back on her family’s ranch after undergoing chemotherapy treatments in Calgary.  Meg has a supportive family, but it’s a family she doesn’t want to worry.  They have a ranch to run, and her being sick is a major wrench in the works.  So yeah, she “runs away,” even though she claims that’s not what she’s doing.  But now she’s back, minus one breast, with a clean bill of health, at least for the time being.  Cancer is something she’ll have to deal with for the rest of her days.  She also has to deal with her brother’s BFF, Clay Gregory.  A neighboring rancher, Meg has had a crush on him for years.  But between his not being happy with her Calgary move and the fact that she’s “his best friend’s little sister” – we have a major case of unrequited love.  That is until Clay starts to suspect that the reason he was so angry with Meg for leaving has everything to do with how he really feels about her.

I’ll admit that I’m a bit of an angst-junkie.  What I tend to like about Donna Alward’s HRs is that she excels at writing what I call “believable angst.”  It’s not over-the-top soap opera. No, this is stuff that could happen in real life to people you know (or even yourself).  Meg’s fears over her cancer, the aftermath of surviving this first round feel very real and authentic. I also appreciate that she’s unwilling to roll over and play dead.  She’s determined to live her life.  In some regards, this does give her an air of stubbornness.  Honestly, our girl is really stubborn.  Especially when it comes to letting people in, letting others help her, be there for her.

Clay has baggage left over from his father’s illness/death and his mother’s abandonment.  For those reasons, he’s not exactly the most emotionally open person.  He doesn’t really “see” Meg until her cancer, and then what he does see scares the hell out of him.

Sometimes with this author’s work I find that while I “understand” her characters, I still find them frustrating to the point that I want to shake them senseless.  I “got” where Meg and Clay were coming from with their respective baggage, but it didn’t make it any less frustrating at times. Readers just have to go along for the ride and trust that the author is going to deliver on the happy ending, which she does.  They also have to have a fairly high tolerance for self-sacrificing characters, especially Meg.

On one hand, I want to smack the couple and on the other I love the angsty and emotionally exhausting roller coaster ride they take me on.  If you’re looking for light and fluffy, this ain’t it.  But if you’re looking to grab a handful of tissues?  What are you waiting for?

Wendy TSLGrade: B-


From best friends… to bride and groom?

Clay Gregory’s known Megan Briggs her whole life, and he’s been plenty worried about her while she’s been getting medical treatment. Now she’s back home and hiding away on the family ranch.

Knowing the stubborn cowgirl won’t accept his help willingly, he invites her to a family wedding to help him avoid his aunt’s matchmaking!

He plans to remind Meg that she’s still the girl who can beat him in a horse race! But as she steps out in her curve-hugging red dress, her skills on a horse are suddenly the last thing on his mind…

Read an excerpt.

Other books in this series: