Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Amusing Romp in the Arizona Territory

Kate Tenney comes to Cactus Patch in 1895 hoping to become the heiress of the Last Chance Ranch. She wrote dime novels in Boston, but when the last one was banned, she had to find another way to survive. Naively, she thought becoming an heiress would involve learning the business of ranching, but she envisioned learning in an office. Miss Walker, owner of the ranch, has other ideas. Learning the business means learning to ride, mend fence, clear stalls and deliver calves. Surprisingly Kate comes to love it.

Luke Adams, the town blacksmith, encounters Kate on her first day in Cactus Patch. She's been captured by Cactus Joe, the local outlaw. Having walked to town from the train station, she's dehydrated and suffering from heat stroke. Cactus Joe drops her when she collapses and Luke carries her to his blacksmith shop where he cures the heat stroke by dumping a bucket of water on her. This is the start of a mutual attraction. Luke is ready for love, but Kate keeps backing away. If she's going to become the heiress, she can't marry. Besides she doesn't trust men.

I enjoyed the book. It's an amusing comedy. Kate encounters all the pitfalls of ranch life: falling off her horse, being chased by a wild hog, landing on a cactus and other trials, including braving a sandstorm after being captured by Cactus Joe. The opening is great fun, but I found all the accidents wearing as the book continued. I also felt the author was trying too hard to keep the lovers apart. On every other page, we have Kate's thoughts on why she can't marry.

I recommend the book if you enjoy light romance. It's a fast read with many amusing characters.

I reviewed this book as part of the Thomas Nelson Booksneeze Program.