Uncategorized: contemporary J.A. Beard louise crawford ramona butler Romance sagebrush cinderella western
by J.A. Beard
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Four years is a long time. When Zack Daniels returns from college to his family ranch, he’s shocked both by the exotic animals all over the ranch and the person responsible: a childhood friend now grown into her full glorious womanhood, Joy Littlebear. The already engaged Zack has to fight his growing attraction to Joy while at the same time trying to help get the family ranch returned to normal.
With its straight-forward plot, Sagebrush Cinderella is free to tightly focus on the interactions between its male and female lead. It eschews a lot of descent into dealings with subplots or secondary characters, but the interplay between Zack and Joy were more than enough to keep my attention. I’ll admit I was slightly surprised at the background scenario, in that it seems like Zack would have managed to have made it home at some relatively recent point and noticed Joy, but, that being said, it does come off as reasonable enough in the context of the story.
The writing is crisp and briskly flowing. Its economically evocative nature contributes to a leisurely reading experience.
Both Zack and Joy are painted with a nice mix of fiery strength-of-will but also genuine caring that makes them easy to like as romantic leads but also prevents them from coming off either so rude or obstinate as to undermine the interest in their potential relationship. This can be a difficult balance to pull off and any fan of romance will have read countless romance novels where it’s hard to understand how one party would ever be interested in the other due to excessive personality defects. That’s mercifully not the case here, and their clashes make for interesting drama, the occasional humor, and later nice passion. It’s easy for the reader to understand why they would find each other appealing.
At the same time, that does result in somewhat forced scenarios in certain parts of the story to inject more dramatic uncertainty. The implied love triangle established in the beginning of the story ends up more isosceles than equilateral. Depending on one’s tastes they may or may not care, but I’m personally more a fan of a bit more fight from all potential contenders as it adds a lot more dramatic intensity to the whole matter.
Sagebrush Cinderella may not be radically redefining contemporary Western romance, but it does present us with two very likable and interesting leads that you want to see get together.