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REVIEW: The Rancher Meets His Match by Patricia McLinn

The Rancher Meets His MatchDear Ms. McLinn:

Your books were recommended to me by another author, Shannon Stacey, when your new direct to the reader bookstore came to my attention. I bought five books: Hoops, The Games, A Stranger in the Family, A Stranger to Love, and The Rancher Meets His Match. I started with The Rancher Meets His Match even though it is book three in the Bardville, Wyoming Trilogy.

Dax Randall has been raising his son, Will, since his wife and Will’s mother walked out on them when Will was a baby. He’s eschewed regular female companionship and this appears to be having a negative impact on Will. At fifteen, Will’s friends are starting to show interest in females but Will is not. Will is withdrawing from teenage group activities and what interests he had previously shown outside of ranching activities have waned. Dax is concerned because Will’s “isolation from his friends and his loneliness had become almost palpable.”

June, Dax’s sister, points out that Will is Dax’s shadow and has been since the day he was born. What Dax does, Will does. Dax appears to be a hermit with no need for companionship and thus Will believes he has no need for relationships with other people, either. While Dax is willing to do anything to prevent Will from suffering the emotional pain that Dax went through when Will’s mother left him, he realizes that a loving relationship is possible for some people and he wants Will to have a chance.

Dax begins, awkwardly, to woo a vacationer staying at the local B&B. Hannah Chalmers works for Boone Dorsey Smith’s company in North Carolina. Boone lives part time in Wyoming with his new wife, Cambria, and has extolled the beauty of Bardville to his employees. Hannah agrees to come to Bardville for a working vacation. Hannah, like Dax, has been a young, single parent except Hannah’s siblings were who she raised.

While I appreciate Dax’s dilemma, I was a little put off by the cold and calculated way in which Dax went about flirting with Hannah. His motivation wasn’t based on honest attraction but because he wanted to provide an example for Will. Hannah’s motivation for flirting back, though, was similar. She had been out of the dating game for years, still burned by her divorce. Yet, when Hannah turns down his awkward offer for a vacation romance, Dax is disgruntled but not deterred. “[H]e hadn’t run a ranch all these years by giving up easy. He’d change her mind.”

What was charming was seeing the two of them stumble about each other. Their first kiss involved actual “thump” of each other’s noses. “The kiss was like Dax–a little rough, a little awkward, a lot confusing.” But as the fake flirting deepens into real feelings both Dax and Hannah have to deal with their relationship hangups. Dax has to come to terms with his poor relationship with his mother, who had left him on the ranch with his father to move to town when Dax was a boy. Hannah keeps trying to change Dax to make him into the man she thinks she wants him to be.

I really felt Dax and his connection to ranching and how it defined him.   Hannah was less full bodied.   I know that she had a failed marriage and that she raised two kids but it was hard to say what she wanted out of life or where she was going.   She fell in love with Dax easily and had no conflict with leaving her home in North Carolina.   There were areas in which she could have been drawn more boldly but everything seemed to revolve around Dax.

While this book was originally published in 1998, it did not feel dated. I think it is because it takes place in Wyoming and on a ranch, places with which I am not familiar. Even so, the relationship challenges Dax and Hannah struggle with are fairly universal. It’s hard not to like Dax, appreciate his deep love for the land, and to recognize that Hannah with her light heart and good intentions are the right match for him.   At $2.00, it’s a worthwhile read.

Best regards,


| Book link | A Writer’s Work

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Tweets that mention REVIEW: The Rancher Meets His Match by Patricia McLinn | Dear Author: Romance Novel Reviews, Industry News, and Commentary --
    Mar 24, 2010 @ 08:02:37

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Elizabeth Vail, dearauthor. dearauthor said: New post: REVIEW: The Rancher Meets His Match by Patricia McLinn […]

  2. Patricia Rice
    Mar 24, 2010 @ 08:23:32

    I follow Dear Author simply because of your reviewers’ willingness to try the variety of e-books and e-book sites slowly forming out here in frontier territory. Thank you!
    McPat (Patricia McLinn) has worked hard to establish and I’m happy that you’ve recognized her as well as her accomplishment.

    I’m still trying to figure out how we can develop a shopping mall of e-book sites under one banner to make it easier for readers to find the variety available. But sites like Dear Author are invaluable in spreading the word!

  3. Shannon Stacey
    Mar 24, 2010 @ 08:35:22

    Your ability to start with book three of a trilogy perplexes and impresses me. I would start twitching and then my hands would shake and then my head would explode.

    I am SO thrilled Pat is re-releasing her out of print backlist. Her Silhouette Special Editions have always been among my very favorites.

    And for western lovers, Widow Woman is a historical western, originally published by HH in 1998. Go grab it!

    I have all Pat’s books formerly published by Harl/Sil in print, but I need to get over there and buy up the digital copies for a re-reading binge!

  4. Tabby
    Mar 24, 2010 @ 11:28:54

    What an awsome idea for a site–I hope it catches on to give authors and readers more options. I have to say that while I like the idea of the site I didn’t really consider buying anything when I went there because the lack of information about the books was a little off-putting for me. At a minimum I would want the date and previous publishing history (especially since I guess the covers have been changed?) of the books for sale and a word count/novel length included on the summary page–any other info. (like the genre) would be great too. But who doesn’t like a bargain? I’ll be sure to check back later to see if anything catches my eye.

  5. Estara
    Mar 25, 2010 @ 11:12:57

    Okay, a new place to explore *goes off* but I would like to mention another writer’s collective selling directly to the reader – of science fiction and fantasy authors at | BVC eBookstore |

    And they’ve even written an all new steampunk short story anthology called Shadow Conspiracy together! Which will have a follow-up this December!!

  6. Fd
    Mar 25, 2010 @ 16:59:10

    @Estara: Hey thanks for that link – despite the fact that I read a good number of the authors there I’ve somehow never come across that site.

  7. Patricia McLinn
    May 04, 2010 @ 15:11:59

    “Your ability to start with book three of a trilogy perplexes and impresses me”

    LOL because I’ve written at least 2 trilogies out of order (and working on another series out of order.)

    So I empathize with Jane reading out of order. (FYI, the first two books in that trilogy are A Stranger in the Family and A Stranger to Love.)

    Hope you enjoy them in whatever order you read!

  8. Patricia McLinn
    Oct 24, 2010 @ 17:07:26

    Update: The first book in this trilogy — A STRANGER IN THE FAMILY — now available through Kindle, along with a handful of my other books:

    But the for the rest of the Bardville Trilogy — A STRANGER TO LOVE and THE RANCHER MEETS HIS MATCH — go to

    All the best,
    Patricia McLinn

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