Dear Ms Snodgrass,
I loved the excerpt for The Wishing Tree. And I’m a sucker for a good marriage of convenience and was still in the mood for a good Western. Enough that I bought the book soon after reading it. I’m still debating with myself if this was a good move. Let me explain why.
I liked your lead characters. I liked the secondary characters. I liked most of the tertiary characters. But…there were far too many characters to cram into this story. And they all had concerns and and we got a side romance and a baby and a cattle stampede, a money seeking harlot slut wife seeking to fleece the hero to pay her gambling debts, a widower brother of the hero still mourning his dead wife and recovering from his injuries, children of the hero and his brother who get terrified during storms, the brother’s growing furniture making business, the heroine’s healer sister who comes to stay, the school marm, the ranch hands, the dog and Cupcake the hero’s horse.
Every disaster you could think of gets stuffed into this story. One right after the other, usually one the day right after another, shootings and kidnappings and broken legs and transverse deliveries and oh yes, the twister. Just how much can one romance book family be expected to take?
And then there was the relationship of the hero and heroine. It was like watching a tennis match. He hates me, no maybe he likes me; I won’t bed her, well maybe I’ll change my mind a day later; he thinks I’m ugly and I’ll never get over the humiliation, wow he thinks I’m pretty; she complains just like my first wife, hold on she’s working herself to the bone; I’ll never trust another woman, I can’t let her out of my life; I’ll never leave him, my trunk is packed and I’m ready to go….Usually only a day or so would pass before both of them would completely reverse what they had just sworn to do/think/feel/never let happen.
And yet, I still liked these characters despite the fact that I got mental whiplash reading about them changing back and forth. If you could have slowly lead them to change, I would have believed more of their emotional protestations. As it was, I knew it would only be a matter of time before they’d be doing the exact opposite of what they were doing now.
So while I kept reading the book, I still wish that The Wishing Tree had lived up to my expectations and the excerpt that pulled me into the story.