REVIEW: The Cowboy and the Kid by Anne McAllister
Having a father is a big responsibility.
And finding him a wife is a challenge eight-year-old Becky Jones takes seriously. Ex-rodeo cowboy Taggart Jones is adamant. No marriage. Been there. Done that.
Not even if Becky’s dream candidate is her beautiful, blonde teacher, Felicity Albright, who knows about barrettes, patching up scrapes, and hates carrots as much as his daughter. Taggart’s still not interested. Much.
What’s a daughter to do? Becky’s nothing if not ingenious, and she’s determined to convince a stubborn Taggart and a bemused Felicity that they really have met their match.
Dear Ms. McAllister,
Years ago I read one of your “Presents” books “One Night Love Child,” because you came highly recommended by a reader friend. When I saw this reissue from 1996 listed at Netgalley I wondered how I would like a non-Presents book of yours. Answer is I did but with some reservations.
The introduction here is cuter than a pile of puppies with artwork, school programs and letters of Becky Jones, our hero’s daughter. It’s been just Becky and her father for years since Becky’s mom walked out on them when Becky was a baby but they’ve done just fine with Becky “looking out for” her bull riding dad. Now he’s retired and they’re still fine but Becky has noticed things. From her child POV, her dad seems to be pining for what his bronc riding friend Noah has, a happy marriage. Becky’s friend – and Noah’s daughter – Susannah got her parents together and is convinced that’s what Taggart Jones wants. Becky’s not so sure but if she has to have a step-mother, she wants to pick her out.
Becky and Susannah work together to consider and choose the perfect woman – though there aren’t many to choose from in their small Montana town. This part sort of reminds me a little of “The Parent Trap.” The woman Becky decides on is her new teacher “Iowa to California to Montana transplant” Felicity Albright. With an eight year old’s genius, Becky devises plans to get her dad and widowed Mrs. Albright together. At first Taggart has no idea why his daughter is acting as she is but after a meeting with her teacher, he pins Becky down and gets the truth from her. At first he’s appalled then embarrassed and makes some stumbles trying to distance himself from his daughter’s enthusiastic matchmaking. Luckily Felicity is more amused than offended.
It might seem that bull riding Taggart and teacher Felicity have little in common but both are teachers – Taggart now runs bull riding classes – and can see and admire this in each other. The romance progresses slowly through scenes of Taggart teaching bull riding and Felicity doing her innovative teaching which lets us and them see the other at work doing what they love. Little by little, they are in each other’s company and eventually yield to their physical attraction.
Then suddenly Felicity finds she’s in love though Taggart skedaddles like a jack rabbit when that slips out. At least Felicity lets him know how chicken shit she thinks he is. Their different jobs end up bringing them back together in a way that’s believable and unique. Though the love confession from Taggart and the sexy times afterwards are very quick and seem like they’d be painful based on something Felicity has just proved to herself and others. I hope she has some painkillers and ice packs on hand.
The start here is priceless and adorable. I loved the relationship between father and daughter. The details about bull riding and teaching seem realistic and not sugar coated. I enjoyed seeing both main characters shine in their profession. But in the end, the romance to marriage proposal is a bit too quickly wound up for me. B-