REVIEW: The Cowboy’s Christmas by Jeannie Watt
Christmas in Marietta, Montana, is a season of magic and second chances…
Wayward cowboy Quinn Harding doesn’t have a secret—he is a secret. Or he was until his rancher brothers learned of his existence and insisted on meeting up. But Quinn’s reluctant—he’s always been a lone cowboy, enjoying his quiet isolation and taking pride in his ranch work. He’s not a man who’s ever dreamed of a home or family, but when an accident forces him into temporary employment at a small family ranch, he begins to rethink his life’s choices.
Since losing her husband two years ago during the holidays, Savannah Dunn has dodged people and Christmas, preferring the beauty and solitude of her ranch. But now that she’s playing temporary parent to her twin nieces, she desperately needs to rekindle her holiday spirit and sense of fun for the sake of the girls.
Can she and the quiet, gorgeous ranch hand bring the joy of Christmas to the ranch without either of them losing their hearts?
Dear Ms. Watt,
Even though this is the third novel in the “Harding” series, I decided to start here as we’re beginning to reach the Holiday book season. The “easy on the eye” cover model hefting a Christmas tree didn’t hurt either.
Quinn Harding was raised by his wandering mother with love and a strong sense of doing a job well once you’ve been hired to do it. No half measures for him. Finally meeting his half brothers was something Quinn had never thought to do. He’d grown up knowing about them and, yeah, had felt a little bit of envy at times about the fact that they’d known two parents and a more stable lifestyle but he can’t complain about his life and doesn’t intend to. A heavy flatbed truck gunning its way through a snowdrift onto the road changes his plans of heading back to the Oregon ranch where he works and his sense of responsibility (even though the wreck wasn’t his fault) keeps him there to help out.
Savannah Dunn has to brace herself for Christmas as her young husband died during the holiday season two years ago. They’d had plans and dreams but she’s set those aside as she and her Uncle work to make a go of the ranch Savannah and husband Matt had bought. Now that she’s got her two nieces staying with her while their military parents are overseas and her Uncle needs to recuperate after hitting a cowboy’s truck, she’ll take Quinn Harding’s offer of staying on for a few weeks to help out as ranch help is hard to find this late in the season.
Can a man with no roots and a woman with many manage to work through the holidays without either of them changing their ways?
I enjoyed my time reading this sweet and thoughtful story. It was also nice to have a few romance staples turn out differently. For once I didn’t have to brace myself to discover which romance family member (s) needed to die for two young children to enter the care of an aunt. Even Savannah’s parents are alive and well and living the warmer dream in Arizona. Ranch life is shown in all its difficulty and beauty. There’s enough snow to make me picture a holiday postcard while also being thankful for living in an area where we don’t get much of it.
Many things I’ve read about in other books set in this (I assume) mythical town in Montana are there so it’s kind of like returning to a place I’ve come to know but it’s one that is welcoming to newbies and easy to figure out. Quinn’s brothers make appearances but don’t stand on the roadside hawking their own books and HEAs. Savannah’s family cares for her and tries to take care of her during this season when she’s fragile. Rather than being the one who has lost and who vows to “never love again” because “it’s too painful” she has grieved (and at times is caught by a painful memory) but she isn’t averse to eventually trying relationships again. I even enjoyed the two four year old children who act like children rather than total angels.
Quinn and Savannah’s route to a HEA is lacking in a great deal of angst. They are thoughtful and concerned about each other, adding maybe a touch of “noble self sacrifice” to the story before some outside elements make them rethink their views and goals. It’s enough that I felt comfortable with the way the book unwinds and how both of them arrive at their moments of realization without turning into an overload of holiday sugar. B