Saturday, May 21, 2011

Something About A Rancher's Pride

A Rancher's Pride (Harlequin American Romance)
Rancher’s Pride by Barbara Daille is a feel good story that made my heart hurt just a little but smile a lot. Likeable characters hook the reader into a steady-moving story. I recommend it to anyone who loves a sweet love story.

Rancher’s Pride is a touching story about a man whose entire world changes in just a few minutes when he learns he's a daddy to a beautiful little four-year-old girl. Though Sam’s ex-wife never told him she was pregnant when she left, there’s no denying Becky is his child. And now that his ex-wife has given him custody, he never plans to let her go.

Then things get complicated… and interesting. Sam learns that Becky’s aunt, Kayla, plans to fight for custody. Since she’s an American Sign Language teacher and already has an established relationship with her niece, Kayla seems to be the perfect guardian for Becky. The judge orders them to share custody of Becky for the summer. And the majority of the book centers on their time together at Sam’s ranch.

Sam needs to learn to communicate with Becky.  At first it seems like he makes no effort but then the reader learns that he has been trying to learn on his own. Though hesitant, he allows Kayla to teach him some signs. It’s once he’s willing to open himself up this way that his relationship with Becky blossoms. The most memorable part of this book for me is how the author incorporates the ASL signs in scenes that include Becky.

Sam is a likeable guy with lots of friends in his small hometown. Kayla is a city girl with a heart of gold. But they can’t seem to agree on much at first as they put their own desires above the best interests of Becky. Then once they put their focus on Becky, everything falls into place. Their love for Becky actually brings them closer. And while the premise of the story involves Sam falling in love with Kayla, I didn’t feel it happening. Sure, there are mentions of some developing feelings and moments that make you wonder but then it falls flat until the end when the reader is shocked by revelations at the final court hearing.  Some more emotional development between the two would’ve helped make the ending more realistic for this reader.

The author incorporates some fun, and important, secondary characters. I loved Ellamae – every town needs one of her. I would’ve liked to see Sam’s mother developed more as she could’ve added more depth to the story. I also wondered about Kayla’s parents (Becky’s grandparents) who seemed all but absent though it was inferred that their family was close. Developing these characters more would’ve enhanced an already strong story.
RATING: 4 Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries

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