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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Teaching the Cowboy by Holley Trent

Teaching the Cowboy takes place in the fictional town of Storafalt, Wyoming. The catalyst of the story is the town's sub-par school system, which is the reason why two neighboring ranches decide on hiring the services of an out-of-town tutor to school their kids at home. John is the hero of the story, he is a conservative cowboy, owns one of the ranches, and has three kids. The eldest son, Landon, will be heading off to college soon, and the second son has ADHD and is more than the lacking school system can handle. John's youngest child is a daughter who is also falling behind in school. The teacher, Veronica Silver, is looking at this tutoring job as a stepping stone toward her future career plans. Her plan is to give it a year of her time but no more. The story begins with Veronica and her best friend Phil, who happens to be gay (I mention his sexual orientation because it is important to the story), driving to her new job. It's a bit of a culture shock as Veronica's a city girl through and through, but she's determined to get the job done. When John and Veronica meet there's instant attraction between them.  John isn't one to waste time, they're both adults in his mind and soon a sexual relationship begins. The problem is, Veronica has no intention of remaining in this small town and getting caught up in a relationship isn't in the cards.

I was surprisingly pleased with this story. It was at the core about Ronnie (Veronica) and John, but it had other layers that made it more than just a romance about two people. There is also a side-story that was just as interesting as the main one, and I only wish the author had delved a little deeper into it. We also meet John's sister, who's as liberal as he is conservative. She hasn't had the closest relationship with John but makes fast friends with Ronnie. I imagine we'll see her story some time in the near future as well.

I liked Ronnie and John well enough, but there was something that prevented me from truly loving them as a couple. It was fantastic that these two were adults, but at one point in the story Ronnie does the "running away" routine and flees what is turning into an unexpectedly serious relationship with John. I don't want to give away anything, but this came across as silly to me and I don't see Ronnie actually handling the situation that way. Also, I was a bit confused by Landon's choice to stay loyal to his tutor and friend when she runs and not his father with whom he's has always had a close relationship. My greatest problem with this couple is that I wasn't sure about John's motivation. It felt like he fell for Ronnie out of loneliness and a need/desire for a wife, not out of true love.  Ronnie's love for John almost seemed like she caved in and maybe felt  that under the circumstances it was the right thing to do. I would love to see a second book because I'm positive there are going to be more than a few interesting bumps in the road for this family. Although I wasn't 100% sold on the relationship at this point, I am rooting for them.

Essentially, Teaching the Cowboy is about family, changes in family, and learning to deal with those changes even if they aren't a part of one's original plans, beliefs or expectations. I give this story a 3.5 out of 5 rating. Although readers may find some of the plot twists to be standard romance novel fare, I think for the most part it is unique in its presentation and the secondary plot-line is one that readers may or may not see coming. Overall I think it is a story worth reading and I would recommend it.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Date Released: February 5, 2014
Pages: approx. 310
Publisher: Musa Publishing
*This book was provided by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review*

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