by Mary E. Trimble
Maureen starts out as disenchanted city girl, answers a newspaper ad, and two weeks later starts a position as child care provider and housekeeper /cook on a large cattle ranch. Having no experience other than great instincts and resilience, she flourishes on the ranch. She proves that you really can take a girl out of the city and transform her into a country girl. She learns the ins and outs of her role on the ranch, thanks to her natural curiosity and keen intellect. John, the recently widowed rancher, Wade, his seventeen-year-old son and Leslie, his seven-year-old daughter, become her focus and purpose. But don't expect a romance novel. Maureen maintains a strict business relationship with the rancher.
The story is told in first person point of view through Maureen's eyes and keeps the reader's interest. The characters are well developed and the plot holds several unexpected twists, all believable. I learned more than I expected about large cattle ranching. Having grown up on a farm in Pennsylvania, the similarities to farm life were nostalgic for me.
It was not case of all work and no play. Maureen grew to love recreational horseback riding, and grew to love the ranch terrain. She loved the gardening and especially the young daughter. Ranch children, like farm children, grow up learning how to work and take their chores seriously. Like all teens they also have a stubborn side that can sometimes cloud their ability to think clearly when extremely stressed. The older brother's commitment to helping his little sister was heart-warming.
Disappointed in love and past the point of having children, Maureen proves that there's more than one way to become a mother, and learns to love someone else's children like her own. The layers of tension unfold at just the right time and the quality of the plot and character development are excellent. Readers will not regret reading this novel, and the characters will stay with you long after reading the last page.
Mary E. Trimble lives with her husband on Camano Island, Washington. Their family, most of whom live in the Northwest, play an important part in their lives. She has written two memoirs and three previous novels. She is a member of The Author's Guild, Pacific Northwest Writers Association as well as other writing organizations.
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