Left pregnant and widowed in the unforgiving west, Cassie is forced into an unwanted marriage to rancher Red Dawson.
No decent man could turn away from Cassie and leave her to the rough men in Divide, Montana. Red Dawson can't turn his back on the spoiled, snooty, beautiful woman. Now he's got himself a wife he's sure God never intended. And when he informs her there'll be no more silk dresses and she has to do some work around the ranch he's surprised she immediately tries to help with everything. Too bad she's a walking disaster. His ranch may not survive her efforts to pitch in.
Now, instead of a spoiled wife he's got himself an overly obedient and badly incompetent one, and poor Red is so charmed by her he can't bear to scold. He's not much for bossing people around, anyway.
While Red tries to survive Cassie's help and Cassie tries to use her own mind instead of meekly obeying for the first time in her life, an obsessed man plots to make Cassie his own, something he can't do as long as Red lives.
What a page-turning western/cowboy/romantic suspense/comedy/coming of age story Montana Rose was!
Mary's got such a gift for gripping premises, a knack for throwing the hero and heroine permanently together FAST (and by fast, I mean by p. 29, even though you get lots of interaction before then). And who wouldn't like her hook? Widowed One Day--Wedded the Next. What? You HAVE to pick it up to see why this would happen. And you're not disappointed, as Mary's historical accurateness leaves no room for disbelieving her characters' motivation.
The love story is sweet, filled with plenty of awkward moments as they get to know each other and come to love one another fiercely. There's an entire chapter of hilarity that will have you laughing aloud as one mishap after another happens right after the wedding....just calamity at every turn.
She works in a sub-plot very well to set up her next book in the series...I mean, any woman who has a Husband Tree is worth being written and read about, right? Admit it...you're dying to know what the Husband Tree is! :-)
Okay...donning my therapist cap for a second...
My favorite character in this book was actually her villain. (I know, I've got problems.) But Mary does such an excellent job of giving her villain (as well as her MCs) a great GMC, both internal and external. And he has ISSUES. He's very delusional, and tries to live out these delusions in a frightening way. (Lemme put it this way: if you were to encounter this person today, he'd most definitely be an inpatient in a mental hospital.) He's fixated on the heroine, which of course adds all manner of built-in conflict.
But Mary makes him someone I think anyone could sympathize. His family history background--especially with his father--speaks far louder than any other marginally positive influence (like his mother) on his life he might have had. You pity him rather than wrinkle your nose in distaste. You want better for him. (Or at least I did!) I'd love to sit down with him and ask him a few questions...cause he needs therapy in a big way.
Bravo, Mary, on an excellent read!