Book Review: Big Sky River

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Author: Linda Lael Miller
ISBN: 9781743560129
RRP: $29.99

Big Sky River continues the ‘Swoon-Worthy Cowboys’ series, I’m not sure if that’s the official series title but that’s how they are described on Goodreads and I thought it sounded good. This is the third in the series and focuses on Parable characters that we have come to know in the previous volumes.

Sheriff Boone Taylor has a long friendship with both Hutch and Slade, though quite separate up until recently. He married his high-school sweetheart and had two gorgeous sons so when she left him a young widow with two young boys it broke him. His failure to cope early on saw him send the boys to stay with his sister until he got back on his feet. The years marched on and there’s still no sign of the boys coming home, Boone remains living in the run-down ‘double-wide’ that was a temporary home until they built their own homestead and its beginning to look more derelict than bachelor pad.

It’s all set to change when Boone’s brother-in-law injures himself and the boys need to come home for summer vacation. Fletcher and Griffin lost their mum so young that the only home Fletcher remembers is with his aunt and uncle which makes the transition home a little difficult for everyone. No-one ever seemed to understand how deeply it cut Boone not to have his sons with him but he really felt they were better off in the more stable environment his sister could offer.

The neighbouring property used to belong to Boone’s parents, now it’s Tara Kendall’s chicken ranch. She is a city girl through and through but a heartbreaking divorce saw her build a brand new life in Parable. Tara forms very special friendships with Joslyn and Kendra when she arrives in Parable but still she hasn’t shared everything about the life she left behind. Her summer plans get turned around rather rapidly too when she is asked to play nanny to the twin girls she helped raised and has been pining for since leaving New York.

big sky river

Boone and Tara have had sparks of the antagonistic variety between them since Tara came to town. She is working hard to make the chicken farm productive and pleasing on the eye so every time she looks out through the distance she is assaulted with the eyesore that is Boone’s trailer (which I think we in Australia would just call a caravan – that’s how I’m picturing it anyway.) I don’t think that the two have ever had a civil conversation. At times they do try very hard to be polite but something always gets their defences up.

Two children living on each property and being basically unfamiliar with the town and its children naturally leads to the children spending time together, and throwing Boone and Tara together more often in the process.

The romantic storyline between Boone and Tara is quite predictable and there were very few surprises but I still found it to be a nice light read with a happily ever after and some rather heartbreaking moments too.

There is at least one more volume to come after this one, Big Sky Summer which is due for release mid-2013, and the scene is semi-set for the next romance before the final pages of the one you’re reading. I love this because it leaves me wondering, yes I think I know who’s next but there is still room for me to be wrong.

Miller’s characters are believable and loveable, they have made stupid mistakes and they have suffered heartbreak. The things they have faced are not unheard of or unimaginable and this makes it much easier for us to relate to them.

Tara was born to mother and though she hasn’t given birth to any children she takes those around her way into heart and makes them her own, and she does it very quickly which sets her up for another heartbreak but will she gain or lose this round?

Boone feels he’s given it all and though he loves his boys with all his heart he just doesn’t know how to do it on his own, he isn’t sure how to be a dad and how will he survive if he loves and loses it all again?

One theme that I am beginning to see emerge throughout the series is that family isn’t all about blood. All three of the couples through this series to date have taken on the full-time care of children that aren’t related to them by blood. I really enjoy this about the series, family comes from the heart and sometimes the best family for you to be living with is the family of your heart, not of your blood. It’s definitely a theme I am interested in following to see where it takes us in later books.

Linda Lael Miller has been publishing novels for many years and the count would have to top 80 by now I think so she’s had plenty of time to practice her craft. I have only read a scant few of them but all of them I enjoyed and I look forward to following the people of Parable as far as the series takes me.

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