Hill Country Cattleman – Laurie Kingery

Yeehaw! Saddle up for a quick, fun read by Laurie Kingery. Her book, Hill Country Cattleman, is part of her “Brides of Simpson Creek” series.

Now, this was a step outside of my usual reading comfort zone. Why?

(A) It’s a shorter book than I normally read, in the vein of the Harlequin/Love Inspired Christian romance series.

(B) It’s an historical Christian romance.

(C) It features an aspiring novelist as the heroine. (This is usually a pet peeve of mine. We can talk about that later.)

It’s always nice when you end up really liking a book you thought you were destined to dislike.

So how’d this gem come into my possession? At the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Conference I attended this past September, it was part of a gift basket of books I bid on in the silent auction. Turns out this wonderful basket included an autographed copy of the book!

I commenced to reading it on the way back from the conference, and I was thrilled to find that the dialogue was snappy, characters well-developed and clearly-motivated, and a lot of horses involved.

More than the mechanics of writing, the story is wonderful. Kingery tells the tale of an English aristocrat, Violet Brookfield, whose brother sends her to Texas to tear her away from an undesirable, uncouth suitor she’s fallen in love with. Violet is an aspiring novelist who soaks up the wild Western backdrop and learns how to ride Western instead of English style. Her brother, sister-in-law and a dashing cowboy named Raleigh Masterson are great foils, challenging her in her idea of love, her Christian walk and her writing.

Any issues? Well, I did think Raleigh Masterson was a bit of an outrageous name. But, he was more developed as a three-dimensional character than some other handsome heroes. He’s impoverished, a great horseman with an equally great Texas drawl, and he’s not always a clear communicator. So he’s a step up above others.

Also, Violet has some charming flaws that make her “real” despite her uppity English breeding and clueless lovestruck attitude towards whatever-his-name-is back in England. She gets irritated easily, doesn’t have good sense when it comes to riding in the open country, and is sometimes unaware of the intentions of others.

All in all, I recommend it as a fun book for the holidays if you’re into a western, Christian romance fiction novel that won’t take you long to read through!

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