Saturday, January 4, 2014

BIG SKY SECRETS by Linda Lael Miller

Publisher:  Harlequin
Date published:   December 31, 2013
Genre:   Contemporary Romance, Western Romance
Format:  Electronic
Obtained via:  Publicist / Netgalley
Reviewed by name and email address:  Gina

4-1/2 Hearts

Ria Manning had enough of the high powered corporate accounting world and even though it was her father’s company, enough was enough.  When she walked away from all that drama and pressure she moved to Three Trees, Montana and started a flower business. Surrounded by dozens upon dozens of colourful flowers she’s found the peace and tranquillity she wanted.  Well sort of.

Not so long ago Landry Sutton and his brother, Zane, invested in some good Montana cattle land.  When Zane gave up the glamour and lights of Hollywood Landry thoughts his brother’s days as a cattleman would be short lived.  Turned out Landry didn’t know his brother all that well because Zane not only found the life he was looking for in Three Trees, Montana, he met the love of his life.  Now happily married to the former Brylee Parrish Zane’s life it pretty set and it’s a darn happy life at that.  While Landry tells himself that there’s no way he could ever want to live a life like Zane’s he can’t help but find himself wanting many of the same things Zane now has in his life including marrying the woman he loves.  Problem is, he needs to find her. At a cross-roads between returning to the hubbub of Chicago or settling down in Montana Landry meets Ria and is soon unable to put the woman from his mind.

She’s not the high fashion, cultured woman he’s associated with but dang if she doesn’t make him stop and smell the roses as it were. Despite his best efforts though, he seems to fall over his own feet and make a mess of things while trying to court Ria.  Even his stoic and staid butler, Highbridge has little hope Landry will find his way into Ria’s heart.  But something else stands between Landry and Ria.  Something only Ria can come to terms with and absent her finding her own peace, there is no way Landry can win the woman he loves.

Linda Lael Miller’s BIG SKY WEDDING was a disappointment to me.  I’ve been a fan since DESIRE AND DESTINY (which I still own) and don’t think there is one of her books I’ve missed.  She captures the essence of what I feel about cowboys and tells a love story like none other—hence I snap up her books and keep them years after I’ve read them simply to reread and escape into their magic again and again.  I don’t know what happened in BIG SKY WEDDING but whatever it was is long gone because BIG SKY SECRET is one of the best of Ms. Miller’s ever.  Her characters are realistic.  They feel like someone you know or would want to know.  Their emotions are real and palpable.  You know their heartbreaks and their joys and are there beside them rooting for them.

In her books there is generally one character that is a bit off the rails but rather than being over the top they add at least one more level of dimension to the story.  In BIG SKY SECRET it is Highbridge. I just loved him!  I found myself looking for his next scene or quip and could total picture him in his perfect tails serving breakfast or prepping a crock pot stew for Landry.  He’s the kind of character I’d love to see have a book of his own because he added so much to this one.  I cracked up out loud at his venture to his Thursday night bingo game with Cleo from BIG SKY WEDDING.  But he also has the heart that Ms. Miller’s “good guys” have.

I liked the pace of Landry and Ria’s courtship.  It was spot on with his warm and funny moments along with their personal grief finding resolution with each other.

Reading about Three Threes and Parable, Montana I think about packing up and moving to towns just like them—if such exist.  When I saw the mention that this was the last of the Parable Mountain series I was bummed.  The characters are just so memorable and reading how they have grown and changed in each book made them seem like distant family.  And then I read the note at the end and whoo hooo!!!!!  Another series set in June 2014 a new western Wyoming series will be debuting!  Now I just need to wait patiently for that series to begin…but I do have my collection of Ms. Miller’s books to fill the time.

Each book in this series is a stand-alone and they do not need to be read in order but I do recommend you check them out and settling in for some good reads.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement this book.

No comments: