Sunday, February 2, 2014


Publisher:  Signet
Date published:   June 4, 2013
Genre:   Contemporary Romance
Book format: Paperback
Obtained via:  Publisher
Reviewed by name and email address:  Gina

Five hearts

Struggling with the heartbreak of her daughter, Lizzie, suddenly developing selective autism along with a difficult divorce, Shelby packs up for the summer to take a job as an assistant cook at Mustang Ridge.  She’s not running from her problems. Rather she is looking for a solution…a way give Lizzie back a secure and happy world.  After watching her daughter retreat further into herself day after day, Mustang Ridge feels like her last chance for any kind of normal life for Lizzie.  They arrive at the start of a singles week at the ranch and after sorting through that Shelby isn’t one of the singles looking for a new romance she settles into her new job as assistant cook. 

Well sort of.  Gran rules the kitchen along with her…well…Herman.  Other Skye family members work around the ranch keeping things rolling and then there is Foster, the chief wrangler.

Foster is your quissentential cowboy.  In ways a throwback to another time.  He has his boots, his hat, his saddle and most important, his horse.  He doesn’t need the complication of a woman, especially a city woman like Shelby.  Yet there is something about Shelby and her young daughter that tugs at Foster’s heart.

The last thing Shelby is looking for is romance, but the tall and oh so good looking cowboy is the stuff of any woman’s imagination.  In a world of what-if’s, she and Foster begin to find their way to each other.  Agreeing that theirs will be a summer romance with no strings seems to fit the bill.  But when did our hearts ever listen to what our heads of said and left us happy?  Is a summer romance going to be enough?

Jesse Hayworth’s debut novel, SUMMER AT MUSTANG RIDGE captured my attention from the first word and kept it until the last page was, all too soon, turned.  Fortunately for me WINTER AT MUSTANG RIDGE is sitting at the top of my “to be read” pile.  What a fantastic story!  There are myriad levels to the story so you can read it for a simple romance or delve deeper into the personalities and lives of the characters.  There is a bit of humor, a sweet romance, a family that loves each other without being cloying and the chance to see several characters make their personal journeys to completion.  Every reader will see a piece of him or herself in at least one of the characters.  The litany of “do something for yourself” that several of the characters tell each other is something we could all take a lesson from.

Ms. Hayworth doesn’t rush her characters to a desired conclusion.  Instead they develop hour by hour, day by day and come to their own conclusions.  They open up not to each other, but to the possibilities in themselves.  I’m not normally a huge fan of children in stories, but Lizzie is the motivation of much of the story.  While she could have been drawn as pathetic, she is, instead, shown to be a courageous and incredible little girl.  And the changes in her do not happen overnight – like the rest of the story her development occurs in its own time. 

SUMMER AT MUSTANG RIDGE is the kind of book you pick up and soon find yourself immersed in the characters and the action.  You don’t want it to end, but you can’t put it down.  I can’t wait to start WINTER AT MUSTANGE RANCH for the simple enjoyment of another of Ms. Hayworth’s stories.  This is definitely one to put on your “must read” list.

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

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