A Lawman's Christmas: A McKettricks of Texas Novel Hardcover – Sep 27 2011
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"Linda Lael Miller creates vibrant characters and stories I defy you to forget."-#1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber
"Miller tugs at the heartstrings as few authors can . . ."-Publishers Weekly
"Likable protagonists, a wealth of memorable secondary characters, and a... heart-touching plot make this warm, family-centered, information-rich 1910 prequel to Miller's 'Montana Creeds' trilogy a good choice for series fans and new readers as well."-Library Journal on A Creed Country Christmas
"Completely wonderful. Austin's interactions with Paige are fun and lively and the mystery that began in Tate's story ends with Austin's love story and adds quite a suspenseful punch."-RT Book Reviews on McKettricks of Texas: Austin
About the Author
The daughter of a town marshal, Linda Lael Miller is the author of more than 100 historical and contemporary novels. Now living in Spokane, Washington, the “First Lady of the West” hit a career high when all three of her 2011 Creed Cowboy books debuted at #1 on the New York Times list. In 2007, the Romance Writers of America presented her their Lifetime Achievement Award. She personally funds her Linda Lael Miller Scholarships for Women. Visit her at www.lindalaelmiller.com.See all Product Description
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When Clay McKettrick accepts a job as the marshal of the small town Blue River, Texas, it's not his only plan, but a means to achieve what he really wants: a wife, children, and a ranch. The time is 1914. Hostilities in Europe are hotting up; it's only a matter of time until buyers will be looking for cattle to feed the armies. Clay plans to be ready. What he doesn't plan on is falling for his predecessor's widow.
Dara Rose Nolan is occupying the cottage promised to the new marshal as part of his pay package. But Dara Rose and her two small girls don't have another place to go...not unless she decides to accept a neighboring rancher's offer to be his housekeeper and send her daughters to the poor house. Clay, struck by the young woman's plight and determination, decides he can bunk at the jailhouse until other arrangements can be made, but two things happen to change his mind. First, he's attracted to the young woman and her precocious daughters, and second, the town council is going to evict Dara Rose and sell the cottage if Clay isn't going to use it. A hasty marriage seems the expedient thing to do, but is it the answer or an attempt at a solution with even greater problems?
Dara Rose is also attracted to Clay, but can she risk telling the handsome lawman her own secrets? Can she risk her heart over a man who may turn out to be one more disappointment in a life of disappointments?
Ms. Miller has created a charming Christmas story that had me hooked from the first page. Dara Rose and her daughters were very much three-dimensional characters, and her hesitance around Clay understandable. I liked her resourcefulness and thrift, even thought I didn't buy the December productivity of her laying hens (mine all but stop laying in October and don't begin again until February, but maybe California hens differ from Texas hens?) Still, the eggs arriving in the nick of time makes for a sweet story. I felt the epilogue was overdone in that it was an eleven page love scene which seemed like an add-on, just to show the reader that Dara Rose and Clay were going to have a steamy marriage. In the case of A Lawman's Christmas with its charming setting and delightful characters, I think less is more.
Clay McKettrick accepts the job of Marshal in Blue River, Texas and arrives ready to build his own cattle ranch, set down roots and find himself a wife. Dara Rose Nolan the former marshal's wife is not looking forward to the bleak Christmas she and her girls will face. When the new Marshall arrives she and her girls will have to vacate their home. Refusing to become a fallen woman, she is faced with some horrible options. Clay doesn't want to uproot this family but when the town mayor decides to sell the marshal home if he isn't living it, the two enter a marriage of convenience. Dara sees it as a temporary solution but if the smexy lawman gets his way she'll be more than his wife in name only. The tale that unfolds was bittersweet, heartwarming and gave us a touch of life in 1914.
Miller has a way of creating characters that I quickly come to care for and this tale was no exception. Dara has hard life. She is strong, independent and a good mother to her girls. She holds her head up proudly, even as she doubts her own self-worth. Her daughters Edrina and Harriet are delightful and at times stole the show. They are spunky and inquisitive. Now Clay is all McKettrick and exactly the kind of smexy, loyal, kind, drool worthy cowboy ya all dream about. Did I mention he is devilishly handsome and likes dogs? He and his horse Outlaw are immediately taken with Dara's children and the romance that unfolded between Dara and Clay was sweet and felt genuine. Townsfolk add interest to the tale and setting. I am especially curious to learn more about the school teacher Miss Alvira Krenshaw and hope we get her story. *hint*
The plot was simple and sweet against the harsh backdrop of this rural town. It delivers a message of love, hope and most of all believing. I loved the town and its people as the general merchant, school house and Saloon came to life. The romance unfolded slowly, despite the "marriage" but given the time period, this type of thing happened every day. The eBook I purchased came with a second novel called Daring Moves and is a contemporary romance. originally posted at caffeinated book reviewer dot com
There are good points. It's a sweet little story, charming characters, easy, comfortable read.
Now for the bad... it's very very short. I'm a slow/average reader and this one felt like I barely had time to blink. There was a bad man... but he didn't do much more than hurl a few insults and stomp off REAL mad!!! There was potential there and it felt like the author just took the easy way out. Very little drama or action. Again... there was potential but it seemed like this is something she wrote in an afternoon just to make a few extra bucks. I really can't help but feel ripped off.
This paragraph contains SPOILERS so please skip over if you please:
There was huge glaring error in the story. Clay's cousin, Sawyer, shows up late one night and leaves early the next morning. He never even meets Dara Rose. And Clay doesn't propose to Dara Rose until later that night after Sawyer is long gone! The next day Clay and Dara Rose are married. The day after that a box arrives from Clay's mother with a note for him congratulating him on his new bride and step-children whom Sawyer has told them all about. She also includes oranges and books as gifts for the children. WHAT??? Now this story is set in 1914, I wasn't around then but I'm pretty sure they did NOT have Fed-Ex overnight delivery. I doubt Sawyer could have even sent the family a telegram that soon even if he had met Dara Rose or knew about the wedding.
This error, to me, coming from an experienced, award winning author is absolutely unforgivable. Why didn't an editor catch this?
Overall... very disappointing.
Since this takes place during the Christmas season you will recognize many reasons for the season, such as, caring for others less fortunate, giving and sharing what we can, and receiving special gifts from the generous people in our lives.
My favorite McKettrick story is McKettrick's Heart (McKettrick Men Series #3) followed by McKettrick's Pride (Hqn).