This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Mystery Romance, Romantic Suspense, Western Romance
Published by Tantor Audio
Released on October 6, 2020
A second chance romance paired with a ranch town murder mystery sounded all sorts of delightful to me and I was eager to pick up this first in a new series from an already familiar author and told by a new to me narrator.
A Cowboy’s Proposal begins when bullriding rodeo star, Dylan McLean returns to his home town to heal from an injury, but most of all follow up on a disturbing report about his mother. She might have sent him away under a dark cloud of suspicion after he was let go for lack of evidence in a murder investigation on their ranch and he went because he thought it was for the best even leaving the love of his life at the altar. But, a year away has clarified things in his mind. He should have never left and he should have never left that beautiful woman at the altar. He’s determined to get to the truth of the murder and get his place back in the community, but win back Cathleen.
Cathleen loved Dylan all her life, but the day he walked away with only a letter to explain his decision, she cut him out of her heart and out of her life. Her mom made the mistake of letting a man keep coming back, but Cathleen would not. She feels nothing. Its over. Really. She knows he never killed a man and that the town never gave him a fair shake so she’ll help him prove his innocence and catch the killer. But that is it… no second chances. But why does she take so much convincing?
A Cowboy’s Proposal was equal parts second chance romance and murder mystery. I thought it was a great balance of elements and both were well developed. This book set up the series and also gave good attention to the present couple and their circumstances. From what I understand the series was written years earlier and this is a remake.
Cathleen is one of three sisters and her story comes first, but the other two are introduced along with Cathleen’s quirky elderly lodger who practices her recipes in the kitchen for the cookbook she’s writing and amuses herself by acting as housekeeping staff and help to Cathleen as she sets up her bed and breakfast on her family’s old ranch.
It becomes obvious to the listener, if never to Cathleen, that her issues are deeper than Dylan walking away on their wedding day. She’s projecting her dad abandoning his wife and girls over and over onto Dylan and she is determined not to be her mom who let the man do it to them. Not to mention, she has a temper and is stubborn so, for those who think Dylan should grovel for not letting her have a say in him leaving, she does put him through it. She is also the only one who believes him innocent and stands by him when no one else will proving to Dylan just what a stupid mistake he made when he refused to let this strong, amazing woman stand by him.
Dylan was a good blend of cocky bullrider and vulnerable man who was set up and had to watch his widowed mother make the biggest mistake of their lives bringing a pair of snakes into the family in form of step-dad and step-brother who took his family’s ranch and his heritage. I was sympathetic from the beginning and especially now he has to face down everyone to attempt to help his mother and get the murder solved. He knows he made huge mistakes and he’s trying to right them. I think he fell more in love than Cathleen than ever when he saw just how much steel she has in her.
The chemistry between the pair was great from the moment of their first reunion. It was obvious they had been friends and had a good, solid history to fall back on when the present was a troubling time. I liked them as a detecting partnership, but also as a romance pair even when they had a lot to sort out. They had something special and I was cheering hard for them.
Charlotte North was a new to me narrator. She had a nice low voice that made her men’s voices as well done as her women’s. She caught the western accent without overdoing it. All her characters were distinct and she portrayed a range of emotions as fitting the scenes. I hope she narrates the whole series.
All in all, I loved the sweeping Montana setting, the small town affairs and characters, the mystery, and the romance all blended in one. It was a most engaging book and I can recommend it to others who like this sort of blend in genres.
My thanks to Tantor Audio for the opportunity to listen to this book in exchange of an honest review.
New Release #173
About the Book
She’s not willing to forgive. He’s unable to forget.
One year ago, Montana cowboy Dylan McLean left the love of his life at the altar and fled town, thinking he was doing the right thing by saving her from a scandal. He’s found success on the rodeo circuit, but his love for Cathleen never faded. Now he’s returned home to clear his name, claim his bride, and rebuild his legacy.
Bed-and-breakfast owner Cathleen Shannon has moved on from her broken heart. That is, until Dylan shows up at her house one night asking for help and a second chance. Despite Dylan’s betrayal, she promises to assist with his investigation. She doesn’t want an innocent man to go to jail, but her heart is most definitely off limits.
But Cathleen has forgotten one important fact: Dylan is relentless when he’s going after something he wants. He walked away once, but she won’t let that happen again.
Contains mature themes.
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