Wednesday, January 20, 2021

A COWBOY FOR KEEPS by Jody Hedlund, Review by Paula, Trixi and Winnie

From the gorgeous sunset on the cover to the concluding pages, this was an epic mail-order-bride-gone-wrong story with hope and faith winnings out!

“Ahead, the cabin and barn sat against the backdrop of the mountains with the glow of the setting sun reflected on the golden aspens, dark evergreens, and gray rocky crags.” This beautiful setting is perfect for this layered story of rancher, Wyatt McQuaid and Greta Nilsson and their quest to eke out a living in Colorado in 1862. Greta has her sick sister to care for and arrives to find her husband-to-be has died. Wyatt and Greta accept a marriage of convenience, putting their faith in God to somehow make things right. Both are hardworking and honorable. Ms. Hedlund writes a villain we love to hate and he makes things hard for Wyatt and his friend Judd. Their resolve is challenged but they do not buckle.

Greta tries her best with her nine year old sister, Astrid, who despite her illness, is a bright spot in their lives. “For so long, every time she prayed, she had felt she was disturbing God. Maybe He was waiting-even wanting- her to come to Him and let Him bear the burdens with her.”

Although this story came to an end, the last chapter hints at an equally mesmerizing story to come. The next book is about Wyatt’s family in Pennsylvania and a reunion is in the works.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*
5 stars. Strong faith thread

”She needs a husband,” Steele said firmly. “You need an investor. And I need a civilized town for my wife.”

With that ultimatum, how can Wyatt resist a chance to finally start his own cattle ranch? But then again, who is he to play with hearts? As for Greta, what other choice does she have but to enter a marriage of convenience for the sake of both herself and younger sister? What a quandary!

I already love Jody Hedlund's historical books, so I was especially excited to read her first Western one! Her stories are character driven, which is something I enjoy very much. I fell in love with Wyatt at first sight; not just because he's ruggedly handsome, but for his heart of gold. He learns that Greta and her young sister are in desperate need and reluctantly agrees to the mayor's marriage bargain. How this story plays out from there was all consuming for me, a book that was thoroughly engrossing. It was also a gentle love story between Wyatt and Greta, an absolute pleasure to watch these two together. They both have insecurities they fight within themselves, but in the end faith, hope and love overcome. The secondary characters added their own personalities and flavor; I especially loved Judd—Wyatt's unofficial cowhand and sage advice giving grizzled older gentleman. He was a favorite of mine.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this fantastic western historical & eagerly look forward to the next installment of “Colorado Cowboys”!
*I received a complimentary copy from Bethany House and was not obligated to leave a favorable review. All opinions expressed here are mine. * 

A Cowboy for Keeps is the start of a new series, Colorado Cowboys, by Jody Hedlund, and it’s quite a change from her previous series that I’ve read. With a change of scenery to the Colorado territory in 1862, and the introduction to the McQuaid family, this book set the stage for the new series. I enjoyed meeting the fascinating characters in this book. Wyatt McQuaid is an interesting hero with insecurities and past failures, but his courage, work ethics, and compassion shine. Greta Nilsson is independent, caring, and focused on improving her sister Astrid’s poor health. Astrid is a great addition to the cast, as is Wyatt’s ranch hand, Judd, whose wry wisdom and loyalty enhance the story.

“The way I see it . . . a team of oxen can carry more together than apart.”

“You can walk away every time the flies start bitin’. Or you can swat ‘em until they’re gone.”

I enjoyed this charming and enjoyable marriage of convenience tale, and I’m looking forward to meeting more of Wyatt’s family in the rest of the series.
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from Bethany House and NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
BackCover Blurb:
 Greta Nilsson's trip west to save her ailing little sister, Astrid, could not have gone more wrong. First, bandits hold up her stagecoach, stealing all her money. Then, upon arriving in Fairplay, Colorado, she learns the man she was betrothed to as a mail-order bride has died. Homeless, penniless, and jobless, Greta and her sister are worse off than when they started.

Wyatt McQuaid is struggling to get his new ranch up and running and is in town to purchase cattle when the mayor proposes the most unlikely of bargains. He'll invest in a herd of cattle for Wyatt's ranch if Wyatt agrees to help the town become more respectable by marrying and starting a family. And the mayor, who has promised to try to help Greta, has just the candidate in mind for Wyatt to marry.
Bethany House Publishers,  January 2021
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