Saturday, October 27, 2018

ARC Review: A True Cowboy Christmas by Caitlin Crews

A True Cowboy Christmas
Author: Caitlin Crews
Series: Cold River Ranch (Book 1)
Publication: St. Martin's Paperbacks (October 30, 2018)

Description: From USA Today bestselling author Caitlin Crews comes A True Cowboy Christmas, the first in a sensational series debut about a cowboy, a farm girl, and the greatest gift of all. . .

Gray Everett has a heart of gold but that doesn’t mean he believes in the magic of Christmas. He’s got plenty else to worry about this holiday season, what with keeping his cattle ranch in the family and out of the hands of hungry real-estate investors looking to make a down-and-dirty deal. That, plus being a parent to his young and motherless daughter, equals a man who will not rest until he achieves his mission. Now, all Gray needs is the help of his lifelong neighbor. . .who happens to have grown into a lovely, spirited woman.

For Abby Douglas, the chance to join forces with Gray is nothing less than a Christmas miracle. Much as the down-to-earth farmer’s daughter has tried to deny it, Abby’s been in love with stern, smoking-hot Gray her whole life. So when Gray proposes a marriage of convenience as a way to combine land―and work together toward a common cause―Abby can’t refuse. But how can she convince Gray that sometimes life offers a man a second chance for a reason. . .and that their growing trust and mutual passion may be leading to true and lasting love?

My Thoughts: This was an interesting romance. Gray Everett has just buried his father - the father who made life hell for himself, his daughter, and his brothers. He looks across the gravesite to see Abby Douglas and decides that he wants to marry her. She a down-to-earth farmer's daughter - much different than the first wife who betrayed him with many lovers and died on the way to see one of them.

Abby has had a crush on Gray since she was a small child. She's never looked at anyone else or given anyone else a chance to engage her heart. Of course, after years of verbal abuse by a mother who drifts in and out of her life at whim, Abby is convinced that no one could possibly be interested in her.

Gray's proposal comes out of the blue for Abby. He just drops by one day and suggests that they get married. Abby certainly has mixed feelings about accepting his proposal. She loves him but knows that he doesn't love her. She believes that she is just the most convenient woman for him to ask.

Abby takes a risk and accepts his proposal. Now they have to build their marriage and get to know each other.

Personally, I felt that all the main characters - Gray, Abby, Gray's daughter Becca, and Gray's brothers Ty and Brady - could have all used some time with a family therapist. All of them were variously abused by people who were supposed to love them. Gray's father was absolutely toxic and it took quite a while for Gray to understand how his life and relationships had been shaped by him. Abby's mother was also a toxic character. Abby realizes that most of her life choices were made so that she could just be the opposite of her mother. Luckily, Abby was raised by her grandmother who did provide her with unconditional love and a strong sense of values. Gray didn't have that sort of role model in his life.

I liked the story, but it certainly wasn't the usual fluffy romance.

Favorite Quote:
"The first time you told me you were going to marry Gray Everett was in the second grade."

"I also wanted to be a princess in the second grade. And an astronaut. Simultaneously, if possible."

"Second grade, Abby. And it's not as if your feelings on him have wavered since."
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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