Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Book Review: Rocky Mountain Romance - by Vivian Arend

I have had the pleasure of reading Rocky Mountain Romance, by Vivian Arend.  What a wonderful opportunity to preview this book.  

This is a sweet story of second chances. A year prior to the story's beginning, Steven comes from a family of ranchers. The Coleman family is large, boisterous, and a fun bunch to get to know through the books in this series. Steven is a bit of a playboy. He would much rather be having fun than working. He and Melody were dating, but after one final mistake on his part, she breaks off their relationship and leaves to further her training in the veterinarian career field.

The story open as Melody is returning to town. Having finished her trainings, she is going to be working for the local veterinarian's clinic in their small community. She hasn't had contact with Steven during her time away. Upon her return though, they meet and sparks are definitely still in place between them.

There are a couple of themes to this story. The first is the rebuilding of Steven and Melody's relationship. He has a hard row to hoe with Melody in the beginning. How does a cowboy prove to his lady that he has changed? How does he prove to her that he is no longer the irresponsible man he was when she left? Throughout the story, we see Steven owning up to his past faults and his efforts to show that he is a new man with a stronger sense of responsibility. The secondary storyline is that of Melody finding her way through a very male dominated world. When the clinic's owner decides to take a vacation for the first time in many years, he leaves Melody in charge of the large animal care. Her peer, Tom, is not happy. He has been left in charge of small animals that are brought to the clinic. He is openly resentful towards Melody over the situation. Another source of irritation for her is the reaction of a few of the ranchers who's livestock she is treating. They don't like the idea of a young woman coming out to tend their animals are not shy about letting her know how they feel.

Throughout the story, I have mixed emotions. I love the humor and the verbal banter between Melody and Steven's family. She fits into their family well and the women have embraced her as a part of the clan. The only part that gives me pause is the way Steven & Melody's relationship plays out. I get it that he screwed up in past and he is wanting Melody to see that he is a different man than he had been. It seems so one-sided. In the end however, I felt a lot better about the storyline as Melody has her own moment of realization that she too had a part in the failure of their past relationship. She realizes that she is also at fault and even now is wrong in how she treats & thinks of Steven. Melody finally comes completely to her senses in that regard and makes amends with Steven.

Overall, I loved the story and am looking forward to the next book. Ms. Arend does a great job of bringing you into the world she is writing about. You can connect with the characters and end up alternately wanting to laugh with them or slap them upside the head, telling them to “snap out of it.” I laughed often at the antics between the Coleman family members. Other times, I shook my head wondering why someone would say/do what was happening in that moment. The book thoroughly kept me entertained.

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