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Book Review: Big Sky Mountain by Linda Lael Miller

Big Sky Mountain by Linda Lael Miller Book Review: Big Sky Mountain by Linda Lael Miller

When I picked this up last night I joked to my husband that I was taking a cowboy to bed with me. My husband, in true geeky form, gave a vague huh and returned to his iPad game. What a trusting man he is.

As it turns out, he was right: there was no need to fear that Huch Carmody, the hero of Linda Lael Millers latest novel, would drive a wedge into our marriage. Though Im ordinarily a huge fan of Millers work, everything about this one felt a little flat to mesadly, the only fireworks in this book are the ones that occur on the 4th of July.

The second in Millers series based in small-town Parable, Montana,'Big Sky Mountain focuses on the elusive romance between wealthy rancher Huch Carmody and his one-time high school flame, Kendra Shepherd. It picks up nine months after'Big Sky Country, in which we watched Hutchs hilariously named half-brother Slade and software developer Joslyn scrap about, fight, seethe, and eventually get hitched, and begins, a little head-spinningly, with a wedding. Hutchs wedding.

Three pages later, and Hutch is saying I dont, his bride is bemoaning the coast of the almost-wedding, and the gossip mill is moving at an impressive pace: even the town of Parable, it seems, isnt above putting together a We Hate Hutch Facebook page. But Hutch knows that hes made the right decision. Sure, he wants to settle down and have kids (this is a necessity if youre to be a Miller hero), but its got to be with the right woman. And the fact that hes spent the past nine months accidentally calling his bride-to-be Kendra doesnt really bode well for their future together.

But Kendras got plenty enough on her own plate already. Shes only just adopted four-year-old Madison, the daughter of her cheating, recently deceased ex-husband, and shes juggling new motherhood along with finding a new place to live and her career as a realtor. However, Madison seems to have taken a shine to Cowboy Man, as she calls him, and thanks to her, Kendra and Hutch begin to cross paths increasingly often.

Though the tension between Kendra and Hutch was set up in the previous novel, it seems so much less evident here. For one, I kept wondering how Hutch came to be (almost) marrying another woman, but unfortunately, this is never really explained beyond a laconic I made a mistake. And Kendras focus is for the most part of the novel on Madison rather than on Hutch, making this one feel a lot more like womens fiction than a romance novel. Hutch and Kendra seem to come together just because they spend enough time together that they might as well, rather than out of any real passion. Both seem fixated on what ended their relationship all those years ago, but this is never really resolvedthey just seem to kiss and make up rather than actually working it out.

Though the characters are generally what I love most about Millers work, I felt that there was a lot going on here with minor characters that caused things to lag a little. Theres a subplot, for example, involving the awful deputy Treat that seems extraneousand given that it involves Hutch sticking up for his ex-fiancee, doesnt really help move the romance along. (Curiously, I find it difficult to imagine Hutch sticking up for Kendra in the same impassioned manner.)

Theres also a lot of dog-adopting and horses-as-gifts going on here, which although always pleasant to see, is kind of getting a bit stale, particularly given that the same thing happened in the previous book. How many stray pups and out-to-pasture ponies can there possibly be in a small town? The young-adopted-child thing feels familiar as well, as does the fact that the child in question is astonishingly precocious. Will we ever see a four-year-old whos an out-and-out brat rather than these articulate and insightful mini adults who seem so common in romance novels?

To be honest, the Madison plot line detracted from the love affair between Hutch and Kendra a good deal for me: Madison waxes lyrical about wanting to be part of a nuclear family so often that it almost feels as though Kendra gets it on with Hutch purely to play happy families. And goodness, the constant reiteration about people being prime mother or father material began to grate after a whilesurely theres more to a relationship than the possibility of progeny?

Though I do love being able to curl up with one of Millers cowboys, and I always enjoy getting to know her well-rounded characters and marvel at their terrible small-town fashion, on the whole this one just didnt quite work for me. Still, you can be that Ill be hanging out for her next release.

With thanks to Meryl L Moss Media Relations for the review copy'

Rating: star Book Review: Big Sky Mountain by Linda Lael Millerstar Book Review: Big Sky Mountain by Linda Lael Millerhalfstar Book Review: Big Sky Mountain by Linda Lael Millerblankstar Book Review: Big Sky Mountain by Linda Lael Millerblankstar Book Review: Big Sky Mountain by Linda Lael Miller (not bad)

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  1. Well, thats too bad. I really enjoyed the first book, but if there isnt tension between the main two love interest, I dont see a romance book developing along very well. Also, now I have that song in my head. You know? The one that goes, Save a horse, ride a cowboy. Which will probably give me strange dreams. So thank you for that. :)

    • Stephanie /

      I know, wheres the passion, guys?

      Erm, I dont know that song, but Id better not tell Jono about it!

  2. What a bummer you didnt enjoy this one Stephanie. I really liked the first book- but I wasnt really hooked on Hutch and Kendra when they were introduced in Big SKy Country. I have this one on my review shelf not as excited to read it now
    The Australian Bookshelf recently posted..Stacking the Shelves #9

    • Stephanie /

      I love the setting of this one, and I really do enjoy Millers characters, but I just wasnt feeling the romance in this one, Im afraid. Im still a huge fan of the authors, though!

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