Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Book: Jenna's Cowboy by Sharon Gillenwater

Love a man in uniform, especially when he's a cowboy, but...

For the most part, I really enjoyed this story.  It was well-written, a very pleasant change for a Kindle edition, with great characterization and colorfully scenic backdrops.  Laughably accurate as to high school football in Texas, particularly in small towns.  It was a sweet love story, with a sweet ending.  Nonspoilery comments: there is no cursing and no sex, only some very tame kisses, and a scene or two with fairly frank descriptions of a man struggling with battle fatigue.  That's as untame as it gets.

Ms. Gillenwater set this book (and future books, I presume) in West Texas (not to be confused with West, TX, lol) on a working ranch outside of a small town.  The small town is named after the heroine's family.

Descriptions of work done on the ranch, and on the neighboring cotton farm, were accurate, to the best of my knowledge, but glossed over a few things, maybe because such descriptions of spring roundup activities, for example, would have been inappropriate for the christian audience.

PTSD is a serious issue, not just for many of today's returning Armed Services veterans, but for those who have been back for years, or even decades.  Good work on that front, too, Ms. G.  Great foundation for further information in the upcoming books, since PTSD is not a "curable" thing, but an ongoing struggle.

A minor quibble is that the two-year-old in the story, the heroine's son, was asking questions of his uncle at the wedding.  They were cute questions, but I found it difficult to believe that two such conscientious parents (and yes, I'm including the hero) would have gotten to the wedding stage of the game without having a talk with the toddler about the changes they were making to his life.  Talk about just asking for a temper tantrum!

What strained my credulity, almost to the breaking point, is the idea of a town where every character described is a devout christian, even random people just visiting the town.  Seriously?  Not real, not even in a small Texas town.  Then, to be even more unbelievable, the hero of the story was a grown man, nearing thirty, as far as I could gather from the descriptions of his life both before and after his military service.  I have never met a grown man, however plain, however devoutly christian, nearing thirty, who had not only never kissed a girl/woman (at all), but had never even dated.  Not once.  Uh-huh.  And from all accounts, he was far from plain.  Sorry, Ms. G.  Ya totally lost me there.

I finished the book, and if christian fiction were my bag (how I wish I had known what this was before I "bought" it!), I probably would have loved this story.  I did recommend it to several christian friends of mine, who I imagine will think it eminently readable.  For me, though, the praying and talking to the Lord and God will provides and all that was overkill and, along with the above issues, took two stars away from an otherwise wonderful story.