Barclay (Bachelors and Babies #4)


VICTORIAN:  Life in Montana in the late 1800s is hard, especially for pregnant, widowed Cynara Stratton, who’s also lost nearly all of her worldly possessions. Despite her dire circumstances, she tries to maintain a positive attitude even after bad things keep happening to her. Rancher Barclay Givens needs Cynara’s help. When a desperate woman stumbles onto the property he shares with his brothers, Barclay and the all-male homestead require a strong woman’s guidance to know how to proceed. The mysterious Minnie, a secretive drifter, a tyrannical neighbor and his spoiled daughter all contribute chaotic challenges to Barclay and Cynara’s accidental courtship of convenience that grows into respect, then love. 

This author’s enchantment with the details of this time and place of rugged pioneers, backbreaking physical labor, and gorgeous vistas filled with hidden dangers that are natural and manmade evokes a sense of a bygone era of the American West. Unfortunately, one-dimensional characterizations, an outdated caricature of an indigenous North American, and excessive portrayals of cruelty toward women may distract sensitive readers from the story’s strengths. Those distractions combined with recurring threads of unsettling, callous attitudes toward sexual assault, its targets, and survivors are offered as backstory fodder without a sense of emotional depth or compassion. Still the story's strength is in its heroes and offers fans of historical sweet western romances a tale about the honorable ranchers who value family and protect the innocent. 

Cardyn Brooks