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Book Review: Dawn Comes Early by Margaret Brownley

Amazon summary
Looking for a woman of good character and pleasant disposition willing to learn the ranching business in Arizona territory. Must be SINGLE and prepared to remain so now and forever more. Will be given ownership of ranch. -Eleanor Walker

Disgraced dime novelist Kate Tenney fled the city that banned her latest book for a fresh start at a cattle ranch in the Arizona Territory. She hopes ranching turns out to be as romantic as she portrayed it in her novels.

But what awaits her is a much harder life. There is no room for mistakes on a working cattle ranch in 1895, and Kate is ill-prepared for her new life. She quickly learns that dawn comes early . . . every day. But she is tenacious.

Having been abandoned by a string of men, Kate has no intention of ever marrying. But she didn’t expect to meet Luke Adams either. Luke awakens feelings inside Kate she doesn’t recognize, and his steady presence is a constant distraction. She has only written about love in the past, never known it herself. But her feelings for Luke stand in the way of all she has to gain if she is chosen as the heir.

Perhaps God brought Kate to the barrenness of the desert to give new life to her jaded heart.

My review
Kate Tenney has lived in the city all her life, but she’s written about life on a ranch, so hard can it be? Well, if you don’t count the cows, or the stubborn horses, it’s not that bad. Or the teasing of the ranch hands. Then there are the cacti. You have to watch the cacti. They’re sneaky. But aside from that, it’s all fun and games. Then you throw in a sweet and handsome blacksmith, his meddlesome-but-well-meaning aunts, and the most inept outlaw west of the Mississippi, and you have a delightful adventure.

Between falling off her horse and falling for Luke, poor Kate can’t get her bearings. She’s quite sure she has what it takes to become heiress of Last Chance Ranch. All she has to do is survive her four-month trial period. The clause forbidding her to ever marry really isn’t a problem. She’s been abandoned by men all her life. She’s not about to start trusting one now. Kate has to decide if she wants to put her faith in the land that can never leave her, or in God and in the man who loves her.

This was such a fun book to read. There were a few serious moments, and I did feel sad for Kate, and for Eleanor, too. But most of the story is one humorous scene after another. The message of God’s faithfulness was in the background of the whole book, but I didn’t find it preachy at all, even though Kate’s ranching mentor, Ruckus was constantly talking about God and quoting scripture. Brownley wrote Ruckus so that was just part of who he was and it came across completely natural and fit right into the story. I was a little sad to see it end so I’m thrilled that we haven’t seen the last of the Cactus Patch residents. The second book, Waiting for Morning, will be out in January 2013.

About the book
Title: Dawn Comes Early (The Brides Of Last Chance Ranch Series)
Author: Margaret Brownley
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release date: March 13, 2012
Pages: 352
Where I got the book: Free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review