Book Review: Big Sky River by Linda Lael Miller

big sky Big Sky River (Swoon-Worthy Cowboys #3) by Linda Lael Miller

Paperback

Review copy provided by publisher

Harlequin Mira, January 2013

 Synopsis- Sheriff Boone Taylor has his job, friends, a run-down but decent ranch, two faithful dogs and a good horse. He doesn’t want romance-the widowed Montanan has loved and lost enough for a lifetime. But when a city woman buys the spread next door, Boone’s peace and quiet are in serious jeopardy.

With a marriage and a career painfully behind her, Tara Kendall is determined to start over in Parable. Reinventing herself and living a girlhood dream is worth the hard work. Sure, she might need help from her handsome, wary neighbor. But life along Big Sky River is full of surprises…like falling for a cowboy-lawman who just might start to believe in second chances

 Review- Big Sky River is the third Swoon-Worthy Cowboy novel set in Parable, Montana by Linda Lael Miller. The first book in the series, Big Sky Country, I really enjoyed but the follow up novel Big Sky Mountain was very disappointing and unfortunately this novel was too. It’s left me thinking maybe the first book was a fluke as I’m realising Miller’s writing just isn’t for me.

As inferred in book two, the hero and heroine in book three is Sheriff Boone Taylor and his attractive city turned country gal neighbour, Tara Kendall. I was looking forward to learning more of Boone’s story, but even though his background was explained I didn’t really get to know who he was as a person in the present time. Unfortunately, I had the same problem with Tara. The characterisation in Big Sky River is really poor.

Not only is the character development weak but so is the romantic arc and the tension in the story. Boone and Tara are neighbours who basically despise each other and then after one brief interaction instigated by the loveable matchmaker Opal, their feelings toward each other do a 180. There were limited scenes for Boone and Tara to get to know each other (and for the reader to believe their attraction) and when they were together the scene was hijacked way too many times by the children. I felt like the whole story was about the children and in fact the children probably grew more as characters in the story than their parents.

In this story, Boone’s two sons who lived with his sister when his wife died return to live with him. And Tara agrees to look after her ex-husbands twin daughters (her step-daughters) so he can have some alone time with his new fiancé. I’m not really sure what it is about this series but the characters seem to adopt random children. In BS Country, Slade looks after his ex-step daughter, in BS Mountain- Kendra adopts her late husband’s daughter (who was conceived during an affair when they were married!) and now Tara is looking after her ex-step daughters. It just all seems a little too far-fetched and for me was an attempt to show how great the characters are with children without the baggage of actually having their own child. Tara and Boone basically fell in love with each other because Tara wanted babies of her own and thought he was hot and Boone fell in love with Tara because he wanted a mother for his children and she was hot. I’m sure that’s not the reason the author intended but with the absence of believable romantic development that’s the conclusion I came to. I have absolutely no reason to believe they were a good match for each other, they hardly even talked to each other so other than the fact they had children I couldn’t see what they even had in common.

The ending was rushed with all of a sudden Boone and Tara having some alone time which I felt should have been introduced much earlier and then all of a sudden they are confessing their undying love for each other and planning marriage.

Big Sky River (as you can probably tell) was a big letdown for me. With poor characterisation and lack of romantic development it left me completely unsatisfied once I did eventually finish it. A book that would normally take me two days to read took me well over a week- quite telling as to how difficult it was for me to persevere. My faith that it would magically get better did not eventuate.

If you didn’t mind Big Sky Mountain then you may enjoy this one, but if you didn’t I fear those reading the series (and hoping it will improve) will be sorely disappointed. Even though BS River hints at another hero/heroine to take the lead in the next Parable story, it’s not tempting enough for me to continue with this series.

Overall Rating

1.5/5

“Didn’t really like this one”

Big Sky River can be purchased from Fishpond and other leading book retailers.

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