Always Dakota [NOOK Book]

Overview


Buffalo Valley, North Dakota, has become a good place to live—the way it used to be. People here are feeling confident about the future again.

Stalled lives are moving forward. People are taking risks—on new ventures and lifelong dreams. On happiness. And one of those people is local rancher Margaret Clemens, who's finally getting what she wants most. Marriage to cowboy Matt Eilers. Her friends don't think Matt's such a prize, but Margaret's aware of his reputation and his ...

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Always Dakota

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Overview


Buffalo Valley, North Dakota, has become a good place to live—the way it used to be. People here are feeling confident about the future again.

Stalled lives are moving forward. People are taking risks—on new ventures and lifelong dreams. On happiness. And one of those people is local rancher Margaret Clemens, who's finally getting what she wants most. Marriage to cowboy Matt Eilers. Her friends don't think Matt's such a prize, but Margaret's aware of his reputation and his flaws. She wants him anyway. And she wants his baby….

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A multifaceted tale of romance and deceit, the final installment of Macomber's Dakota trilogy (Dakota Born, Dakota Home) oozes with country charm and a strong sense of community spirit. Thanks to the arrival of enterprising newcomers, the once struggling farming town of Buffalo Valley, N.Dak., is now enjoying a revival. The marriage between Margaret Clemens, the only daughter of a longtime rancher, and outsider Matt Eilers symbolizes the town's metamorphosis. For any cowboy, Margaret would appear to be the catch of the town with her forthright demeanor and her recent inheritance of her father's prosperous ranch. What Matt has to offer besides his good looks is harder to discern, however. Smothering the weak flame of Matt and Margaret's attraction, Matt's scheming ex-girlfriend, Sheryl, announces that she is pregnant with his child. As Margaret and Matt grapple with issues of trust, other members of the community (familiar to those who have read the trilogy's earlier volumes) attempt to cope with a rebellious teenager, a fragile pregnancy and a kidnapping. Although Macomber excels at depicting believable characters, the romantic tension between Margaret and Matt is less than compelling. The real virtue of this narrative lies in Macomber's earnest portrayal of the people who inhabit this delightful town. (May) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal

Rancher Margaret Clemens decides to take a chance on marriage to cowboy Matt Eilers, despite what anyone else says, in Always Dakota(2001), the rerelease of the third volume in Macomber's popular series set in Buffalo Valley, ND. Recommended for libraries with a strong Macomber readership that need to replenish their collections.

In Someday Soon(1995), a grieving widow meets a professional mercenary, and they both learn they need to reassess their priorities in order to accept love.


—Kristin Ramsdell
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781459246652
  • Publisher: MIRA
  • Publication date: 6/15/2012
  • Series: Dakota Series
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 60,384
  • File size: 702 KB

Meet the Author

Debbie Macomber

Debbie Macomber, with more than 100 million copies of her books sold worldwide, is one of today's most popular authors. The #1 New York Times bestselling author is best known for her ability to create compelling characters and bring their stories to life in her books. Debbie is a regular resident on numerous bestseller lists, including the New York Times (70 times and counting), USA TODAY (currently 67 times) and Publishers Weekly (47 times). Visit her at DebbieMacomber.com.

Biography

Publishing did not come easy to self-described "creative speller" Debbie Macomber. When Macomber decided to follow her dreams of becoming a bestselling novelist, she had a lot of obstacles in her path. For starters, Macomber is dyslexic. On top of this, she had only a high school degree, four young children at home, and absolutely no connections in the publishing world. If there's one thing you can say about Debbie Macomber, however, it is that she does not give up. She rented a typewriter and started writing, determined to break into the world of romance fiction.

The years went on and the rejection letters piled up. Her family was living on a shoestring budget, and Debbie was beginning to think that her dreams of being a novelist might never be fulfilled. She began writing for magazines to earn some extra money, and she eventually saved up enough to attend a romance writer's conference with three hundred other aspiring novelists. The organizers of the conference picked ten manuscripts to review in a group critique session. Debbie was thrilled to learn that her manuscript would be one of the novels discussed.

Her excitement quickly faded when an editor from Harlequin tore her manuscript to pieces in front of the crowded room, evoking peals of laughter from the assembled writers. Afterwards, Macomber approached the editor and asked her what she could do to improve her novel. "Throw it away," the editor suggested.

Many writers would have given up right then and there, but not Macomber. The deeply religious Macomber took a lesson from Job and gathered strength from adversity. She returned home and mailed one last manuscript to Silhouette, a publisher of romance novels. "It cost $10 to mail it off," Macomber told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in 2000. "My husband was out of work at this time, in Alaska, trying to find a job. The children and I were living on his $250-a-week unemployment, and I can't tell you what $10 was to us at that time."

It turned out to be the best $10 Macomber ever spent. In 1984, Silhouette published her novel, Heartsong. (Incidentally, although Heartsong was Macomber's first sale, she actually published another book, Starlight, before Heartsong went to print.) Heartsong went on to become the first romance novel to ever be reviewed in Publishers Weekly, and Macomber was finally on her way.

Today, Macomber is one of the most widely read authors in America. A regular on the New York Times bestseller charts, she is best known for her Cedar Cove novels, a heartwarming story sequence set in a small town in Washington state, and for her Knitting Books series, featuring a group of women who patronize a Seattle yarn store. In addition, her backlist of early romances, including several contemporary Westerns, has been reissued with great success.

Macomber has made a successful transition from conventional romance to the somewhat more flexible genre known as "women's fiction." "I was at a point in my life where I found it difficult to identify with a 25-year-old heroine," Macomber said in an interview with ContemporaryRomanceWriters.com. "I found that I wanted to write more about the friendships women share with each other." To judge from her avid, ever-increasing fan base, Debbie's readers heartily approve.

Good To Know

Some outtakes from our interview with Macomber:

"I'm dyslexic, although they didn't have a word for it when I was in grade school. The teachers said I had 'word blindness.' I've always been a creative speller and never achieved good grades in school. I graduated from high school but didn't have the opportunity to attend college, so I did what young women my age did at the time -- I married. I was a teenager, and Wayne and I (now married nearly 37 years) had four children in five years."

"I'm a yarnaholic. That means I have more yarn stashed away than any one person could possibly use in three or four lifetimes. There's something inspiring about yarn that makes me feel I could never have enough. Often I'll go into my yarn room (yes, room!) and just hold skeins of yarn and dream about projects. It's a comforting thing to do."

"My office walls are covered with autographs of famous writers -- it's what my children call my ‘dead author wall.' I have signatures from Mark Twain, Earnest Hemingway, Jack London, Harriett Beecher Stowe, Pearl Buck, Charles Dickens, Rudyard Kipling, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, to name a few."

"I'm morning person, and rip into the day with a half-mile swim (FYI: a half mile is a whole lot farther in the water than it is on land) at the local pool before I head into the office, arriving before eight. It takes me until nine or ten to read through all of the guest book entries from my web site and the mail before I go upstairs to the turret where I do my writing. Yes, I write in a turret -- is that romantic, or what? I started blogging last September and really enjoy sharing bits and pieces of my life with my readers. Once I'm home for the day, I cook dinner, trying out new recipes. Along with cooking, I also enjoy eating, especially when the meal is accompanied by a glass of good wine. Wayne and I take particular pleasure in sampling eastern Washington State wines (since we were both born and raised in that part of the state).

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    1. Hometown:
      Port Orchard, Washington
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 22, 1948
    2. Place of Birth:
      Yakima, Washington
    1. Education:
      Graduated from high school in 1966; attended community college
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt




October

Margaret thought she was ready, as ready as any daughter could be to face her father's death. She'd been at his side, his rough, callused hand between her own, when it happened. For hours she'd sat with him, watching the intermittent rise and fall of his chest, waiting, wondering if this breath would be his last, praying it wasn't. Clinging to what little life was left in him.

Bernard Clemens had refused to die in a hospital and at his request, she'd brought him home. The hospice people had been wonderful, assisting Bernard in maintaining his dignity to the very end. Margaret had stayed with her father almost constantly the final week of his life.

She watched him draw his last shallow breath, watched him pass peacefully, silently, from one life to the next. Margaret wasn't sure what she'd expected to feel, but certainly not this torrent of agony and grief. She'd known he was dying, known it for months, and she'd thought that knowledge would blunt the sharp rawness of her pain. It hadn't. Her father was gone. She'd spent every day of her life with him, here on the Triple C, and now she was alone. In time, she realized, she'd be able to look back and see the blessing her father had been, but not yet. Not when her loss hurt as much as it did now.

She'd waited until she'd composed herself and then, dry-eyed, walked out of the large bedroom and awakened the sleeping family members, who'd gathered at the ranch. She'd announced that Bernard had died and his death had been peaceful. No tears were shed. That wasn't how grief was expressed in the Clemens family.

Almost immediately, everyone had found a purpose and the house was filled with activity. More and more people arrived, and then, two days later, it was time for the funeral. Bernard Clemens's three surviving brothers stood at the grave site with Margaret; they stayed long enough to greet folks and thank them for coming. Then they left, to return to their own families, their own lives.

The reception following the funeral was well attended. Nearly everyone in Buffalo Valley came to pay their respects. Hassie Knight, who owned Knight's Pharmacy, took charge of organizing the event. She'd been a family friend for many years. At least a hundred people had gathered at the large ranch house, and there was more food than Margaret could eat in six weeks. She never had understood why people brought casseroles and desserts for a wake; the last thing she wanted to think about was eating.

"Margaret, I'm so sorry," Sarah Urlacher told her, gently taking her hand and holding it. She was sincere, and her kindness touched Margaret's heart. Sarah's husband, Dennis, stood with her. His eyes revealed genuine compassion.

Margaret nodded, wishing she knew the couple better. It was her father who was well acquainted with the folks in Buffalo Valley. He'd been doing business there for years. Dennis delivered fuel to the ranch, so Margaret at least knew him, even if their relationship was just a casual one. Sarah owned and operated Buffalo Valley Quilts, a growing enterprise that seemed to be attracting interest all around the country. Margaret knew Sarah only by sight; they hadn't shared more than a few perfunctory greetings.

She wanted to thank everyone for coming—she really did appreciate their expressions of sympathy and respect—and at the same time f ind a way to steer them out the door. Making conversation with people she hardly knew was beyond her. She was polite, cordial, but a tightness had gripped her chest, and it demanded every ounce of restraint she could muster not to rush to the barn, saddle Midnight and ride until she was too exhausted to go farther.

Bob and Merrily Carr came next, with their little boy, Axel. They owned and operated 3 OF A KIND, Buffalo Valley's bar and grill. After that, the banker, Heath Quantrill, offered his condolences. Rachel Fischer was with him, and if Margaret remembered correctly, they were a couple now.

Ranchers and farmers crowded the house. So many people. There barely seemed room to breathe.

"Do you need anything?" Maddy McKenna asked with a gentleness that nearly broke Margaret's facade. Maddy was the best friend she'd ever had. If anyone understood, it would be Maddy.

"I want everyone to leave," Margaret whispered, f ighting back emotion. The lump in her throat refused to go away and she had trouble talking around it.

Maddy took Margaret by the arm and led her down the long hallway to her bedroom. The two of them had spent many an afternoon in this very room; at Margaret's entreaty, Maddy had tried to instruct her in the arts of looking and acting feminine—feminine enough to attract Matt Eilers. Not that her efforts had been noticed. Not by him, anyway.

"Sit," Maddy ordered, pointing to Margaret's bed.

Without argument, Margaret complied.

"When was the last time you had any sleep?"

Margaret blinked, unable to recall. "A while ago." The night before the funeral she'd sat up and gone through her father's papers. He had everything in order, as she'd suspected he would. He'd realized months ago that he was dying.

"Lie down," Maddy said.

"I have a house full of company," Margaret objected weakly. It went against the grain to let someone dictate what she should or shouldn't do. With anyone else, she'd have made a fuss, insisted it was her place to be with her father's friends.

"You're dead on your feet," Maddy told her.

Margaret nestled her head in her pillow, surprised by how good it felt against her face. How cool and comforting. "I…I thought I was prepared," she said, her eyes closed. "I thought I could handle this."

"No one's ever ready to lose a father," Maddy said as she covered Margaret with the afghan from the foot of the bed. The weight of it settled warmly over her shoulders.

"Sleep now. By the time you wake, everyone will be gone."

"Nothing's ever going to be the same again," Margaret whispered.

"You're right, it won't."

Maddy's voice sounded soothing, even if her words didn't. But then, Margaret could count on her friend to tell the truth. Already she could feel sleep approach, could feel the tension leave her body. "Matt didn't attend the funeral, did he?"

"No," Maddy said.

"I thought he would." She was keenly disappointed that he hadn't bothered to show up.

"I know."

Maddy was disappointed in him, too. Margaret could tell from the inf lection in her voice. Few people understood why she loved Matt. If pressured to explain, Margaret wasn't sure she could justify her feelings. Matt Eilers was as handsome as sin, shallow and conceited. But she loved him and had from the moment she'd met him.

With Maddy's tutoring, Margaret had done everything possible to get Matt to recognize that she was a woman with a woman's heart. A few months back, she'd had her hair done and put on panty hose for the f irst time in her life. The panty hose had nearly wrestled her to the ground and the new hairdo had made her look like one of the Marx Brothers—in her opinion, anyway. The whole beautifying operation had been a unique form of torture, but she'd willingly do it all again for Matt.

"I'm sure he'll stop by later and pay his respects," Margaret whispered, conf ident that he would.

"He should have been here today." Maddy wasn't nearly as forgiving. "Don't worry about Matt."

"I'm not."

"Call me in the morning," Maddy said.

"I will," she promised, exhausted and grateful for Maddy's friendship. Her last thought before she drifted off to sleep was of the father she loved and how bleak her life would feel without him.

Jeb McKenna knew his wife well, and her silence worried him as he drove the short distance between the Clemens house and his ranch. Unlike the Clemenses and most other ranchers in the area, Jeb raised bison; Maddy owned the grocery store in town. Right now, though, she was staying home with their infant daughter.

"You're worried about Margaret, aren't you?" he asked as he turned down the mile-long dirt driveway leading to their home. Maddy had barely said a word after seeing Margaret to her room.

"She was ready to collapse," Maddy told him. "God only knows the last time she slept. Sadie said she'd been up for two nights straight."

"Poor thing." One didn't generally think of Margaret in those terms. She came across as tough, strong, capable. They'd been neighbors for about five years—ever since Jeb had bought the property—and he'd seen Margaret on a number of different occasions. It was some time before he'd realized Margaret was a she instead of a he.

It'd startled him, but he wasn't the only person she'd inadvertently fooled. Maddy confessed that when they'd f irst met, she'd taken Margaret for a ranch hand.

"Bernard's death has shaken her."

Jeb understood. Joshua McKenna was in his late sixties now, and Jeb knew that sooner or later he, too, would lose his father. The inevitability of it made him feel a wave of sadness…and regret. He parked the car and turned off the engine.

"I'll talk to Margaret in the morning," Maddy said absently.

The October wind beat against him as Jeb climbed out of the vehicle and reached in the back to unfasten Julianne's car seat. At three months she was showing more personality than he would've thought possible. She gurgled and smiled, waving her arms as though orchestrating life from her infant seat. She'd proved to be a good-natured baby, happy and even-tempered.

Carrying the baby seat, he covered Julianne's face with the blanket and hurried toward the house, doing his best to protect his wife and daughter from the brunt of the wind.

Maddy switched on the kitchen lights and Jeb set the baby carrier on the recliner, unfastening Julianne and cradling her in his arms.

"I liked Pastor Dawson," Maddy said casually.

The Methodist minister had recently taken up residence in town. Although Larry Dawson had grown up in Buffalo Valley, Jeb didn't remember him. That wasn't surprising, seeing that the pastor was near retirement age. Dawson was slight in stature, his hair—what was left of it—completely white. He hadn't been in contact with Bernard Clemens for many years, but he'd given a respectable eulogy.

"The pastor invited us to church services on Sunday," she murmured.

Although it was an offhand remark, Jeb knew Maddy was interested in becoming involved with a church community. He hesitated; the drive into Buffalo Valley took at least fifty minutes, and that was on a good day. Going to church would consume nearly all of Sunday morning. He opened his mouth, about to offer his wife a list of excuses as to why it would be inconvenient to attend. Before he could utter a word, he changed his mind. The fact that she'd mentioned the invitation at all meant this was important to her and shouldn't be taken lightly.

When he married Maddy, Jeb knew there'd be a number of concessions on his part, but he loved her enough to make them. She'd certainly made concessions of her own—one of which was living so far out of town, away from her friends and the grocery she'd purchased a little more than a year ago. Church for Maddy would be a social outlet, and it would uplift her emotionally and spiritually. Women needed that.

Jeb and Maddy had met soon after she'd bought the one and only grocery store in Buffalo Valley. Her lifelong friend, Lindsay Snyder, had begun teaching at the high school and married Gage Sinclair the following summer. Maddy had been Lindsay's maid of honor; the very day of the wedding she'd decided to settle in Buffalo Valley herself.

Jeb would be forever grateful that she had. His life changed the day he rescued Maddy during a blizzard. She'd been trapped in her car while delivering groceries and would have frozen to death if he hadn't found her when he did. He'd brought her home with him, never suspecting that their time together would have consequences affecting both their lives. Consequences that included an unexpected pregnancy… He'd fallen in love with her in those three snowbound days. After losing his leg in a farming accident several years earlier, Jeb had thought it would never be possible for him to live a normal life again—or to feel normal emotions, normal desires. Maddy had shown him otherwise. They'd been married four months now and he was so much in love with her he had to pinch himself every once in a while to convince himself this was real.

"What do you think about us attending church services?" she pressed, studying him closely.

"I think that's a fine idea," he said. It wouldn't hurt and might even do him some good.

Her smile told him how much she appreciated his response.

A few minutes later, Maddy eff iciently changed Julianne's diaper, then settled into the rocking chair. She unbuttoned her blouse and bared her breast for their baby. Fascinated, Jeb watched as his infant daughter instinctively turned toward her mother and greedily latched on.

Maddy rocked gently and hummed a lullaby. It wasn't long before his daughter had taken her fill and Maddy carried her into the nursery to prepare her for the night.

Jeb had the television on, watching a news broadcast, when Maddy joined him. They'd decided to skip dinner, since they'd eaten the equivalent of a meal at Bernard's wake that afternoon. Now, sitting at her husband's side, Maddy picked up her knitting, a recently learned skill. Leta Betts, a devout knitter and Lindsay's mother-in-law, had taught both Maddy and Lindsay how to knit while they were pregnant. "I wonder what Margaret's going to do now."

Jeb glanced away from the television long enough to recognize that Maddy needed to talk about this. He reached for the remote control and muted the sound. "It wasn't as though Bernard's death came as a shock."

"I know. It's just that…"

"What?" he urged.

"I'm worried about what'll happen to Margaret without her father there to protect her."

"How do you mean?"

"She's alone for the f irst time in her life—and vulnerable."

Jeb frowned. He hadn't given the matter much thought, but Maddy was right. Margaret had lived a sheltered life, protected by her father and his name.

"She's easy prey for some man. Anyone with a good line can just step in and take advantage of her. Look at all the attention she got at Bob and Merrily's wedding."

Jeb had no recollection of anything about that night except Maddy. She'd been seven months pregnant with his child. It was the night he'd asked her to marry him and she'd agreed.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 65 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(35)

4 Star

(13)

3 Star

(9)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(4)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 65 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2014

    Dew

    Cool!! Continue. Read mah story at, 'DewStream' all res!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2014

    Kevgreat man

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2014

    Zach tigerstrike and rage

    We love it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2014

    Dakota's story chap. 1

    "I win!" Alek barked, tackling Dakota. "No fair! I wasn't ready!" Growled Dakota, throwing his brother off of him. "Guys! Daddy wants us!" Shouted willow. The three pups ran into their home, a small cave a mile away from blood wolf territory. "Daddy needs to go." The black wolf said sadly. So the three pups waved goodbye to their father as he walked away. He had been gone for nearly four hours when they really got concerned. So they cuddled together and fell asleep. The next day, Alek caught a hawk and soon after they decided to go look for their dad and set off. As they were walking, they encountered a mountain lion eating the flesh off of a black wolf pelt. They stared in horror as they watched the mountain lion attack willow. Dakota was split up from his brother, never seeing him again. (Three positive posts and ill do the rest!)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2013

    Love this series!!

    Good reading!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2013

    Addition

    A wonderful addition to the Dakota series

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 7, 2012

    debbie's romance

    the dakota sweries is one not to be missed. they are romances as only debbie can write them.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2012

    very good!

    I loved the whole series, loved the characters and how they all intertwined

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2012

    Drake

    Next book over...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2012

    Jade

    Gtg

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2012

    Great

    This was a great book and hard to put down. Calla was a rral piece of work. All the characters were great just like any town or city.


    Spartanburg,SC

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  • Posted January 7, 2012

    Makes you feel like you are living with these people

    Loved this Dakota Series. Makes you want to know more about the town and its occupants. You don't want to put the books down. Everyone will enjoy this series and there are so many characters with dynamics that you can relate to.

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  • Posted October 8, 2011

    Excellent feel good story.

    A good book about small town life, and the people who have a history in the town.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2011

    NOT lendable

    Do not buy if you plan on lending as this is not lendable!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Another Great Macomber Book

    As usual, Debbie keeps your interest, yearning for the next turn of events. I love her characters.

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  • Posted May 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    An amazing love story!

    This book is an amazing love story of trials and tribulations of love, parenting, small town life and hard work. the characters are easy to identify with as well as the reality of the lives they live. It was touching, heartfelt and at times emotional. You can really feel the love and compassion the characters felt for each other.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2008

    Delightful reading

    For those who enjoyed visiting this town in the Dakota trilogy, there is a book 4 sequel which I found in our local library. It is called 'Buffalo Valley' by Debbie Macomber. It is a somewhat shorter novel and quite repetetive in spots of the former Dakota series,but enjoyable reading. Once again, the community bands together to address a crisis, there is a new romance, and the former mariages produce new offspring.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2002

    Great Ending to a Great Trilogy!

    I just finished Always Dakota and although Ms. MaComber rapped things up nicely, there is room for more stories about the people in this lovely town! I think Giselle was so disappointed about the 'back and forth between characters' because you HAVE to read the first 2 stories before you can read Always Dakota. The relationship between Mat and Margaret was beautiful, as well as the relationships between Jeb and Maddy and Sarah and Dennis. At times, I wanted to shake Calle, but I guess growing up a teen in a small town is sometimes hard. All in all, I think this was a great ending to the story of a town's (re)growth as well as the growth of it inhabitants. Bravo, Ms. MaComber!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2001

    Annoying...

    I'm sorry, I'd love to praise the book, but I couldn't even finish it. It annoyed me how she continues to switch between 5 different people and their 5 different stories! I wanted to read about Matt & Maragret, but that just wasn't happening! Their story, so far and I've read 100 pages, isn't anymore important than any of the other characters' stories. I don't recommend this book unless you can enjoy this style of writing.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    warm Buffalo Valley visit

    Buffalo Valley rancher Bernard Clemons, knowing he is dying, meets with cowboy Matt Eilers. Bernard discusses his beloved daughter Margaret with Matt informing the latter that she loves him and plans to marry him. Matt says he will never marry Margaret and though Bernard does not believe the man is good enough for his only child, he knows differently. <P>After Bernard dies, a grieving Margaret offers Matt an opportunity to own a ranch, a dream he has had since he ranched with his deceased father in Montana. They marry, but his past haunts them as his ex-girlfriend claims he left her pregnant, something he does not deny. <P>The third and final installment in Debbie Macomber¿s warm Buffalo Valley series is a fine addition to the trilogy. ALWAYS DAKOTA is an entertaining tale that showcases realistic people living and dreaming in a small ranching community in North Dakota. The M&M couple consists of two independent individuals whose relationship seems a bit tepid when compared with that of the townsfolk. Still, Ms. Macomber has written another winning wholesome novel that will send fans of contemporary romance seeking the two previous books (see DAKOTA BORN and DAKOTA HOME). <P>Harriet Klausner

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