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Dust swirled as the two riders approached the house.
They stopped a few feet shy of the steps, and Mariah Malone eyed the men from the shadowy recesses of the porch. Both were sun-bronzed and looked weary but tough, as if they made their living punching cows and riding fences.
One man hung back; the other rode closer and touched his thumb and forefinger to the brim of his hat. "Afternoon, ma'am."
"Afternoon." Wavy brown hair brushed the frayed collar of his work shirt. A film of dust covered his faded jeans, and the stubble on his jaw hinted at a long, hard trip. "May I help you?"
"I'm here to see Seth Malone." His voice sounded husky as if he needed a drink of water to clear the trail dust from his throat.
At the mention of her father, a pang of sorrow mixed with longing swept over her. "I'm sorry; he passed away in January. I'm his daughter. Mariah Malone."
The cowboy swung down from his horse and sauntered toward the porch. He rested one worn boot on the bottom step before tilting his hat back, revealing fathomless dark-blue eyes.
"I'm Slade Donovan. And that's my brother, Buck." He jerked his head in the direction of the other man. His intense gaze bored into hers. "Jack Donovan was our father."
Oh no, Jack Donovan's sons.
A shaft of apprehension shot through her, and Mariah grasped the railing for support. Unable to look Mr. Donovan in the eye, she focused on his shadowed jaw. A muscle jumped in his cheek, keeping time with her thudding heart.
When her father died, she hadn't given another thought to the letter she'd sent Jack Donovan. She'd been too worried about her grandmother, her sister, and the ranch to think about the consequences of the past.
"Where is ... your father?" Mariah asked.
"He died from broken dreams and whiskey."
"I'm sorry for your loss," she murmured, knowing her own father's sins had contributed to Jack Donovan's troubles, maybe even to his death. How much sorrow had her father's greed caused? How much heartache? And how much did his son know of their fathers' shared past?
The accusation on Slade Donovan's face told her, and the heat of fresh shame flooded her cheeks.
"My pa wanted what was rightfully his," he ground out. "I promised him I would find the man who took that gold and make him pay."
Tension filled the air, and she found it difficult to breathe.
"Take it easy, Slade." His brother's soft voice wafted between them.
Mariah caught a glimpse of Cookie hovering at the edge of the bunkhouse. "Miss Mariah, you need any help?"
Her attention swung between Cookie and the Donovan brothers, the taste of fear mounting in the back of her throat. An old man past his prime, Cookie would be no match for them. "No," she said, swallowing her apprehension. "No thank you, Cookie. Mr. Donovan is here to talk business."
She turned back to the man before her. Hard eyes searched her face, and she looked away, praying for guidance. "Mr. Donovan, I think we need to continue this discussion in my father's office."
She moistened her lips, her gaze drawn to the clenched tightness of his jaw. After a tense moment, he nodded.
* * *
Malone was dead?
Leaving Buck to care for the horses, Slade followed the daughter into the house. She'd swept her golden-brown hair to the top of her head and twisted it into a serene coil. A few curls escaped the loose bun and flirted with the stand-up lace of her white shirtwaist. She sure looked dressed up out here in the middle of nowhere.
Then he remembered the empty streets and the handful of wagons still gathered around the church when they'd passed through Wisdom at noon. He snorted under his breath. Under other circumstances, a woman like Mariah Malone wouldn't even deem him worthy to wipe her dainty boots on, let alone agree to talk to him in private. He couldn't count the times the girls from the "right" side of town had snubbed their noses at him, their starched pinafores in sharp contrast to his torn, patched clothes. At least his younger brother and sisters hadn't been treated like outcasts. He'd made sure of that.
He trailed the Malone woman down the hall, catching a glimpse of a sitting room with worn but polished furniture on his right, a tidy kitchen on his left. A water stain from a leaky roof marred the faded wallpaper at the end of the wide hallway. While neat and clean, the house and outbuildings looked run-down. He scowled. Surely Seth Malone could have kept the place in better repair with his ill-gotten gain.
Miss Malone led the way into a small office that smelled of leather, ink, and turpentine. She turned, and he caught a glimpse of eyes the color of deep-brown leather polished to a shine. The state of affairs around the house slid into the dark recesses of his mind as he regarded the slender young woman before him.
"Mr. Donovan," she began, "I take it you received my letter."
He nodded but kept silent. Uneasiness wormed its way into his gut. Did Miss Malone have brothers or other family to turn to? Who was in charge of the ranch?
"I'm sorry for what my father did. I wish it had never happened." She toyed with a granite paperweight, the distress on her face tugging at his conscience.
He wished it had never happened too. Would his father have given up if Seth Malone hadn't taken off with all the gold? Would they have had a better life—a ranch of their own maybe, instead of a dilapidated shack on the edge of Galveston—if his father hadn't needed to fight the demons from the bullet lodged in his head?
He wanted to ask all the questions that had plagued him over the years, questions his father had shouted during his drunken rages. Instead, he asked another question, one he'd asked himself many times over the last several months. "Why did you send that letter?"
Pain turned her eyes to ebony. "My father wanted to ask forgiveness for what he had done, but by that time he was unable to write the letter himself. I didn't know Mr. Donovan had a family or that he'd died." She shrugged, the pity on her face unmistakable.
Slade clenched his jaw. He didn't want her pity. He'd had enough of that to last a lifetime.
She strolled to the window, arms hugging her waist. She looked too slight to have ever done a day's work. She'd probably been pampered all her life, while his own mother and sisters struggled for survival.
"I hoped Mr. Donovan might write while my father was still alive, and they could resolve their differences." Her soft voice wafted on the still air. "I prayed he might forgive Papa. And that Papa could forgive himself."
"Forgiveness is too little, too late," Slade gritted out, satisfaction welling within him when her back stiffened and her shoulders squared.
She turned, regarding him with caution. "I'm willing to make restitution for what my father did."
"A few hundred head of cattle should be sufficient."
"A few hundred?" Surely she didn't think a handful of cattle would make up for what her father had done.
"What more do you want? I've already apologized. What good will it do to keep the bitterness alive?"
"It's not bitterness I want, Miss Malone. It's the land."
"The land?" Her eyes widened.
He nodded, a stiff, curt jerk of his head. "All of it."
"Only a portion of the land should go to your family, if any. Half of that gold belonged to my father." Two spots of angry color bloomed in her cheeks, and her eyes sparked like sun off brown bottle glass. "And besides, he worked the land all these years and made this ranch into something."
Slade frowned. What did she mean, half of the gold belonged to her father? Disgust filled him. Either the woman was a good actress, or Malone had lied to his family even on his deathbed.
"All of it."
She blinked, and for a moment, he thought she might give in. Then she lifted her chin. "And if I refuse?"
"One trip to the sheriff with your letter and the wanted poster from twenty-five years ago would convince any law-abiding judge that this ranch belongs to me and my family." He paused. "As well as the deed to the gold mine in California that has my father's name on it—not your father's."
"What deed?" She glared at him, suspicion glinting in her eyes. "And what wanted poster?"
Did she really not know the truth? Slade pulled out the papers and handed them to her, watching as she read the proof that gave him the right to the land they stood on.
All color left her face as she read, and Slade braced himself in case she fainted clean away. If he'd had any doubt that she didn't know the full story, her reaction to the wanted poster proved otherwise.
"It says ..." Her voice wavered. "It says Papa shot your father. Left him for dead. I don't believe it. It ... it's a mistake." She sank into the nearest chair, the starch wilted out of her. The condemning poster fluttered to the floor.
A sudden desire to give in swept over him. He could accept her offer of a few hundred head, walk out the door, and ride away, leaving her on the land that legally, morally, belonged to him. To his mother.
No! He wanted Seth Malone to pay for turning his father into a drunk and making his mother old before her time. But Seth Malone was dead, and this woman wouldn't cheat him of his revenge.
No matter how innocent she looked, no matter how her eyes filled with tears as she begged for forgiveness, he wouldn't give it to her. Forgiveness wouldn't put food on the table or clothes on his mother's and sisters' backs.
"No mistake." He hunkered down so he could see her face. "You have a right to defend your father's memory, I reckon. But I'll stick by what I said. The deed is legal. And that letter will stand up in court as well. You've got a decision to make, ma'am. Either you sign this ranch over to me, or I'll go to the sheriff."
Silence hung heavy between them until a faint noise drew Slade's attention to the doorway.
An old woman stood there, a walking stick clasped in her right hand. Her piercing dark gaze swung from Mariah to him. He stood to his full height.
"Grandma." Mariah launched herself from the chair and hurried to the woman's side.
The frail-looking woman's penetrating stare never left Slade's face.
He held out his hand for the deed. Silence reigned as Mariah handed it over.
"I'll give you an hour to decide." He gave them a curt nod and strode from the room.
Excerpted from CLAIMING MARIAH by PAM HILLMAN Copyright © 2013 by Pam Hillman. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted October 14, 2014
Posted October 6, 2014
Posted August 22, 2014
This is a wonderful book to read, filled with the excitement of rustlers stealing cattle, strangers claiming to own the land, fathers not explaining matters to their heirs before dying, youngsters needing food, an angry son not knowing the truth and wanting revenge, a daughter trying to help her blind sister and manage a ranch by herself with the help of hired hands and her elderly grandmother, a suitor who only wanted the land and had no love for the heroine, and the hero who primarily wanted the land, but ending up wanting the girl more than the land. Will Mariah find her true love in spite of what they had originally thought of each other? It truly is a great story you don’t want to miss.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 8, 2014
Enchanting old west romance story! Mariah is thrown for a loop when Slade Donovan shows up on her ranch and claims that it belongs to him. Reluctantly she hands it over – he graciously allows her grandmother and her to stay on – and discovers that he as a much better knack at running it. They fall in love – but will their love make it through the secrets they have, the suitors pressing for Mariah’s had in marriage, and even other adversity?Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 7, 2014
Set in Wyoming in the late 1800's, Mariah Malone's father has recently passed away and she is struggling to keep the family ranch afloat. Slade Donavan's alcoholic father died years ago, but not before making known that he was the sole owner of the gold that the Malone's ranch was purchased with. He arrives to claim what he believes is rightfully his, and Mariah sadly acquiesces. He has lots of baggage from growing up too soon; she is rocked by the revelations that her father may not be who she always believed; and their attraction to each other is at times inconvenient, but nonetheless real.
This is a sweet romance set in a (somewhat) simpler time. The author also weaves a mystery throughout the story of forgiveness, trust in God, and how family pride can be helpful OR hurtful. I can easily recommend this book.
Posted June 24, 2014
This is such an enjoyable historical romance! I really felt for the characters and all they had gone through in the past. It's understandable why Slade is angry and bitter, but the importance of forgiveness is pointed out, both for Slade to forgive and to accept it from God. I like that the salvation message is clear and that it's emphasized how important prayer is. The romance is wonderful with plenty of romantic moments. The story is well-written and keeps up a good pace. I'm looking forward to her next one! I definitely recommend it if you like historical romance!
Posted June 19, 2014
I just finished reading "Claiming Mariah" by Pam Hillman and I really enjoyed it. In the book, Mariah Malone is overseeing her family's ranch after the sudden death of her father. After his death she sends a letter to his old friend, in hopes they could reconcile after a mysterious argument between the two of them. Unfortunately, the son of the old friend arrives on her doorstep, with awful news. The ranch isn't really her family's at all - it's his.
Mariah and her grandmother are about to be out on the streets. Slade allows them to stay on until they can gather up enough money to move out of town. But during those days, Mariah and Slade begin to fall in love.
There is a lot of mystery, backstabbing, and intrigue in this book. It's a great story that will keep your attention, and it has a happy ending. I definitely recommend this book.
Thank you to Litfuse Publicity and Tyndale Fiction for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Posted June 17, 2014
I enjoyed this book of Pam's. It was a story filled with anger, forgiveness, and faith. You could tell where the plot was going most of the time but not always. I would tell anyone who needs a fun read to pick this up!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 8, 2014
I thought Claiming Mariah by Pam Hillman was a good read. There were some unexpected twists. I would definitely recommend.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 6, 2014
I can't wait for Pam to write another book! --
This is the second book of Pam's that I've read, both have been e-books, and I must say that I enjoy her writing. Pam pulls you into the story and you are feeling the anger, love and faith as if you were one of the characters. I don't see any new books coming out by Pam but I will surely be on the lookout for more. I would highly recommend this book as a good read.
Posted June 3, 2014
It wasn't that I didn't enjoy reading Claiming Mariah by Pam Hillman, but I felt it was predictable. Mariah gives up her family ranch without any fight to Slade who is bitter and set on revenge. He feels slightly bad after his brother Buck confronts him about making them homeless. So Slade lets them stay on until his mother arrives. The expected tension between the two is what I figured. There is an attraction and they fight it. Will they forgive and fall in love? You can read it to find out. I immediately knew that Cooper couldn't be good, because Mariah knew he wasn't. The book did have a few twists I wasn't expecting, so it kept me reading. If you like historical fiction with a western setting, Claiming Mariah is a sure bet.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 2, 2014
The book is set in Wisdom, Wyoming Territory in late spring, 1882. I have always liked historical romances, and this was no exception. Pam Hillman has a way of making you feel transported back in time, you can almost feel the breeze coming off the creek behind the barn.
After Mariah's father dies, she sends a letter which sets in motion events that will change everything she's ever known. Slade Donovan shows up and informs her that the ranch has been bought with money stolen from his father and demands full ownership. A neighboring rancher has offered to take care of her financial problems if she agrees to marry him. But she doesn't love him and finds herself being drawn to Slade instead. She watches the ranch begin to flourish once again under Slade's direction all the while knowing that as soon as his mother and sister arrive, she is out of a home herself. How will she support her sister and grandmother with no where to go?
But there is not just the bad blood between Slade's and Mariah's fathers to deal with, the number of cattle is dwindling and they also have to get to the bottom of what is going on.
Will Slade and Mariah be able to get past the past and move forward with their lives, together?
I thought the characters were well developed and real. You find yourself back in the 1880's and if you just took a stroll down the road, you'd come upon the Lazy M Ranch where Mariah would offer you a biscuit and ham before you went away again.
I also liked how Mariah always turned to pray and God for her answers and relied on Him even in the hard times.
I found myself wanting more story involving Slade's brother Buck and Mariah's sister Amanda. Surely they would find common interests and maybe even romance? Maybe another book could tell their story.
Posted May 16, 2014
This was a heart-touching, western romance, which I very much enjoyed. It is a story that you will remember with a smile, long after you’ve read the last page. Mariah is a wonderful character with a heart for God and those who need love. She is someone that readers will want to emulate in their desire to be the person that God created them to be.
Slade is a man with a one-track mind—a mind to get back what he thinks belongs to him and his family. He’s kind of a bull-in-the-china shop kind of guy—rough around the edges, to say the least. Little by little, the author allows us to see his true heart.
In addition to the romance, the author has written a good story with excitement and tense moments. If you like historical fiction in an Old West setting, don’t miss reading Claiming Mariah by Pam Hillman.
Posted April 18, 2014
Pam Hillman in her new book “Claiming Mariah” published by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. takes us into the life of Mariah Malone.
From the back cover: After her father’s death, Mariah Malone sends a letter that will forever alter the lives of her family. When Slade Donovan, strong willed and eager for vengeance, shows up on her front porch, Mariah is not ready to hear his truths: her father’s farm, the only home she’s ever known, was bought with stolen gold. With Slade ready to collect his father’s rightful claim and force Mariah and her family out on the streets, Mariah must turn to God for guidance. Though Mr. Frederick Cooper, a local landowner, promises to answer her financial woes if she agrees to be his bride, Mariah finds herself drawn instead to the angry young man demanding her home.
With the Lazy M ranch now under Slade’s careful eye, he unearths more than he ever imagined as a devious plot of thievery, betrayal, and murder threatens the well-being of the ranch, endangering those who hold it dear. As the days dwindle until the rest of the Donovan clan arrives at the Lazy M ranch, Mariah and Slade must rise above the resentment of their fathers and see their true feelings before greed changes their futures forever.
I have never read of two women running a ranch. Mariah and her grandmother are running the Lazy M but the Donovan’s feel it is their ranch and they want to take over. Simple enough really. However there is more going on than either Slade or Mariah know about and the two of them must band together to withstand the evil being plotted against them. Ms. Hillman has given us great characters who live and breathe on the pages and draw us into their lives so that we root for the good guys and do not want the bad guys to win. Slade and Mariah are meant for each other but before that can happen they will have to reconcile with their pasts and their fathers so that they can embrace the present and their futures. All I can say is that “Claiming Mariah” is great fun.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Posted April 17, 2014
What an amazing story! Claiming Mariah is the perfect blend of plot, characters, and setting. Pam Hillman's talent lies in her writing style, which made the story come to life. Her descriptions allowed me to imagine things so clearly—all the way down to the posture of characters while they were talking. When you add in the fact that this story is utterly romantic with a healthy dose of adventure, I just loved it! I found it so hard to put it down and flew through the pages!
I'm not sure how I've missed out on Pam Hillman's previous books, but I can promise I won't make that mistake again! I highly recommend Claiming Mariah! [5 stars]
I received a free copy of this book from Tyndale House through Litfuse Publicity in exchange for my fair and honest review.
Posted April 10, 2014
As you open the cover of Pam Hillman’s new book, you are drawn in, a compelling page turning and fast read. A look at pioneering American, in the new Wyoming Territory, at a ranch run by two woman in the Town of Wisdom.
What happens is almost beyond belief, living with people your whole life and maybe not really knowing them? How could that happen? This can be said of both Mariah Malone and the arriving cowboy who wants to take everything from her, Slade Donovan. At first it is just Mariah and her Grandmother, who seem to be following God, but love the influence they had on the people around them.
There are some tragic events, and some that will are so funny, you will laugh out load. Above all there is so much wisdom that is shared, along with the kindness of fellow human beings. I loved how they helped people keep their pride, but being able to help in ways that are unknown to them.
When adversity strikes, we find people that are opposing uniting, and helping one another. Will there be a way for all to survive? Maybe there will be a bit of romance, and the finding of new family, rather than getting rid of them? You will be surprised, and love how God works in these people’s lives, and we don’t see all that is happening until the very end. I for one am so glad that I chose to read this book. Enjoy!
I received this book through Litfuse Publicity Book Tours, and was not required to give a positive review.
Posted April 4, 2014
One of my very favorite Scripture is Romans 8:28--"And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them."
I think this story reveals this Scripture in such a beautiful way! Mariah and Slade are brought together through circumstances that will take both of them on a journey of truth and forgiveness! When Slade arrives demanding to take ownership of Mariah's home, and the farm too, Mariah is shocked to say the least! She has worked hard and doesn't want to let it go but Slade leaves her no choice but to sign it over.
Both of them have allowed unforgiveness and guilt to rule their lives in some aspects and it keeps them from seeing the blessings that are right in front of their own eyes! But then, haven't we all been guilty of that at some points in our lives! It is so moving to see Slade and Mariah work through each of their past and let go of that unforgiveness!
Claiming Mariah is a WONDERFUL READ! I highly recommend it to any and all!
Posted March 25, 2014
Just when things couldn't get any worse for Mariah Malone, in rode trouble. Tall, dark and handsome Slade Donovan was about to change Mariah's life in an unbelievable way. After losing her father, she has managed to attempt to hold down things at her father's cattle ranch the best she could, but after fighting a losing battle after two years of profits she wasn't prepared for what Slade had on his mind.
In response to her letter advising him that she had recently been made aware of her father stealing half of the gold between her father and Slade's, she wanted to make things right. She wanted to offer him a cut of her cattle in hopes of mending the broken fences that kept the two families at odds. Only Slade wanted more than simply a pay off from Mariah. Armed with proof that the mine that both men found gold in was in his father's name only, anything bought with that gold was his, and he wanted to make sure that he got back what he believed he was entitled to and that meant the ranch and everything on it.
Believing that God had an answer for this shocking revelation, Slade's brother Buck was able to convince Slade to allow Mariah and her aging grandmother to stay on the ranch until his family finally came to settle in, and would pay for her upkeep of the house and meals for him and his brother. Mariah knew that the only way she and her grandmother could hope of traveling back to Philadelphia was to accept Slade's offer and save everything she could.
But soon Slade discovers the reason why the ranch hasn't been turning a profit and believes that Mariah's mismanagement of the cattle sales to pay for her sisters school in Philadelphia is something she has long overlooked. Without giving her a chance to explain, he immediately shuts down any attempt she makes and keeps his opinions to himself. Mariah concedes to sign the deed to the cattle ranch over to Slade as long as he promises he will keep the real reasons for the sale private to keep her family name intact in town. Will the two of them be able to work together long enough for them both to benefit or will the anger that Slade has in his heart drive her away forever?
I received Claiming Mariah by Pam Hillman compliments of Tyndale House Publishers and Litfuse Publicity for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions contained in this review are strictly my own. I love how Pam wrote this story from the hearts and perspectives of both Mariah and Slade. Mariah's faith keeps her strong in spite of the circumstances that threaten to leave her homeless and with nothing, while Slade keeps fighting the faith that Mariah has to keep God out for the unanswered prayers he had as a child. He loves what he sees in Mariah but can't see past his own hard heart for the answers to peace and happiness. Where as his brother Buck who is facing his own challenging odds keeps God in perspective and realizes that nothing that happens is God's fault. It will take an act of faith to bring Slade around. I easily give this one a 5 out of 5 stars! Pam Hillman is now one of my must have authors! I am completely addicted to her western novels.
Posted February 5, 2014
In this story Pam Hillman takes us out west to a town named Wisdom located in Wyoming Territory. Wisdom is a quiet town that is filled with God-fearing, hardworking folks. Mariah Malone's father, Seth was one of those descent and respected citizens; everyone will be shocked if the truth comes out of how he bought his ranch.
Mariah Malone has a hard time believing her father's death-bed confession of a terrible offense he committed as a young man. Seth had partnered with Jack Donovan in a goldmine and it seems Seth did some dishonest things. After hearing this news Mariah helps her father write a letter to Jack Donovan asking forgiveness.
Months later when Slade Donovan and his brother Buck arrives, Mariah is shocked to hear there was a lot more to the story than her father told her. Slade tells her he is there to claim the ranch that was bought with his father's money and he wants her out of his house and off of his land!
Slade never thought he would find a beautiful young woman running the Lazy M Ranch, in fact he hadn't thought about anything but the life-long hatred he's had for Seth Malone on the long trip to Wisdom. Now the only thing that matters is taking what rightfully belongs to him, and if that means Mariah and her grandma are left homeless then so be it.
After Slade shows Mariah the deed to the goldmine; which doesn't have her father's name on it, she feels she has to do what he asks. What will she do? Where will she go and how will she explain to her elderly grandmother that her son has caused them to lose the only home Mariah had ever known?
After having a talk with his brother Buck, Slade has a change of heart and tells Mariah that she can stay on as a hired cook until his mother and sisters come. What a life changing decision that will be! Does God have a plan to bring peace and forgiveness to the hearts of these two people that have been hurt by their fathers?
This is the first book I have read by Ms. Hillman and what a pleasure it was. Being raised in a home with a dad that loved Westerns this book was just like a trip down memory lane for me. There are cowboys, cattle and of course your run-of-the-mill cattle rustlers, and let's not forget the wonderful romance thrown in. The story line was so good it had me when I read the blurb on the back. Ms Hillman is certainly a talented writer and I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of this story especially how she dealt with the hurt and unforgiveness in both Mariah and Slade's life. It served to remind me that when you hold on to unforgiveness you only hurt yourself. Thanks Ms. Hillman for an absolutely fantastic read!
Posted January 31, 2014
I had no expectations going into this book, because Pam Hillman is a new author to me. I will definitely be reading more books by her! I really enjoyed this book. Once Slade established his place at the Lazy M ranch, the plot started moving. There were some parts that slowed it down a bit, but they were necessary to set up and establish the romance between Mariah and Slade. Red's parts gave us some insight into what was going on to cause the ranch to be in such dire straits. The plot, overall, was exciting and the story line was very well laid out.
The romance between Slade and Mariah was phenomenally portrayed. It was not rushed; the characters did not fall in love in two days. They had to overcome a lot of emotional baggage and the author did a great job, especially on Slade's part, at developing the characters. Slade's transition from revengeful to forgiveness seemed natural and not rushed. I really enjoyed that about the story.
The message was expertly weaved into the entire book. It's all about forgiveness. When we don't forgive, we become bitter because we're blaming others (especially God) for things that have happened in our lives. You won't have true joy and happiness in your life until you learn to forgive others, yourself, and most importantly let God forgive you. Overall, this was a great book and I would recommend it to everyone who enjoys a good Christian romance.
**Thank you Tyndale Publishers for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.**