The Saddlemaker's Wife by Earlene Fowler | Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
The Saddlemaker's Wife

The Saddlemaker's Wife

4.7 10
by Earlene Fowler

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National bestselling author Earlene Fowler's Agatha Award-winning novels have made her a treasure for fans of home-grown suspense. Now, she spins a tale of a grieving widow whose search for the truth uncovers a family's secrets - and the sins of the past...

Ruby McGavin isn't quite sure what she's doing in the small town of Cardinal. After the death of her husband


National bestselling author Earlene Fowler's Agatha Award-winning novels have made her a treasure for fans of home-grown suspense. Now, she spins a tale of a grieving widow whose search for the truth uncovers a family's secrets - and the sins of the past...

Ruby McGavin isn't quite sure what she's doing in the small town of Cardinal. After the death of her husband, Cole, Ruby is shocked to learn from his will that she had inherited part of a cattle ranch in the rustic grasslands of Tokopah County, California. But she is even more surprised to find out that the family he claimed died years ago is very much alive.

With her own family history still haunting her, Ruby arrives in town with her husband's ashes intending on selling her part of the ranch back to the McGavins and leaving town to start a new life. But as she comes to know them-- in particular the handsome saddlemaker Lucas McGavin -- Ruby learns even more surprising family secrets about her departed husband and his family that make her wonder if she ever really knew Cole.

Driven to uncover the whole story, Ruby tries to piece together the lies she was told with the truths she isn't sure she can believe -- and uncovers a legacy of pain and denial that has pursued the McGavin family for too long...

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Fowler's lucky 13th novel, a departure from her Agatha Award-winning Benni Harper series (Delectable Mountain, etc.), offers a poignant tale of a family fractured by the secrets of the past. Ruby McGavin, grieving over the recent death of her husband, Cole, is shocked to discover that Cole lied to her about his family. They're not all dead, as he told her, but very much alive, and in his will, he has left her his share of the family ranch in California. Ruby heads to tiny Cardinal, Calif., with Cole's ashes, intent on selling her share of the ranch, but she quickly realizes that Cole had hidden many things from her. Cole's younger brother, Lucas, who has fled his life as a lawyer in San Francisco, has returned to Cardinal, where he scrapes out a life as a saddlemaker. Slowly Ruby and Lucas edge closer to the truth of a secret that haunts both their lives. Fowler, with her gift for drawing painfully real and credible characters, takes the reader along on an emotionally powerful ride. This could well be her breakout book. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Ruby McGavin discovers surprises on a California cattle ranch upon the death of her husband-plus a legacy of pain and denial. Fowler, author of the "Benni Harper" series, lives in Southern California. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A young widow confronts the family her late husband denied he had. During the six months they were married, Cole McGavin told his wife Ruby that his family had died in a traffic accident outside Bakersfield. But it's Cole whose truck is found at the bottom of a ravine off Ortega Highway, leaving Ruby to discover a will leaving her one-fourth of the Circle MG Ranch in Cardinal. Bearing an urn with Cole's ashes, she leaves Southern California for the high desert, not knowing what to expect from the kinfolk he's left very much alive. His aunt Birch, who loved Cole far better than his distant mother June did, treats Ruby kindly even before she knows who she is, offering her the best room at the Tokopah Lodge, which she owns with her half-Mexican, half-Paiute-Shoshone husband Bobby Hernandez. And brother Lucas, who took over Cole's saddlery when his law practice brought him too close to the dark side of humanity, also finds himself drawn to the lonely widow, even though his mother warns him that her claim on the ranch could bankrupt the Circle MG. But it's Cole's longtime friends Ely Grey and Lincoln Holyoke who tell Ruby about Cole's past, revealing the dark secret of the man she loved but barely knew. The creator of Benni Harper (Delectable Mountains, 2005, etc.) has produced a lovely crossover novel, a family tale with flair and heart.

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Berkley Prime Crime Mysteries Series
Product dimensions:
6.32(w) x 9.24(h) x 1.14(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Earlene Fowler was raised in La Puente, California, by a Southern mother and a Western father. She lives in Southern California with her husband, Allen, a large number of quilts, and twenty pairs of cowboy boots.

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Saddlemaker's Wife 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Saddlemaker's Wife is the 1st novel outside the award winning Benni Harper mystery series. You will love this book if it's the first ever Earlene Fowler you've read, or if you are a long time Benni Harper fan and wait breathlessly for the next book to be published! Earlene's style makes you connect with the characters right away, and want to know everything about them. I find that I devour the book so quickly, that at the end, I'm sadly disappointed that the book is over. I have taken to reading them all over again slowly, to see what I might have missed. In the Saddlemaker's Wife, something Ruby is going through was very similar to something in my life. I cried so hard, I couldn't breathe through my nose and had to trade the book for a kleenex. It was the kind of cry where you just let the tears flow, no sound coming out, until you are just about cried out. The books are just as good the 2nd time around. Earlene has another mainstream novel just out, Love Mercy, which is a fabulous read too. You can view the book trailer on UTube - there is a link from her website,, as well as a link to her new blog. If you haven't tried Earlene Fowler yet, please rush to your nearest Barnes & Nobel and pick up a copy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've enjoyed Earlene Fowler's Benni Harper series and The Saddlemaker's Wife was just as entertaining. I'm looking forward to reading the sequel, The Road to Cardinal Valley.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thoroughly enjoyed this book. A light and fast read.
ChurchladyGL More than 1 year ago
Earlene Fowler's novel, the saddlemaker's Wife is a complete departure for the author. It is not a mystery or a crime drama, although there are elements of both in it, but it is a character study and disection of a dysfunctional family. The mystery is the answer to shy the family is dysfunctional, but in many ways that is merely a sideshow to how the main character relates to other members of the family. It is not a bad book but I did not find it nearly as entertaining as a typical Benni Harper novel. Sorry, Earlene, but this mystery buff is was not entertainingly mystified.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As much as I love anything written by Earlene Fowler, this book is my favorite. I wish she would have a sequel because she left the ending a little open as to what may happen next with the characters.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ms. Fowler brings her characters to life. If you want to escape from your day, choose any of her books. They will soon become a part of your book-reading family! What happened to Ms. Fowler? Can't wait to read more with this new series.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have just finished the 12 book series and was surpised to see there was one more book not related , the saddlemakers wife was just as good, and I went in search of other books by this author , I don't see any at this time but I will keep looking Thank you for writing books that are clean and interesting
Guest More than 1 year ago
I did not read the description before I opened the book and was expecting B. Harper as my main character. Was initially disappointed as I was all prepared to enter that same familiar world. However, this is a great book. Expertly told - the number of characters was hard to keep in place at first but they evenutally merged into a family dynamic. Fowler never disappoints!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this was very good and enjoyed the character building that led to the final secret being told. I was hoping Ruby would find her mother but not to be. I can see a sequel being written with some of the stories that weren't quite finished.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Cole and Ruby McGavin were married six months when he died in an apparent accident in which his truck was found in the bottom of a ravine. Ruby mourns her sudden loss, but receives a second shocker when she learns that she inherited part of his family spread, the Circle MG Ranch in Cardinal, Tokopah County, California. The stunner is that Cole insisted his entire family died ironically in a car accident near Bakersfield. --- Taking Cole¿s ashes to his hometown while also planning to sell her share of the ranch, Ruby meets her in-laws. Cole¿s Aunt Birch is especially welcoming to her, the total opposite of her mother-in-law June, who treats her with disdain and fears she will bankrupt their spread with her quarter share. However, the biggest surprise is Lucas, Cole's younger brother, a former San Francisco lawyer who came home to become an impoverish saddlemaker. He has the same obsession as her, a need to know what drove Cole to deny his family¿s existence. They team up to learn the truth, but family members are silent leading them to Cole¿s friends as their only hope. --- Displaying her talent without Benni Harper to help, Agatha Award winner Earlene Fowler provides a deep family drama starring two likable protagonists needing to know the secret that led to Cole¿s actions. The story line is character driven especially indirectly by the late Cole. Fans of powerful psychological thrillers that require a one sitting read will want to know why at least as much as THE SADDLEMAKER¿S WIFE needs to know too --- Harriet Klausner