Who Wants to Marry a Cowboy?
Author: Abigail Sharpe
Publisher: Hachette Book Group/Grand Central Publishing – Forever
Publication Date: May 7, 2013
Set in Wyoming, WHO WANTS TO MARRY A COWBOY? tells the story of Riley Pommer, a forest ranger who moves back to his family’s pay-to-play-cowboy ranch to care for his siblings after their father’s death. He’s been burned by women in his life, and is content to be without any entanglements, but his siblings have other ideas. They decide to turn the ranch into a singles retreat, and volunteer him to be the market-research guinea pig for the eight women they invite for a trial run.
South Carolina florist, Ainsley Fairfax, participates in the singles rodeo as a way of escaping her overbearing mother. At the ranch, she’s free from trying to please everyone around her and is more interested in the ranch’s greenhouse than any smelly cowboy so desperate for a woman that he needs a singles retreat to find himself a girlfriend.
Ainsley’s misconceptions are shattered when she meets Riley and realizes he isn’t smelly or desperate. He’s also not happy about the bachelorettes invading his home. Neither Ainsley nor Riley expects the attraction that develops between them. In the face of sabotage attempts by the other would-be wives and family pressures, Ainsley has to stand up for herself and Riley needs to let go of old hurts and open his heart before they can find happiness together.
Overall, I definitely liked this book. This is Ms. Sharpe’s debut novel and given the excerpt at the end from her upcoming sophomore effort, Who Wants to Marry a Doctor?, along with the general likability of the hero of that upcoming book, I believe she’s one to watch in the future.
That said, there were definitely both good and bad with this book. Riley and Ainsley are both likable in general, but I did get tired of the constant lack of faith on either of their parts as to the other. Yes, they both had issues (who doesn’t?), but I’m sorry, the non-stop, Oh, I’ll assume the worst because my mother was a <censored> and left me when I was a kid, so all women are like that, got old very quickly.
There were a lot of great flashes of humor throughout, and Ainsley definitely showed some growth over the course of the book. I’m not entirely sure Riley did much growing up, but everyone else certainly did and at least he started letting go some of his issues toward the end.
There was a lovely secondary romance between Ainsley’s sister and Ainsley’s long-time-stubborn-beau. I was happy to see how that worked out, and I found both of them nice to spend time with. This was definitely a story with two distinct, interwoven, romances. One wouldn’t really stand up very well without the other. I did, however, feel like Edward and Ainsley both badly needed to grow a pair (or spine, in Ainsley’s case) and deal with the witch Sophia.
Meagan, Ainsley’s roommate from the “bachelorette” set-up definitely tickled my funny bone and I loved how shy and quiet she was in her own romance (yes, there was even a third-layer of romance in the air). Say whatever else you might about this book, Ms. Sharpe excels at handling multiple plots and multiple layers of emotion. Oh, and I have to say, her relatively low level of actual sex/heat was a welcome relief in a genre which seems to be in constant contest with itself to see who can write the most erotic, sex-filled books quickest.
I’m definitely looking forward to her next entry in the series, and hopefully neither one of them will be lacking a spine.
Thank you, Ms. Sharpe, for giving me a lovely time set on a ranch and a new appreciation of flowers and the florists who grow them.
Book provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
–Review by Victoria