Title: Homecoming Ranch (Pine River)
Author: Julia London
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Release date: August 13, 2013
Where I got the book: I received an e-copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Madeline Pruett has made up for a lonely childhood and being raised by an irresponsible single mom by creating a solitary world where timetables and highlighters are essential for the predictability she craves. But Madeline is shocked out of her carefully constructed life by word that a father she never knew has died and left her an inheritance and, surprisingly, two unknown sisters. Madeline hopes that she can fly to Colorado, meet her sisters, discover her inheritance, and return to Orlando in a few days to close the biggest deal of her budding real estate career and get back to what she knows best: a quiet life.
For years, Luke Kendrick has juggled school and career and rescuing his family from illness, death and financial crisis. But he has never lost sight of his goals: building and selling his own dream homes. Just when it seems that dream might finally materialize, Luke is called home to Pine River, Colorado to reclaim the ranch his father lost in a gentlemen’s agreement. He is not surprised—Luke’s family knows he will put his life on hold to rescue them...again. But Luke is surprised by a sexy yet uptight button-up woman in impractical shoes who thinks his ranch now belongs to her.
Madeline isn’t sure how to put order to a sprawling, rundown ranch, not to mention a pair of sisters who are nothing like what she imagined or hoped them to be. The only thing she’s sure of is that careful planning is useless in a place where roads have names like Sometimes Pass and men as ruggedly handsome as Luke Kendrick behave so unpredictably.
As Luke and Madeline go toe to toe over the future of the ranch, sparks fly as hot and fiery as their kisses. Madeline thinks she’s the expert, but it’s Luke who teaches her a thing or two—about breaking down walls, finding home, and the true meaning of family.
As a huge fan of the romance genre, I rarely see new ideas. "There is nothing new under the sun." A great author (and there are so many!) can take any plot and make it her (or his) own. That's what London has done with Homecoming Ranch. Fans of Nora Roberts will have flashbacks to her trilogy about three sisters who inherit a ranch. I loved that series, but I'm thrilled to report that London's series is nothing like it.
First of all, London absolutely hit the jackpot with Leo. I'm completely in love with this guy, and he's not even supposed to be the star of the show. He sweeps in and steals the whole thing, though. Aside from his personality, choosing to have Leo narrate parts of the book was a unique and original idea that sets this one apart from other romance novels. (Did I mention I've read a few thousand?)
Madeline's mother drove me crazy, but Madeline handles her like a pro. Over her mother's harping, and aside from her relationship with Luke, Madeline has to decide if having a relationship with her sisters is more important than having complete control over every aspect of her life.
There is plenty of humor in this book, too. Along with Leo's narration, Madeline's new experiences with animals are pretty entertaining. Definitely a book you don't want to miss.