LUCKIEST COWBOY OF ALL
By Carolyn Brown
Release Date: January 30, 2018
Reviewed by Hellie
Reviewed by Hellie
The last in her Happy, Texas series, Carolyn Brown ties up the loose ends in her Dawson family while also reuniting a second chance couple with the added trope of a secret baby. Cowboys, rekindled flames, kids and sudden daddys -- it has something for everyone. Carolyn Brown delivers her brand of sweet, sexy, and simple character-driven story, reaffirming what I believe is the core story of all her books: family and love conquer all, and kids make life worth living. Because there are kids everywhere.
Carlene Varner has returned to Happy, Texas to put down roots for her daughter, Tilly, and also to introduce her former flame, Jace Dawson to the daughter he never knew he had. Carlene has inherited her Aunt Rosalie's house and no sooner moves into the fire-hazard-waiting-to-happen that Jace comes to break the bad news to her: the house where she planned to put down her roots had been bought by Jace a year prior and is scheduled for demolition for the new rodeo grounds. Jace no sooner gets the news out then he meets Tilly and realizes who she is, since she's the spitting image of his sister at that age. Complications abound.
Jace gives Carlene leave to stay temporarily at Aunt Rosalie's house until she can find a more permanent place, but before she can find a suitable arrangement, there is a fire in the house, and they are immediately shuffled to Jace's ranch, which is near the other ranch houses on the property (there is always one Dawson or another in Jace's house so they are never without chaperones). Carlene did not move back to Happy in order to pick up with Jace where they left off or make him assume a responsibility he never asked for. While Jace is sure that Carlene is the only woman he wants --has ever wanted-- Carlene wants to go slow and make sure this rekindled relationship is right for all parties, including Tilly.
There's a lovely secondary romance for Grandma Hope, the matriarch, and Henry, Nash's father from the previous book in the series. The main source of conflict revolves around what the rest of the family will think, will they accept the relationships, and also, what will the town think. It's conflict that's carried across all the books, as small towns and big families can be awfully opinionated and obnoxious when it comes to other people's love lives. How do you please yourself without alienating those who love you most? Shouldn't love be something everyone agrees with and wants everyone to have? And, my God, what will the neighbors think? Hope has been a widow for many years; and her husband is a beloved figure--how could she possibly love someone else? Let alone someone who was a previous flame? For some, this feels a bit like she didn't love her own husband as much as the rest of the family does.
Fans of the series will enjoy interacting with familiar characters from the other books as well as getting to know Carlene and Tilly. A solid conclusion to the series--Tilly consistently steals the show.
Also, this particular paperback will include Sara Richardson's Hometown Cowboy, so you'll get two stories for the price of one. If you remember my review of Sara Richardson's third book in her Rocky Mountain Riders series, you'll see that Hometown Cowboy is the first story in that series.
I rate this book 5 stars. It's sweet, it hits the kinds of romantic tropes I love best, Jace is a yummy true-blue hero, and he even saves a kitten. TWICE. How can you not love a cowboy like that?