When Harper Lee Crockett returns home to Paradise Ranch, Wyoming, the last thing she expects is to fall head-over-heels in lust for Cole, childhood neighbor and her older sister's long-time boyfriend. The spirited and artistic Crockett sister has finally learned to resist her craziest impulses, but this latest trip home and Cole's rough-and-tough appeal might be too much for her fading self-control.
Cole Wainwright has long been fascinated by the sister who's always stood out from the crowd. His relationship with Amelia, the eldest Crockett sister, isn't as perfect as it seems, and with Harper back in town, he sees everything he's been missing. Cole knows they have no future together—he's tied to the land and she's created a successful life in the big city—but neither of them can escape their growing attraction or inconvenient feelings.
As Harper struggles to come to grips with new family responsibilities and her forbidden feelings for Cole, she must decide whether to listen to her head or to give her heart what it wants.
A Great Start to a New Series
A great start to a new series! The seven Crockett girls have all returned to Paradise Ranch upon the death of their father. Harper is the free spirit artist, trying to make a go of it in Chicago (love Gino's Pizza). She runs into Cole, her high school crush, plus her sister's ex boyfriend. They soon find out their is an attraction between them. Does she listen to her heart or follow her career, or can she have both at Paradise Ranch.
Great descriptive writing, it makes the reader really feel like they are there. Loved the secondary story of Skylar, a young Harper. I can't wait to start reading the next book in the series. I highly recommend this book for all lovers of small town contemporary romance.
Now I just need all the rest in this series!
Harper can hardly remember a time when Cole wasn’t practically a part of her family, but her unrequited crush has kept her in avoidance mode for the past several years. It’s one thing to develop feelings for your best childhood friend, but it’s quite another when that same friend dated your beautiful sister for years in high school. But when family loss and responsibilities bring her home, her feelings are hard to deny, and when Cole seems to reflect some of those very same feelings, things just might get messy.
But... There’s a LOT to this story, so much more than just simple romance. There are family issues, problems with the ranch they’ve inherited and now have to figure out how to save, arguments about preserving the land versus drilling for oil, and a whole host of other drama to deal with. And to be honest, it’s all really interesting and kept The Bride Wore Denim from being just another predictable romance novel. But with all that going on in the characters’ lives, the romance part was extremely slow to develop. I can’t say I got bored, but I definitely began to wonder if they were ever going to get around to that first kiss, much less anything else. Having read it now, I can tell you that yes, it happens eventually, but it’s a long, long wait, so this book is definitely not for the impatient.
The Verdict: As I mentioned, The Bride Wore Denim had an awful lot happening all at once, very much like it does in real life. With the death of her father, it’s now up to Harper and her sisters to figure out what to do with the ranch, whether to pursue oil on the land (and potentially destroy part of it in the process), how to deal with a second tragedy, whether to continue pursuing their dreams and careers or give it all up to come home… And that’s not the half of it. But while I may have been itching for Harper and Cole to finally give into their feelings just the tiniest bit, I can also appreciate that these characters and their lives were so well developed that the story wasn’t just all about finding a happily ever after. It was certainly about love but also about family and all the other obstacles life throws at people whether they’re ready or not.
Harper pretty much had me at cochins. While she grew up, went to school, and began pursuing an art career, she was definitely a country girl at heart, and how could I not identify with that? She was the best combination of awkward, passionate, intelligent, and creative, and while she could admit to herself that she had some feelings for Cole, she was loyal enough to her sister that she tried to tamp down those feelings — and realistic enough to be a little squicked out about their dating history. And Cole, who could have tried to rush things once he realized Harper had at least some feelings for him, was just better than that, knowing that Harper had an overly full plate and respecting her enough that he didn’t push to complicate her life with a relationship before she was ready.
But I think what stood out most about the story was the realistic and detailed way it reflected just how difficult and chaotic life can be. There’s grief over the loss of Harper’s father, issues getting along with her sisters, disagreements about who should take on what responsibilities, and exactly the kind of conflict and unconditional love that is simply normal family dynamics — on top of the romantic interest! Selvig could have written her characters and plot to immediately launch into saving the ranch and pursuing a relationship, but instead she allowed them to marinate in indecision and complicated choices, making sure they didn’t rush headlong into some pre-determined future or serendipitously stumble upon the magic answer to every problem. Sure, I was a bit on the impatient side regarding the delay of the kissy parts, but I can’t deny that the thickly woven, detail-rich plot had me hooked within the first chapter. It’s impossible not to want every other book in this series right this minute.
***FicCentral received this book from Harper Collins (via Edelweiss) for free in exchange for an honest review.
Sure to be a favorite on bookshelves everywhere.
It’s been a couple of years since I read my first book by this author: I loved her ability to create characters that resonated and could breathe in the corner of the room as I read (in that non-stalker totally not creepy way). Now with a new series that has all of the elements I love: family concerns, a chance to resolve past issues, the recognition of true desires and a chance at happiness that realigns your life plans.
Harper has returned to Wyoming after years away pursuing her art and her own life. She’s always seen herself as the black sheep, and never quite fit in with her perceptions of a rancher: either life or wife. With her father’s death, many unresolved issues about their relationship, the way the sisters (there are 6 girls in this family) related to him and to one another, and the difficult decisions that face them all regarding the ranch become major players and elements in this story.
Cole grew up on the neighboring ranch, but lost that legacy when his father sold the land to Harper’s father. Always carrying a torch for Harper, he’d dated her sister Amelia on and off through high school and after, only to have it end amicably. In ways that often happen, while he’d never actually say it, I think Cole was with Amelia because she was handy, and Harper wasn’t interested. But, not surprisingly, Cole KNOWS the Crockett girls very well, and he understands the dynamics behind their behavior.
For me, the highlight of this story was the characters. Of course, there is a crisis surrounding the management of the ranch, but the interactions between the sisters, Harper’s very strong interior monologue and her own concerns, and that connection with Cole build a need to know tension that had me racing through the pages to see what was next. Each character has a solidity and personality, you can almost envision yourself in the midst of the conversations, and you want to (or I did) slap Amelia about the head and shoulders repeatedly. SO judgmental and angry, lashing out at everyone, with her “I’m better, smarter, more important’ vibe. From the outside, you can see it as defensive, hiding an insecurity and hurt feelings, but from a sibling perspective, it’s a serious smack down from the sister furiously exerting her dominance inherited with birth order.
For Cole and Harper are perfectly suited: he GETS her, he appreciates her outlook on the world and life, and understands that her (for Wyoming ranchers) ‘hippie ideas” are actually sound and logical. More importantly, she lights up and is more ‘herself’ around him. Of course the squidgy issue of the years he and Amelia dated is looming large: but they both agreed that they were better as friends than as a couple. But still, that history exists, with her sister, so Harper is understandably reluctant, no matter the long-standing crush.
Moments and descriptions are little gems, often humor brings a scene to technicolor life:
“multicolored escaped fowl that careened around the yard like over-caffeinated bees”, or “what a little freedom and gang mentality could do….they’d turned into a band of egg-laying gangsters, helping each other escape the law.” Those are descriptions that are laden with imagery, humor and provide some truths beneath the lighthearted phrasing. Sprinkled throughout the book, those funny moments fill the story with lightness while never deflecting focus, and keep the reader seeing what is in front of them with ever-increasing clarity. A wonderful coming-home, romance, family saga, story of finally growing up. Sure to be a favorite on bookshelves everywhere.
I received an eARC copy of the title from the publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.