So I’ll put this right up front. I liked this book. In all honesty, it’s not really my typical genre (horse ranch plus some romance) but it was Christian and free so I thought I’d give it a try.
The plot is more or less: traumatic event triggers panic in pampered rich kid, Noelle. She runs as far as she can before exhaustion drops her in a small town. As the tour bus loads up and leaves her behind, she finds out the town only has two rental places, one rundown shack or the horse ranch. The owner of the ranch, Rick, usually only rents to fellow Christians (and his stubborn brother, Morgan) but is led to let her stay. Painting the beautiful mountain scenes brings in enough cash to pay her rent for the summer months but the ranch is a seasonal business. Rick gives Noelle an ultimatum: tell him what she’s running from so he can decide whether or not he’s willing to help or she will have to find another place to live.
Unfortunately, you can’t run from the past forever. Eventually, it catches up. And leads the characters on a somewhat heartbreaking journey toward forgiveness, faith, and healing.
Again, not being familiar with the author, I was a little concerned this book might take the overused basis: girl meets charming Christian boy, temptation and trials ensue, girl conveniently finds her faith just before boy’s interest is lost forever, happily ever after. I am happy to note that this was not the case. Noelle’s road to salvation occurred on both a realistic timeline and over an emotional growth that was believable. Kudos, author.
As far as criticism goes, no serious complaints. I thought the plot seemed reminiscent of Safe Haven by Nicolas Sparks. *Shrugs* A lot of books remind me of other books or movies. No problemo. I do have to agree with other reviewers that the writing was longer than necessary but all authors have their own styles. Ms. Heitzmann’s style seems to be more literary than I’m used to.
Noelle’s behavior was sometimes a bit weird to me. I blamed it on her life as a sheltered rich kid and her PTSD. Also, I’ve also known people who seem to pick the stupidest of all possible choices no
matter what. A lot of people out there are emotion-driven and will throw common sense out the window when they get upset or scared. So that’s not really a big deal to me because I know people who would act like that.
Overall, I liked the book. If I happen to notice other stuff by this author in stores and the plot looks compelling, I’d buy it.