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Head-Strong Woman On The Run
Poor Cowboy With A Passel of Family Responsibility
Mysteries And Questions
This is the second book in the series, Marriage and Mayhem; it is a stand-alone novel; you do not have to read the first book to enjoy Love, Stock, And Barrel. This is a lovely clean Christian western romance. I was hooked me from the first page to the end of the tale. She has the art of storytelling fine-tuned.
In this novel, Dinah (D. J.) Lexington, a skilled gun smith, is on the run from an uncaring father and a philandering fiance. (There is a story behind using her initials for her name). After finding her mother’s diary, she knows where she is going; West, Young Woman, Go West! she travels West dressed as a boy.
She finds unanswered questions and mysteries in her mother’s diary and is on a mission to find Pete Atkins in Crystal Falls, Texas. For reasons unknown to Dinah, before her death, her mother hired a private detective to find Pete. To add to the mystery, her mother’s maiden name was Atkins. Why was her mother looking for Pete Atkins? Who was he? How was he related to her mother? Why didn’t she tell her about him?
Then add into the mix, handsome Russell Cahill working with Pete. A strong cowboy responsible for raising his passel of siblings; his mother is dead, and his father is a drunkard with little to no interest in these wonderful children. Russell is a caring, loving man and does the best he can for his family with the little money he has available.
Pete Atkins refuses to talk to Dinah. Will she get her answers? Russell and Dinah, who becomes known as Dinah-mite for her strong red-headed determination and temper, will become involved in a crisis and then, of course, a fast marriage.
There is a lot of action in this tale with Pete, outlaws, rustling, and the attraction between Russell and Dinah which they are fighting tooth and nail. Ms. Barns included humor in this yarn. I found myself laughing at the character’s antics.
CHARACTERS, PLOTTING, AND DEVELOPMENT:
I want a Russell of my very own. Ms. Barnes created a wonderful character in Russell; handsome, strong, and a man of faith. The character development of Russell and Lexington is excellent. I loved watching an insecure Lexington coming to terms with God and His plans for her life to become a strong, secure woman, as well as, Russell’s renewal of his faith in the blessings of God in his life and acceptance of God’s plan for him.
Pete, another skillfully developed character, is running from the past and Dinah. I wanted to shake him at times. Crysta Barnes kept me guessing throughout this story. I thought I had it worked out; wow, was I wrong. The revelations were a total surprise. She weaves a good story with twists and turn; then brings all the threads together to form a cohesive tale. Her presentation of the salvation plan was well done and, in such a way, the story did not come off as preachy or pushy.
The pace of the story was perfect. The tale did not lag and kept my interest. The plot kept me guessing, as I said, I was totally wrong in my assumption of the mystery involving Pete and the rustlers. I found myself wanting to read more about Russell, Pete, and Lexington. The secondary characters add so much to the story, and I felt I knew them by the end of the book.
This novel has everything a good story needs to entertain the reader. I loved this story and found myself sorry when I reached the last page. I hope Ms. Barnes has plans to include these characters in her next tale. I think anyone would enjoy this story.
About Author Crystal Barnes
Ms. Barnes was born and raised in Texas. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and an award-winning author. She loves old-fashioned things and the Lord. She also has a degree in computer science. In her spare time she knits, crochets, sews and watches old movies/sitcoms. If you would like to contact Ms. Barnes, click on the link below.