When Clayton Proffitt, foreman of the Circle Z Ranch in Texas, discovers Vanessa Grant crying in the barn late one night, he first thinks she’s gotten herself into another scrape. But when he spies the marks on her back and hears about her stepfather’s advances, Clayton knows he must spirit Vanessa away to safety.
As they make their way west, it becomes apparent that there’s something special between Vanessa and Clayton— far more significant than mere friendship or his sense of duty. Unfortunately, also heading west are Vanessa’s brother Miles and her stepfather Price Venture. Price wants Vanessa back for obvious reasons; Miles wants to earn his stepfather’s respect. Eventually, unexpected confrontations reach a harrowing conclusion. As their family begins to heal, their journey and trials they've faced helps them realize their future is in God's guiding hands.
Before I get started on the negative I would like to say that I did enjoy the characters in this book. Vanessa, Clayton, Corrine, and Merritt. Even the ones they met on the road. I was glad to see the changes in Miles and Price, of course I did not like! I felt that the characters were very well written and that this book could of been more, if it were not for a few minor things holding it back.
To start I must say that the whole religious aspect of the book was a bit much and made me want to put it down a time or two. It felt very over done to me. Growing up in a very religious household, we did not talk as much about God and the Bible as much as these people did. I felt like I was being preached at through some parts of this book.
I also take issue with the repetitiveness of Clayton and Vanessa's thoughts. It feels as though the author was just trying to meet a page quota and managed to do so by repeating their insecurities in one way or another.
Through out their entire journey west it seemed like all Gray focused on was their insecurities. I get it. They have issues that they need to work on. I just don't need to be told about those problems in every chapter!
Along with the repetitiveness I take issue with the timeline. It seems like it was not thought out very well or was not corrected when edited.
For example, when Clayton and Vanessa arrive at Bar M, Corrine states that she is pregnant and figures she has 6 months left. A few weeks (at most) later and she is giving birth to a healthy baby boy. That puts her at 4 months and no way would that baby would be healthy!
When Clayton Leaves Vanessa at Bar M it is unclear, to me, how long he was really gone for. Gray writes that it was just over 2 months a few times, but on a letter from Vanessa she says its Christmas time and then in her telegram to Clayton it is August. That's more than 2 months. When they are back together again Vanessa also claims that it has been only 6 months since leaving Circle Z, but then a few pages later states that it had been a long 18 months since everything happened. So which is it? How long was Clayton really gone for?
Over all I did really love the characters and how well they worked with each other. I think this book could of been better if the author took the time to pay attention to her time line.
My rating: 2/5 stars
Pub Date: 10/01/11
Thank you to netGalley for the chance to read and review this book.