Sunday, 27 January 2013

Waiting for Morning (A Brides of Last Chance Ranch Novel) - Margaret Brownley

April 1896, Dobson Creek, Colorado and Molly Hatfield feels something is wrong. Taking the job at the local Saloon has made her the contempt of polite society. If only they would believe that the only entertainment she gave to the drunk men were her singing and dancing.

When the fire alarm is sounded, Molly rushes to where she left her wheelchair bound brother, Donny. Her fears are confirmed when it's the hotel that is on fire - Donny is in there. Taking a great chance, she rescues her brother from the flaming timbers. She won't allow anything to happen to him again - after all it was her fault he's in the rigid contraption.

Three weeks later and the siblings are on their way to Last Chance Ranch, Arizona because the headstrong, green-eyed beauty answered an advertisement. It called for a single woman to become the heiress of the ranch and the one clause is she can't be married or want to marry. In rides Miss. Eleanor Walker the owner of said ranch. A fearless, hardworking woman she is determined not to lose her ranch to a stranger and so grooming someone to take over the farm and its cattle is her priority. The only problem is that quite a few women have come and gone - is Molly the right woman for the job?

Molly is somewhat fearful about the position as she wasn't completely honest about her circumstances. What will Miss. Walker say when she sees Donny - a disabled young boy who needs a high amount of care Coupled with a chance encounter with the handsome, single Doctor Caleb Fairbanks sees life become a whole lot more complicated. Strongly attached to him, Molly pushes Caleb away. Not only will she lose the inheritance but she refuses to put Donny into a mental asylum (where those disabled were put at the time).

In the scorching heat frustrations are building, a rancher who doesn't want to lose all that she owns, a sister who won't allow herself to love because of guilt and feels she's the only one who can look after her brother. A young man whose disability sees him unhappy and scared that his sister will leave him and a doctor who is struggling to build a reputation as the town's medic but may lose the love his life.

Will these four different people with different needs find a happy medium? And what can the antics of the doctor's dog Magic and a blind horse Orbit teach their humans?

With rich and vibrant characters, Brownley's novel is an easy going story about faith, integrity and love. The gentle weaving of each person's circumstance so that they are embroiled in each other's lives is subtly done and the fierce compassion felt doing the right thing as well as allowing God to guide them shines through. It's dramatic without being over the top and the touches of humor throughout create a warm and inviting book.

Although book two of the 'Last Chance' series, this can be a stand-alone novel. I liked the portrayal of the rancher and Molly's compassion for her brother, perhaps a little misguided, is genuine. The burgeoning love is spot on but for me the real stars of the book are Orbit and Magic. Their strange relationship was a great analogy of how humans can help each other, look past the disabilities and just accept each other as they are - warts and all. A recommended read.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson as part of the Booksneeze program. The opinions expressed are my own and I am not required to give a positive review.

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