Lone Star Woman is the debut book by Sadie Callahan, but she is no stranger to romance fiction. Some of you may know her as Anna Jeffrey and also half of the amazingly funny Dixie Cash. Whatever you want to call her, she is definitely a gifted author.
As the only child of a wealthy ranch owner and businessman, Judith Ann Strayhorn has always been fortunate enough to enjoy the best things in life. She lives at the Circle C, a sprawling ranch, went to the best school, and has never lacked for money. Lately though, she yearns for something more in her small Texas town. Regardless of knowing the ins and outs of running the cattle ranch, her father and grandfather hold her back on so many levels. Jude intends to remedy that by purchasing a neighboring ranch, the 6-0, that has been deserted since the proprietor passed away. On her way to the bank to start the ball rolling on releasing money from her trust fund, Jude notices an unfamiliar truck parked in the driveway of the 6-0. She pulls in to find out who the trespasser is and what they want. To her disappointment, she learns that the good-looking cowboy is not a criminal, but the new owner, Brady Fallon.
Brady Fallon is no stranger to Lockett, Texas, though it has been many years since he was last there. After going through a nasty divorce, losing custody of his son and having his business fold, he is ready for a change and decides to start fresh by fixing up the ranch and surrounding land left to him by his aunt. To do that he needs money, so he seeks employment as a ranch hand at the nearby Circle C. Brady soon discovers how difficult it is to keep his mind on his job when he works so close with the boss’s daughter.
Jude and Brady were incredibly real characters and I completely immersed myself in their story. Jude is smart and rich and can do anything, go anywhere or get anything that she wants, but she knows that isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be. Despite living with her father, grandfather and a house full of servants, she is lonely. She has always been the obedient daughter, but feels like an outsider at times in spite of that. Her mother ran off when Jude was a baby and her stepmother died when she was seven. She was engaged twice, but only to please her father and grandfather. She spends more time with her horses than she does people. Until she meets Brady. With Brady, she finally finds someone she connects with. Someone who understands her. Someone who feels the same way she does about so many things. And when her grandfather starts speaking about Brady in a disparaging way, Jude feels like she can finally be useful by helping Brady succeed. She has a quirky, off-beat sense of humor that Brady finds charming. He swore off serious relationships after his ex-wife and her father raked him over the coals, but Jude creeps under his skin and he can’t help but like her and want to be around her. When they make love for the first time, he discovers that even though Jude was engaged twice, she is still very innocent when it comes to men. As a reader, I found her innocence refreshing and very endearing.
While reading this book, I was amazed at the depth of West Texas detail woven throughout. It is obvious that, like Jude, Ms. Callahan loves the land and is intimately familiar with the goings on at a working ranch. At times, I felt like I could actually feel the heat of the sun and the grit of the clay, see the wide open sky and smell the fresh air of the great outdoors. It was amazing.
In Lone Star Woman, Sadie Callahan brings readers a touching, emotional story of two lonely people who discover each other despite all odds. So, if you have a hankering for a first-class western or if you’ve never tried one and want to, I highly recommend this one!
Lone Star Woman releases January 6, 2009.