Thursday, December 9, 2010

Book Review: Yuletide Cowboy by Debra Clopton

From the Cover:
            After three years in Mule Hollow’s women’s shelter, single mother Lynn Perry is finally spending the holidays in her own house.  And then the town’s matchmakers send over a hunky cowboy to hang Christmas lights…Lynn hopes there’s no mistletoe around.  With her painful past, how can she trust another man? Especially former bull rider and current pastor Chance Turner, who isn’t planning on sticking around—or ever preaching again.  Unless Lynn, twin boys and the matchmakers help her yuletide cowboy see he’s the answer to a family’s—and a town’s—Christmas prayers.

            This is the “umpteenth” installment in the Mule Hollow series (Seriously, I would have to count them, there are so many) It’s the third, and final, installment in the “Men of Mule Hollow” miniseries. 
            Let me start by confessing my bias.  You see, I own every Mule Hollow book. The Trouble With Lacy Brown caught my eye, and I’ve been hooked ever since. I love some more than others, but they are all permanently on my keeper shelf.  Also Debra Clopton is on my “must buy” list.
            That said, I feel I can impartially review this book.  So here goes.

  1. Lynn’s independence:  She said, “I won’t be railroaded.” And she isn’t.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the matchmaking Posse, but they’ve been known to get pushy. With the Turner clan adding fuel to the fire, they are a powerful force.  I was glad to see Lynn hold her ground.
  2. Lynn’s wisdom: She wants to be everything for her twin sons, but she knows they need a father figure.  She comes to the realization that her boys would “suffer in the long run because she couldn’t let go of her past” (pg. 121)
  3. Chance’s flexibility: He comes home to “fill his tank,” so to speak. He and God disagree about how to do that. Chance fights it at first, but he finally yields graciously. A pivotal scene is when the church is without a preacher because the fill-in gets sick. Chance, the only preacher for miles around, tries to shrug the duty off on Sheriff Brady. “Lynn’s mouth fell open, ‘Seriously.  You seriously just said that?’” (pg. 159). I love that line! This scene is the beginning of Chance’s return to, shall we say “active duty” in the Lord’s army.  It seems he overcomes his hang-ups just in time to help Lynn overcome hers.
  4. Chance’s patience: When he finally takes the lead in moving their relationship forward, he knows he needs to wait on Lynn to be comfortable. He does that very patiently. He also seems to know just when to push, and he does that too.
  5. Jack and Gavin: With lines like, “Are you gonna fill the puppet?” and “But you’re a girl, Momma,” these two boys had me in stitches again and again.

I hate this part…
  1. Lynn’s stubbornness: This is the other side of that “independence” coin I love so much.  She refuses to accept God’s blessing.  She knows her boys want and need a father figure.  She knows she'd love to have a man she can depend on.  But when God drops one in her lap and says, "Yes, Lynn. This is a man you can trust," she stubbornly insists she must go it alone.
  2. Lynn’s presumptuousness: This is wrapped up in her stubbornness.  She presumes to decide where Chance belongs, as though she has any say in the matter. Then she latches onto the idea like a life preserver, to put distance between them.  Thankfully she comes around just in time to give them all a Merry Christmas!

LOL moments:
  1. Page 15: Gavin asks Chance, “Are you gonna fill the puppet?” Out of the mouths of babes….  Even my husband (who is my pastor) laughed at this one.
  2. Page 149: “Her nerves kicked up in panic and she jabbed herself in the eye with the mascara wand….” What woman hasn’t done this?
There were others, but those were my favorites.

Over all:
            This is a lovely story.  The characters’ motivations are realistic.  Their hang-ups, though sometimes frustrating, are understandable given their experiences. Their Happily Ever After is heartwarming and sweet.

**** 4 stars.

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