by Lurlene McDaniel
Genre: New Adult, Western
Hardback: 384 Pages
Publication: May 14, 2013 by Delacorate BFYR
CIANA loves her family’s land and the farm they’ve kept for generations, but it has fallen to her to keep the farm in working order. When she meets a handsome cowboy, she welcomes the diversion and finds herself believing in love at first sight. But their second meeting leaves her questioning her true feelings.
ARIE has battled health issues since childhood, and now she is determined to regain her physical and mental strength. Working with a new horse seems like the perfect solution, but when she confides her deepest secret to a handsome and kindhearted horse trainer—a secret she hasn’t revealed to her family or even her two best friends—there are surprising results.
EDEN’s boyfriend, Tony, is older and has money; he’s also jealous and controlling. But she’d much rather stay with him than at home with her unreliable mother. Of course, he can’t fill the role her best girlfriends do, and that makes him resentful. As Tony grows more demanding, Eden becomes scared. She must break free from this toxic relationship.
When Ciana finds a new direction for her life—one she’d never dreamed possible—she is able to offer Arie and Eden reprieve from their difficult situations. Together, the three embark on the experience of a lifetime.
I'm always up for a good Western. If not for the setting, I may not have picked up this novel because of the heavy content, and also because I tend not to pick up novels that advertise dystopic relationships and love at first sight. I'm glad that I gave it a chance because I ended up really liking this novel.
I'm also not typically fond of multiple perspectives. However, it really worked for this novel. Ciana, Eden, and Arie all have something to add to the story. Seeing the world from each of their perspectives help round out the plot, and I enjoyed getting to know them. Some may find this novel overly dark and depressing because they all have issues in their private lives. For me, the girls' problems added to their characters. More importantly, the author made me feel for the characters.
Ciana is the girl who sacrifices herself to protect those she cares about. This also means that she's slow to open her heart, even to her closest friends. She's the girl that I ended up sympathizing with the most. Her life isn't as tough as that of the other girls on the surface level, but she keeps a lot bottled up inside. Arie is the sunny one, the girl that everyone cares about. However, she's been fighting cancer for as long as anyone can remember, and she doesn't know when her time may come to an end. She's sweet and very sheltered because people tend to coddle her, something that she wishes they wouldn't do. Eden is the observant one and a bit of a loner. Being in a difficult place in life, she's seen many of the world's dark sides. I respect her for her personal strength and admire her courage to keep going through life after all that's happened to her.
Plot-wise, there are many threads weaving through the story, and it's almost magical how everything comes together in the end. This is a story about three friends entering the big bad world. They experience many hardships, some most of us will never have to encounter, and yet it's still relatable. At heart, the girls are just that--girls. They want to live, laugh, and laugh. They're not always able to do so, but they make the most out of what life sends them, and they still manage to stay close and happy for the most part.
I recommend this novel to those who enjoy a dark contemporary.