Tuesday, January 21, 2014

*Claiming Mariah*

Claiming Mariah

I haven't read a Western in a while, but I'm glad I read this one. There are strong ties to the land in this story, as there should be in a Western, and strong ties to family, as there should be in every story. 

Claiming Mariah celebrates hope and love and finding where you belong and breaking the chains of your past, and the small things like how it feels to try to tame a wild cat that comes around for food. 

Slade Donovan and Mariah Malone are supposed to intensely dislike each other. 
Her father's theft left his father desperate and on the path to an early grave. 
It doesn't matter that the elder Malone repented before he died. That didn't solve the Donovan's problems. 
The Malone ranch, the Lazy M, was bought and paid for with stolen gold, all but blood money. And by rights that ranch belongs to the Donovan boys. 
The only justice they can get, the only payment for their years of broken dreams, is to take back what should be theirs. 

And so one late Spring morning, two of the Donovans arrive at Mariah's dooryard. The older one, Slade, brings evidence that her father's guilt was broader and deeper than she ever imagined. All the land will never make up for putting a bullet in a man's head.
The soft-spoken younger brother, Buck, seems to be the only thing restraining Slade's fury. 

The two men move right onto the ranch, and begin taking stock of the assets and opportunities while Mariah and her Grandmother make plans to move out. As Mariah crosses paths with Slade and Buck, her perceptions of them change. They aren't bitter and bloodthirsty for revenge. 
They share the same goal she did: to do hard, honest, profitable work. They appreciate what a fine ranch this could be, and they want to make the most of it. They bring experience and expertise to the operation. And Slade loves and protects his family with the same intensity as Mariah applies to hers.

We meet a whole bunch of well drawn characters.... from Mariah's friend Sally the vivacious young preacher's wife, to Jimmy the youngest ranch hand, to Mariah's Grandmother, to Slade's own brother Buck. 
{I think Buck deserves to have his own book. That would be really neat, to see how his story goes on from here. Please?!}

I had first seen this book last year, when it came out as e-book only. I'm really glad that Tyndale decided to publish it as a paperback as well, so that I can share it. 

Thank you to Pam Hillman and Tyndale BlogNetwork for my review copy. 

Award-winning author Pam Hillman writes inspirational fiction set in the turbulent times of the American West and the Gilded Age. Her debut novel, Stealing Jake, was a finalist in the International Digital Awards and the 2013 EPIC eBook Awards. Claiming Mariah, her second novel, won Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Golden Heart. She lives in Mississippi with her husband and family. Visit her website at www.pamhillman.com.

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