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Big Sky River by Linda Lael Miller

Friday, January 18, 2013

Synopsis: Boone Taylor and Tara Kendall had only one thing in common—their physical attraction to each other.  Boone is the Sherriff of Parable County and he lives near Tara who owns a chicken coop. A few years ago, Boone lost his wife to breast cancer. In order to deal with his grief, he asked his sister to take care of his two young sons. However, what was supposed to be a temporary situation turned out to be a long-term arrangement until a family accident forces Boone to raise his children on his own.
After her divorce, Tara moves from New York to Parable in order to move away from the stress of her former career and to separate herself from her ex-husband James. Besides a few friends, the only thing that Tara misses from her past ‘city’ life is the opportunity to spend time with her 12-year-old step-daughters Elle and Erin. Since her ex-husband has sole custody of the children, she has rarely been allowed to visit them. However this situation changes, when familial circumstances allow Tara to have the two children for at least the entire summer. 
Finding themselves both in similar situations, Tara and Boone begin to grow closer and soon they find it hard to resist their attraction to one another.
Review: Big Sky River is the third book in the series The Parable, and it is the first contemporary romance novel that I have read by the author. Since I have read a few books written by Linda Lael Miller, I expected Big Sky River to be similar to her historical western romance novels (i.e. The Man from Stone Creek) in terms of character development and writing style. Instead, I found the novel to be at times uneventful. In certain points of the novel, the author provides detailed accounts of the setting. I found this to be unnecessary and distracting. Additionally, the author was repetitive in terms of redescribing certain character traits.
Even though I do not live in Montana nor am I considered a Westerner, I still do not need a description of Montana’s landscape. Also,  I do not need to be reminded several times that Boone and most of the other male residents of Parable County are cowboys and that cowboys are different due to their manners and principles. Lastly, I understand that Tara has money and Boone does not. By repeating their financial differences numerous times, I believe that Tara could be perceived more as a snob instead of a loving and caring person. 
At the beginning of the novel, I enjoyed the feistiness of Tara and Boone’s relationship. Tara and Boone are initially not friends and their encounters tend to end in them engaging in playful banter. However, once the children arrive, their relationship quickly changes. They are more cordial to each other and actually enjoy spending time together.
When the characters are finally willing to explore their mutual attraction, a few pages later, they find themselves in love with each other—not falling in love, but actually in ‘love.’  In my opinion, this is where the believability factor of Boone and Tara’s relationship quickly dissolves. This is because relationships develop over time—even among fictional characters. Before their second date, there are talks of marriage and future children. Their relationship is not a result of love at first sight, and their pasts indicate that they both have emotional issues that still need to be worked through. Also, the ending is very rushed and I felt like the book should have focused more on the main characters and less on every other character in the novel.
In conclusion, this review does not mean that I will never read another book by Linda Lael Miller. In fact, when she releases her next book, I am more than willing to pick it up and give it a chance. The author has written great books; however, I believe that Big Sky River is not one of them. Well, at least, not for me. 
Reviewed by: Heather 

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