Review: McKettricks of Texas: Tate by Linda Lael Miller

As always, plot spoilers are contained within....you've been warned.

There's just something about modern Western romances that I love. Maybe because cowboys have a certain romantic mystique without having to deal with the hardships that faced those living in the 19th century American west. Or because most cowboys are hardworking, crazy or both. And it helps to have an author like Linda Lael Miller writing about them, because she knows her stuff. Unfortunately, McKettricks of Texas: Tate didn't live up to expectations.

There's no question that Miller nails the cowboy/rancher parts of this story, but I was a little surprised by the conflict in this book. I haven't read a LLM book that dealt with infidelity before. Maybe I missed one in her backlist, but that was new to me with this author. Sure, the characters in question weren't married at the time but there was every expectation of being so.

I had a difficult time with how easily Libby forgives Tate for not only cheating on her when she left college to care for her ailing father, but for knocking up the girl he slept with and marrying her. I'm not so sure I'd be as forgiving. Sure, Tate was repentant. But being lonely seems a poor excuse to cheat on your girlfriend whose father is dying of cancer. That's a whole new level of low.

There are all kinds of mini-conflicts thrown into the mix as well. Tate wants to be a regular guy and move out of his mansion (boo-hoo); Libby feels like she's a failure and stuck in a rut; the ex-wife keeps trying to wiggle out of the custody agreement; Libby's mom has a few selfish episodes and trashes a business. 

I also kind of dislike the oh-so-obvious pairings to come in the next two installments. 3 brothers and 3 sisters. Can we be any more obvious? 

Miller also loses points with me because once again we have the hit you over the head pet well being lecture in the narrative. It's tiresome. And annoying. I have zero problems with characters having and caring for pets, but increasingly, Miller's books have bordered on the didactic in this regard and it drags down the story. We see nearly as much of the dogs as we do the children. Weird.

This is a pleasant contemporary romance title, but definitely not Miller's best.

My Grade: C

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