Penguin Publishing Group - Berkley/NAL
Publication Date: March 1, 2016
Date Read: March 3, 2016
Source: First to Read
When it comes to family, Ruby Baxter hasn’t had much luck. The important men in her early life abandoned her, and any time a decent boyfriend came along, she ran away. But now Ruby is thirty-one and convinced she is failing her teenage daughter. Mia is the one good thing in her life, and Ruby hopes a move to Kansas will fix what’s broken between them.
But the road to redemption takes a detour. Hank McArthur, the biological father Ruby never knew existed, would like her to claim her inheritance: a dusty oil ranch just outside of Unforgiven, Oklahoma.
As far as first impressions go, the gruff, emotionally distant rancher isn’t what Ruby has hoped for in a father. Yet Hank seems to have a gift for rehabilitating abused horses—and for reaching Mia. And if Ruby wants to entertain the possibility of a relationship with Joe Dawson, the ranch foreman, she must find a way to open her heart to the very first man who left her behind.
I have to admit that I was a little surprised by this book. There were things that I really liked about it and things that I didn't really care for but in the end it was an enjoyable read. I initially thought that this book was some kind of romance based on the cover but after reading the description, I realized that this book would be something completely different. I am really glad that I decided to read Ruby's story.
The story opens with Ruby and her teenage daughter, Mia, getting off the bus in Unforgiven, Oklahoma. She has just decided to relocate to Kansas from Missouri with a short stop in Oklahoma to meet her biological father. Ruby didn't even know that she was adopted until her father, Hank, sent her a letter but she decides to go to meet him anyway. Ruby and Mia end up finding much more than they bargained for at Hank's ranch.
I liked the characters overall. Ruby was a different kind of main character. She wasn't the sweet and innocent female that you sometimes find in fiction. Ruby has been single mom since she was 18. She has had a string of boyfriends but has never been in a real committed relationship. I liked Ruby and thought she had a lot of spunk. My only problem with Ruby was that she felt a little bit stereotypical. Hank was pretty awesome and I really liked just about everything about him. He stands by the choices that he made and takes responsibility for his actions. He was a very patient and giving character. I thought that Joe and Mia both brought a lot to the story as well.
There was a little bit of mystery to keep me guessing. I wanted to know what was going on in the town of Unforgiven. I liked how the problems at the ranch really brought out some of the stronger parts of Ruby's character. The bigger mystery for me was what had happened with her adoptive parents and her birth mother. There were just so many things that Ruby didn't know about her own history.
There were a couple of things that I didn't like as much about the story. I never did figure out what was going on regarding women in Unforgiven. I would take that town over one with a shopping mall any day. I know it is shocking but not all women like to shop. It just seemed really weird how they kept saying women didn't like the town and went elsewhere. There were a few other moments that made me scratch my head such as when there was a mention of a whore gene. Excuse me? That is the kind of thing that just takes me out of a story. The good in this story far surpassed any of the flaws and the flaws were really pretty minor and didn't play a huge role in the book.
I would recommend this book to others. It was an interesting story about a woman finding herself that I think will appeal to many. This is the first book by Marin Thomas that I have read but I will be looking for her work again in the future.
I received an advance reader edition of this book from Penguin Publishing Group - Berkley/NAL via First to Read for the purpose of providing an honest review.
About the Author
Marin Thomas is an award-nominated author who grew up in Wisconsin and currently lives in Houston, Texas.