I don’t know how else to sell this book to you. Its plots straights out of a telenovela, only it’s set on a ranch and has the pacing of a western. It’s also a well paced crime mystery.
Plot: a woman who works for the theatre leaves New York for the first time ever to join her sister and her new husband on his cattle ranch in the generic Midwest. Only she gets kidnapped on the way. Then there’s the rescue, the investigation, and also some intense family drama when she does arrive at Twin Star Ranch.
I rarely find myself drawn to stories set in the Old West on account of none of them seem particularly comfortable acknowledging the elephants in the room (its genocide and slavery). Best case scenario they set the story in a white town and pretend the rest of the country doesn’t exist. This is mostly that kind of story, though they make a surprising number of references to the Jews that lived in their neighborhood in New York and I will say it doesn’t feel tokenistic (not that they mention the hardships Jews faced in the US, only the cute parts of the culture).
That aside, the pacing is really what makes this book. It’s so odd because it fits perfectly. This is a book set in the old west and it has that slow meandering speed that spends multiple pages talking about farming and housework and stuff and then it’ll switch to secret babies and murder and stuff. And then right back to farming. But it works. It manages to balance the gentle love story with the Family Drama and tell mystery that unfolds in measured steps that never makes you feel bored because you’ve already solved it or the solution feels unbelievable. And it is very consent heavy.
That said, among the issues dealt with is sexual violence. It’s not on the page but its after effects are discussed rather frankly, so keep that in mind before you pick this book up if that’s a trigger for you.
The writing is compelling and I don’t hear much chatter about this author typically so this may be a neat new discovery for you too.