I loved this book so much. I have enjoyed Rebekah Weatherspoon’s Cowboy’s of California series. I wasn’t at all sure how she was going to top the amazing middle book, If the Boot Fits, but she did. A Thorn in the Saddle is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. It has a man with a temper, a daughter defending her father, and a couple who face their fears to be brave for one another.
Jesse has been the brother hanging out in his younger brothers’ books being quietly interesting. He shines in A Thorn in the Saddle. He was already a great character, but he makes himself even better for Lily-Grace. Jesse starts the book off in a bad mood and makes some poor life choices when he comes across his grandmother and Lily-Grace’s father having a romantic moment, He angers his grandmother, upsets his family, and puts himself in Lily-Grace’s cross-hairs. She storms into an important meeting, chews him out, and steals his dog. At that moment, Lily-Grace also stole Jesse’s heart (and mine).
One of the things that Weatherspoon does incredibly well is create women with an enormous range of vulnerability and strength. Like other great Weatherspoon women before her, Lily Grace knows her own worth. She knows who she is and what she likes. However, she has been through a difficult few years and is burnt out from work. Others including a man with whom she was in an intense long term sexual relationship, have not seen Lily Grace’s value and that has wounded her. She has returned to Charming, California tired and unsure of what she wants next, but quite certain that Jesse Pleasant will apologize to her father and take steps to atone for his behavior. Jesse does know Lily Grace’s value, and he is happy to show it.
Rebekah Weatherspoon is always a good read and A Thorn in the Saddle might be my new favorite of her books. Everything about this book was perfect and I will not hear different. It’s full of family, community, dogs, going to therapy, banter, love languages, sex lessons, swimming lessons, and horseback riding lessons. I felt so good after I finished that I have read it a few more times.
Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Books for an advance reader copy. My opinions are my own.