My rating: 4 of 5 stars
My only complaint about Carla Kelly novels is sometimes her heroines are so perky and full of goodness that I just want to punch them. Of course, when I factor in what horrific lives so many of these women have before they meet the hero, I get ashamed of myself and just enjoy the read.
Paloma Vega is a classic Kelly heroine, but the setting for this tale is the Spanish Southwest in the 18th c., an unusual setting for a historical, but familiar ground to Ms. Kelly. Her first novel was set in Spanish America, and she returns to the New Mexico/Texas area with this tale of plucky Paloma and Marco Mondragon, a government brand inspector who keeps track of cattle, landowner records, and by default ends up acting as a quasi-lawman/magistrate on the frontier. Widower Marco wants a dog to warm his bed at night but ends up with Paloma (and a dog) and learns how to open up again and take a chance on love.
All snarky comments aside, one of the things Ms. Kelly does best is show ordinary people living lives of extraordinary grace, and that's a treat. I also enjoy how she shows widows and widowers finding love again, much as real people do.
I look forward to more Spanish Brand stories in the future.
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