By Elisabeth Grace Foley
Published, November 2017
Illustrations by Annie Grubb
Meredith Fayett needed to marry someone before the week was out or she would lose her ranch. It sounded simple, so ranch hand Chance Stevens agreed to take on the job, in spite of his friend Marty’s warnings that it could only lead to trouble. But even Marty, a loyal though opinionated sidekick, couldn’t have predicted the mayhem that ensues when his own eccentric relatives appear on the scene, dragging Chance, Marty, and Meredith into the latest skirmish in a long running family feud.
What follows is a hilarious tangle involving an emerald ring, a fearsome aunt, a scheming suitor, and a term of runaway mules – by the end of which Chance finds that even a marriage just on paper has its complications, and that it never hurts to have a good sidekick.
Elisabeth Grace Foley takes the age-old plot of a young, pretty, girl about to lose her ranch to the bank, and comes up with a fresh, and extremely enjoyable, approach to resolving this problem.
Elisabeth’s character studies are superbly portrayed and the story is beautifully told through Marty, and it’s his observations that offer most of the witty and laugh aloud moments that come thick and fast throughout this fun read.
Marty’s extended family and their polite generational feud provide the complications to what should have been a straightforward solution to retaining the ranch and I don’t think any reader will be able to forget Aunt Bertha for a long time.
There are also a number of surprises that offer some great plot twists that will have you wondering how the lead characters are going to solve them satisfactory.
I’ve read a number of Elisabeth Grace Foley’s stories, and reviewed them on Western Fiction Review, and like those I found this one to be as thoroughly entertaining as any of them. In fact I’m even thinking it’s time I read her non-western books too.