Friday, August 27, 2010

You Can't Go Home Again - Or Can You?

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

They say you can never go home again. Shey Lynne Darcy disagrees. She thinks her family's Texas ranch is the perfect place to lick her wounds after a disturbing revelation destroys her marriage. Although Shey's lived in New York for years, jet-setting all over the globe to model for the biggest names in the fashion industry, she likes the relaxed pace of the South. It suits the country girl that still dwells in her heart. She's not wild about the prospect of her hypercritical mother living near enough to visit, or her overprotective brothers watching her every move, and she's nervous about her boys, not all of whom are adapting well to life in Texas. But, she can't argue with free rent, the safe, small-town atmosphere, or the chance for her sons to build relationships with her family. She's determined to make it work.

Of course, it would be working a whole lot better if she and Dane Kelly weren't living in the same town. She's always had a thing for the rugged cowboy, even after he crushed her heart to pieces. Still yearning for her husband, Shey's startled to realize that the passion she's always felt for Dane is very much alive. The fact that he still doesn't seem to reciprocate her feelings doesn't make a difference - she wants him as much at 39 as she did at 16. With her heart tangled up in some very confusing knots, Shey doesn't know quite how to deal.

As if her traitorous feelings for Dane aren't enough to contend with, Shey's got sons in crisis - one's dying to be a bullrider, even though his father expressly forbids it; another's desperate to go back to his East Coast prep school; and the third is so moody it's scaring her. Add in her sister-in-law's shocking secret, her mother's threat to move home, and the scared girl Shey's taken under her wing - the country girl's got an awful lot on her plate. Sorting out her life, her goals and most of all, her heart, is going to be one heck of an undertaking. Do the answers wait on her backwater ranch or on the runways of New York? Can she find herself before she loses the people she loves most? Can she trust her heart to guide her or will it ended up shattered once again?

She's Gone Country by Jane Porter is the familiar story of a woman going back to her roots to find the self she's lost somewhere along the rocky path to adulthood. Shey's instantly sympathetic - she's a hard worker who's determined to rebuild her life, no matter what it takes. She's also charmingly impulsive and fiercely passionate about the people around her. Although you want to slap her at times, it's difficult not to root for Shey, whose heart is at least as big as her home state.

Unfortunately, there's so much going on in this story that it's hard to concentrate on any one plotline. Subplots meander all over the place - some are resolved, some aren't, which left me feeling unsatisfied. With all those problems bubbling up through the novel, Porter could have delivered a more suspenseful finale, but the book ends in the cheesiest, most predictable way possible. Not something I appreciated after wading through a story I already felt was overlong. There are definitely bright spots in the novel, but it took awhile for me to really get into it, and then it took some doing to keep me interested. If someone had chopped the book by about 100 pages, I would have been a whole lot happier with it.

All in all, She's Gone Country was just okay for me. Sorry, y'all.

(Readalikes: It's actually a little bit like Plus by Veronica Chambers as well as other going-back-home-to-find-yourself stories.)

Grade: C

If this were a movie, it would be rated: PG-13 for language (no F-bombs) and sexual content

To the FTC, with love: I received an ARC of She's Gone Country from BookSparks PR in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

1 comment:

  1. Hey! Thanks for stopping by via the hop! I'm your newest follower. I think we have a lot that we read in common, but also a lot that differs. My blog is VERY diverse. I mainly read fiction of all sorts, women's fiction being my favorite. My blog is much more than that though! I am glad you enjoyed it. Oh, and I chose this post to comment on because I am waiting for my review copy to come in the mail! I hope I like it.

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