I’m not sure how I got this book. I found it on my bookshelf the other day and, after a few seconds of surprise, decided to give it a whirl. Romance is not my usual genre but I can try it from time to time.
The Wrangler tells the tale of two Wyoming transplants who are forced to come home where they don’t want to be. Val Hunter returns to her childhood home where she had suffered terrible, debilitating abuse from her father and has lingering questions about why her mother hadn’t been able to protect her. Her mother has died recently, her father more than a decade earlier, and her grandmother, a feisty matriarch well-known for her crusty nature and sharp wit and called Miss Gus by one and all, has broken her hip and can’t possibly manage without Val. So, with some reluctance and trepidation, Val resigns her military commission and returns to put the Bar H ranch back on its feet.
Griff McPherson, at the age of six, was sent east to New York City with an uncle after the death of his parents in a car crash. His upbringing was an absolute contrast to that of his twin who remained in Wyoming with a different uncle. In NYC, Griff experienced a privileged upbringing. With an MBA from Harvard, Griff entered his uncle’s investment company and had parlayed his monetary worth into millions. When the Wall Street crash came, he lost everything and was forced to come home and ask his brother, Slade, for a helping hand. He found he wasn’t too welcome. When Slade was trying to get his ranch back into the game, Griff hadn’t seen it as a good investment.
Miss Gus and Val need a good wrangler and the owner of the local feed store recommends Griff. He’s got great work ethics and he’s found he doesn’t miss smog and crowds at all — he loves Wyoming and he’s home to stay. Unbeknownst to anyone, Griff is working under cover for the FBI trying to get evidence of a link between local billionaire Curt Downing and a drug cartel. When Downing demonstrates a willingness to stop at nothing to get the deed to the Bar H ranch, Miss Gus, Val and Griff make a solid front against him and a lot of suspense and drama, as well as some romance.
The plot is quite good. It’s an easy-read western with lots of real atmosphere and very believable characters. A prolific writer, Lindsay McKenna grew up in the rural west and is perfectly at home relating the workings of a horse or sheep farm and the work it takes to make things run. It shows in this 5th book of her Wyoming, Jackson Hole series. * * * *