Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Mail Order Daddy by Cia Leah

Sweet western novelette. 

Kathleen Bowman needed a pa for Tyler. A pa to teach him things all little boys needed to know to grow up and become a fine man. Ever since Marshall Matt Cramer brought Tyler to her to raise when he found the baby on the trail with his ma dead, she did the best she could taking care of him. She loved him like her own and he thought of her as his ma. Unmarried and with no choices left to find a husband in town, she arranged for a mail order daddy for Tyler. She didn't think about love or anything else and picked Tanner Holt to become her husband in name only and a pa to Tyler. 

Tanner lost his wife and swore he would never marry for love again and when he saw the advertisement for a mail order daddy, he thought it the perfect solution to have the son he always wanted. Love wouldn't enter into the bargain, but when Kathleen was attacked by Jake Anders, he thought his heart would break when she lost her eyesight. 

Together they had to learn to trust and love, and that God had plans of his own to make them a family.

Published & Release Date: Self Published, October 15, 2014

Time and setting: Western, probably late 1800s

Genre: Historical Romance

Heat Level: Sweet

Reviewer rating: 3.5 Gold Crowns

Vikki’s Musings

Where do I start? I bought this book on the advice of a friend, and since I got it free decided to take a chance. I have always enjoyed mail order bride stories and this one piqued my curiosity, since it involves A Mail Order Daddy. This is a unique twist on this heavily used, but delightful troupe, one that I have enjoyed for years.

Kathleen Bowman takes in an orphaned baby when the local marshall dumps the child off on her. Three years later, she decides the little boy needs a father and advertises for a mail order daddy. Tanner Holt answers the ad and comes to Brook’s End (no idea where this is or what part of the country, since none is mentioned). He has recently lost his wife and while he wants a son, he does not want to risk his heart again by loving another woman and have her die as well. Immediately upon meeting they go to the church and get married without any chance to learn more about each other.

The couple settles into an easy camaraderie. A week goes by, and then Kathleen’s spurned suitor shows up and tries to make trouble. Tanner runs him off. Then a crew shows up with supplies to build a bathroom onto Kathleen’s house. Since she knows very little of Tanner, she wonders where all his money comes from. She dismisses her concerns and never bothers to ask.

The day before Thanksgiving, Tyler is burning up with fever and wheezing. Tanner sends one of his crew for the doctor. This is where the story turns south shall we say. One minute Tanner states it is too bad out to go to town, and then a couple of sentences later he sends Ed.

This is a cute story and it has great potential, but it is terribly under-developed. The entire book just hops from one scene to another without much continuity. It has a lot of action, which kept me engaged, but everything is so superficial. I want depth to my characters. I want to feel what they are experiencing, to laugh and cry with them, to become so wrapped up in the characters I become one with them. That did not happen with this book.

I know it is a short novelette, but the author would have been better served if she had written a longer story and fully fleshed out her characters and the plot. Her readers would have appreciated it if she had done this. Another issue is the lack of a true sense of the historical period, and place of the novel. When I went to write my review, I could find no time reference or any particular area of the country mentioned in the story. The book also needs some serious editing. There are tons of repeated words, and in one paragraph alone she started six sentences with she. Ms. Leah also jumps from one character’s point of view to another and then another in the matter of a few paragraphs.

Even with these issues, I enjoyed the story. Once Cia Leah works on some of the mechanics of writing and hires a good editor, her stories will come to life, for no doubt, she is a gifted storyteller. I have downloaded another one of her books, and I am curious to see if her writing has improved. Happy reading!  

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