Title: Wild Montana Sky
Series: Montana Sky #1
Author: Debra Holland
Published: August 28th 2012 by Brilliance Corporation
First published: April 28th 2011
Links: Amazon | Kindle | Audible | B&N | Goodreads
Stepping off the train in Sweetwater Springs, Montana, Elizabeth Hamilton is filled with relief, nerves, and the thrill of hope. Life on her dear friend's ranch will be very different than Gilded Age Boston's high society. But at least here, Elizabeth is far from her spiteful sister-in-law and the bittersweet memories of her late fianc?. Nick Sanders has loved Elizabeth since he first glimpsed her portrait ? not that he dare admit it. A ranch hand has no call to woo a well-born lady, especially when she's being courted by the town's finest gentleman. Yet there's something in her mix of courage and compassion that won't let Nick quit. In Wild Montana Sky, Debra Holland's acclaimed USA Today bestselling romance, Elizabeth faces the hardships and dangers of the West with resilience that surprises even her.
***THIS REVIEW IS FOR THE AUDIBLE EDITION OF WILD MONTANA SKY***
WILD MONTANA SKY by Debra Holland is a very sweet, chaste Montana romance set in the late 1800s that will leave you smiling. The first few chapters are set in Victorian Boston, Massachusetts. The balance of the story takes place in wild and beautiful Sweetwater Springs, Montana. Both settings lure the reader right away.
WILD MONTANA SKY is the 1st book in Debra's Montana Sky Series. It can be easily read as a standalone and that is how I enjoyed it. Recently, BENEATH MONTANA'S SKY was published. It is a 125-page prequel novella to this book and is the story of Pamela and John who are the ranch owners in WILD MONTANA SKY. I hope to read it soon. The ensuing books in this series AND her Mail-Order Brides of the West series all have interconnected characters but each can be enjoyed as standalones also.
WILD MONTANA SKY is the story of Elizabeth Hamilton and Nick Sanders. When Elizabeth received the missive declaring "Laurence married!", her ordered life was upended. She had managed her brother's home since their parents' deaths but with those two words, their home had a new mistress. Elizabeth wished that his bride, Genia, would be the sister she'd never known, but that yearning was for naught. As the two women were introduced, Genia commented "You're so pretty, Elizabeth,... Why, I'd never have taken you for a spinster." Things only got worse after that. With no real friends in Boston, Elizabeth wrote her childhood friend, Pamela, who had married and moved to Montana. In response, Elizabeth received an invitation to visit her there. Hence begins Elizabeth's mesmerizing journey from a sheltered, uptight Boston blueblood to a strong, capable Montana woman.
When Nick Sanders, a cowboy in Sweetwater Springs, Montana, picked up the mail for the ranch, he immediately recognized the handwriting on an envelope as being that of Pamela's dear friend from Boston. He also noticed that the writing was tear-splotched and wondered what had upset Ms. Hamilton so. He had never met her but that didn't keep Nick from worrying about her.
I loved both of these characters. They were well-drawn and genuine and I connected to each easily. I hugely enjoyed watching Elizabeth relax her straight-laced eastern ways though it took her long enough! I wanted to shake her more than once the way she dreamily honed in on a shallow man when swoon-worthy Nick was right there under her nose! OMG... Nick was a honey. He was handsome, shy, smart, strong, loyal and a true gentleman. One of my very favorite quotes EVER occurred when he complimented Elizabeth's eyes.
"The sky is the most glorious blue I've ever seen." Nick must have heard her quiet words. "I used to think there couldn't be a more beautiful blue in all the world." The sound of his voice pulled Elizabeth into his presence. She said with a curious glance. "What changed your mind?" He flushed though his green gaze remained steady on her, "I saw your eyes."
Following are a few other favorite quotes illustrating the tender humor and the glorious scenery to be found within these pages:
"I didn't mean to upset you, Ms. Hamilton," his gaze shifted back to her. "It's a beautiful sight and I thought you'd like to see it." She gasped in delight at the vista before her. Distant purple mountains framed lush green meadows speckled with brown dots of cattle. A silver river threaded through clumps of trees. In the middle of the valley, ranch buildings clustered around a large white house. Elizabeth inhaled crisp air into her lungs...
"We'll ride along the river. It's a mighty pretty sight..." Puffy white clouds floated across the azure blue sky. Pine-covered mountains crowned with snowcaps folded down into foothills that ringed the valley. Beneath the clouds the play of sun and shadow cast hazy blue-green patches on the mountainsides. A distant large-winged bird rode on air currents before diving into a clump of trees.
"What do you men wear (to swim)?" Laughter glinted in his green eyes and he slanted her a mischievous grin. "Since Mrs. Carter came here to live, we swim in old pants cut off at the knees." Warmth crept up her cheeks. Bad enough to think of a bare-chested Nick swimming in the pool without thinking of him naked.
Supporting characters, human and non, were captivating. Pamela's children were darling. I enjoyed reading about the horses, the two dogs, Champ and Sally, and the hen, Mrs. Pooch.
The narrator, Natalie Ross, did a very good job. Her voice was clear and easily understood. She portrayed and differentiated between the characters exceptionally well. She inserted emotion, pauses, etc. as was called for and did a great job with accents. I especially loved how she portrayed Nick. His cowboy drawl made me melt. I would certainly look for other books Natalie has narrated in the future.
The tale held my attention through-out. The author's word-building and writing are of the highest quality. Her descriptions of Montana life were, at times, wondrous, perilous, heart-rending and romantic. Debra's descriptions of Montana's beauty and overwhelming grandeur transported me there. If you love clean-cut western romances with utterly satisfying, happy-ever-after endings, you will love WILD MONTANA SKY.