Title: Painted Montana Sky
Series: Montana Sky #3.5
Author: Debra Holland
Narrated by: Lara Asmundson
Length: 3 hrs and 25 mins
Format: Unabridged Audiobook
Publisher: Debra Holland
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Audible | B&N
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Wine Glasses
In Painted Montana Sky, a NOVELLA from the acclaimed Montana Sky Series, USA Today bestselling author Debra Holland brings together two people who have turned their backs on love and relationships.
In 1894, Lily Maxwell, aspiring painter, travels to Sweetwater Springs, Montana, with her precious cocker spaniel to work on an artistic project that could launch her career. For years, Lily has denied herself happiness because of her equestrian accident that left her with a damaged hip, a limp, and a sense of unworthiness. Her inability to bear children has kept her from giving her heart to anyone.
After rancher Tyler Dunn’s wife abandoned him and their son, he wants nothing to do with women. But this new girl in town, with her lovely violet eyes and her wonderful talent, stirs feelings in Tyler.
After Tyler rescues Lily’s dog from being swept away by the river, Lily develops a friendship with him, the people on his ranch, and his young son, Oliver. Yet the two of them dare not give in to their feelings for each other.
Can these lonely souls find their hearts’ desires under the majestic Montana Sky?
"I think Livingston was going to steal a kiss in the moonlight."
Lily wrinkled her nose. "Well, I certainly wouldn't have given him one. He made me too uncomfortable, and I just met him!"
Tyler cupped her face with his hands, leaning closer. "What about me?" he said, his voice low. "Will you give one to me?"
"I shouldn't." The lonely years stretched ahead of her. Her earlier vow to make memories rose and suddenly she was desperate for some kisses of Tyler's to remember. In answer to his question, she tilted her mouth to his.
PAINTED MONTANA SKY is another lovely western romance set in Sweetwater Springs, Montana in 1895 by Debra Holland. Even though it's a novella, Debra delivers a lot of story with fully developed characters in those 124 pages! PAINTED MONTANA SKY is book # 3.5 in her Montana Sky series, but it would work well as standalone if that is your preference - as do all the books in this series. That said, I feel that your enjoyment of the series would be enhanced the more you partake of it, as the characters of Sweetwater Springs will evolve to become your friends and neighbors as you read their stories.
This is the story of Lily Maxwell, a disabled artist, and Tyler Dunn, a third-generation rancher. I connected right away with both the hero and the heroine. They were each such genuinely realistic characters. Lily and Tyler meet as Tyler risked his life to save her canine companion from drowning. Any man who would put his life in danger to save an animal is a keeper in my book. Tyler was a single father and leery of women since his ex-wife's betrayal with a painter. When Tyler discovers that Lily was an aspiring painter, all the old painful memories of having his wife run off with the painter were resurrected and Tyler erected a barrier to his growing feelings for Lily.
Lily had come to Sweetwater Springs under a tight deadline to complete a commission that involved painting western wild flowers. If she could successfully complete the project on time, it could very well launch her career as a painter. Lily has her own relationship issues. After her accident, she had been told that she shouldn't have children. So she has refused to entertain any thoughts of having a fulfilling relationship with a man. After all, what man would want a woman who couldn't have children?
This is a clean romance. There's some kissing, but no hanky panky. Supporting characters included Dove, Lily's darling little dog, and Oliver, Tyler's son. Both will pull at your heartstrings. I was thrilled to have a few favorite characters from the series make appearances. AND Caleb Livingston makes a slightly creepy appearance. I have faith that Debra will give Caleb his just desserts when his story is finally told. Some woman is going to have her hands full with him!
Following please find a few of my favorite quotes from this delightful romance:
"Ms. Maxwell,", the housekeeper turned her attention to Lily. "I think a hot soak would do you good."
Lily clasped her hands together, a look of entreaty on her face. "Do you have a tub? A soak sounds wonderful."
Tyler winked at her. "Better than a tub. We have mineral hot springs - good for what ails you."
"What in the world?" Her eyes widened and her mouth pinched. "Hot springs? Outdoors?"
He grinned at the proper expression on her face. "Outside under God's blue sky."
Her thoughts drifted to Tyler Dunn... to the feeling of being held in his arms. Wistfulness curled through her heart and she wished for the freedom to enjoy the attention of a man... to indulge in a lady-like flirtation... to fall in love. Although the wishes weren't new, for the first time, she had someone to weave the fantasy around. She could easily paint a romantic dream of living here with Tyler. But, Lily knew that dreaming about such a life would only make it harder to live with her reality. Yet, she couldn't help imagining him in the pool like this, naked as a newborn babe, yet all man.
"I've been thanking God for you being there. For you risking your life for Dove. I'll never forget it, Tyler. I'll never forget you...."
"Truth is, Lily, I'll never forget you either."
Because our heroine was an artist, this story seemed even more descriptive than Debra's other books to me. Here's a short snippet that illustrates how Debra painted a colorful pallet within this tale:
Lily studied the rock garden. On a long, low hill that sloped to the stream, someone had set stones into the side and planted wildflowers in the pockets of dirt above them. They made her think of opera boxes filled with ladies in colorful gowns. Tyler's mother must have loved cool tones. Lily admired the blues, purples and pinks of the different flowers..."
PAINTED MONTANA SKY is excellently narrated by Lara Asmundson. She has been the narrator for a few other of the Mail Order Brides of the West Books and I always enjoy her performances. Her voice is pleasing, crystal clear and well-paced to the tale. She inserts pauses and emotion at the appropriate times. When Lara narrates, the story takes precedence as she perfectly delivers the tale. I look forward to hearing her again.
PAINTED MONTANA SKY is a love story that will touch your heart. Debra is one of my favorite authors. I know when I pick up one of her western romances, that I'll be transported back in time with wonderful, solid characters that will fondly remain with me long after I've finished the story. I've fallen in love with the characters of Sweetwater Springs, Montana and look forward to more of Debra's stories set there. I highly recommend PAINTED MONTANA SKY to anyone who enjoys sweet western romance.