Sunday, July 28, 2013

#BookReview--> Whitehorse, Montana: Winchester Ranch Series Book #1- Gun-Shy Bride by B.J. Daniels



The first time I came across a book by B.J. Daniels, it was by accident. I was not very keen on romances and so I had practically passed judgement on the book without even reading it once!!
But when I read the book, I loved it so much that I read more of her books and have never looked back since... :)

As I can confidently claim now, B.J. Daniels is one author who never disappoints. All her books are a treat and that is the reason she is a highly acclaimed author who has written more than fifty books and won numerous prestigious awards. I simply love her books.. :)

Gun-Shy Brideis the first book in the Winchester Ranch series and takes us on a roller coaster ride to the wilds of Montana,
to the small town of Whitehorse.The author aptly describes the surroundings as
"wild, remote country that a person either loved or left."

It is the home of the Winchester family who have always been the talk of the town due to various not so glorifying reasons. So when the first ever woman deputy sheriff McCall Winchester discovers a shallow grave with human bones, it is as if she has stirred up a  hornet's nest of trouble. 
Amid speculations among the townspeople as to the identity of the bones, McCall has suspicions of her own.

Twenty Seven years ago, her father Trace Winchester had mysteriously disappeared leaving behind his pregnant wife, Ruby and his mother Pepper Winchester, who has since become a recluse and who never accepted Ruby and McCall as her own family!

Can this be Trace Winchester found after all?
If this is McCall's father, Trace, then who killed and buried him here?
Is the killer still hiding in plain sight?
What had happened twenty seven years ago?

McCall is faced with all these and more questions which she is determined to find answers to.

Luke Crawford has always loved McCall and he was confident she loved him too but something happened between them ten years ago and their relation has never been the same. Now that Luke is back in town as the Game Warden, he is determined to make McCall realize that he loves her, even hopes to get a second chance to her love and also save her from any trouble she is in even if it costs him his life!

Like all B.J. Daniels' books, Gun-Shy Brideis also an intriguing read and an introduction to characters featuring in the successive books in the series. She expertly gives the readers an insight into the minds of her characters without ever being biased to any one character.

I enjoyed her portrayal of the Winchester family matriarch, Pepper Winchester. I hated Pepper and despised her for differentiating among her children where she favored only her youngest son, Trace Winchester to a fault and after his disappearance broke all ties with her children, never concerning herself about their welfare. She even refused to acknowledge McCall as Trace's daughter, leaving Ruby to fend for herself and her daughter working as a waitress in the local diner. I was so confident that I hated Pepper and could have bet my last dime on this but Viola ! As the story progressed Daniels made me feel sorry for the grief stricken, emotionally broken, recluse Pepper who still stands at the window overlooking the main road hoping to see her son returning even though it has been twenty seven long years since he left her! She is still hopeful that Trace will return to his mother and is unable to accept the reality that Trace is gone and never coming back!
The ease with which B.J. Daniels developed her characters is amazing and I was able to feel each and every emotion that they felt as if it was happening to me firsthand.

The description of Whitehorse and the Winchester Ranch is creepy and creates an atmosphere of places where there are harsh winds, barren and wild landscapes, remote, uncivilized surroundings, an aura of mystery, hidden crimes and a general sensation of unhappiness. These are dark places where people have many secrets and everyone is living a false life of feigned happiness and peace.

The stage is set and all the events played as the author wants them to happen. Amid such dark and sinister circumstances, the chemistry between McCall and Luke is hot and their love is of the "forever" kind. They are willing to make sacrifices for each other's happiness and I desperately hoped that they made up as I read through the book.

The story is fast paced and intrigued me from the start leaving me hooked till the end.
Its a beautiful start to an amazing series which is full of unexpected twists and turns, a mystery that is bound to test all our detective skills, some pretty deeply thought and expertly developed characters and most importantly stories that are unique, novel and leave us falling in love with them, wanting to read them again and again.

I give Gun-Shy Bridea 4 out of 5 stars and recommend everyone to read the book and the series. Its not to be missed at any cost. :)

PS: I have already read all the six books in the series numerous times and am reading them yet again so that I can review them afterwards. Any excuse to read these beautiful books again. Right!! :)

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