Thursday, February 21, 2019

Dream with Me, Cowboy (Texas Matchmakers #1), by Debra Clopton (author), Cici Dee (narrator)

DCP Publishing, August 2018

Lacy Brown and her friend Sheri move from Dallas to Mule Hollow, Texas, to open a beauty salon. This little town isn't a random choice. The older ladies of Mule Hollow placed advertisements looking for women to move there and help revive their dying town by becoming potential brides for the men. The town is sadly reduced after the collapse of the oil industry locally cost them a large part of their former population, and nearly all the young families and unattached young women.

Lacy doesn't plan to be one of the brides. She's on a mission--a mission from God--to help the women who will come to find the right matches among the cowboys who currently have no one to marry.

This is a Christian romance. That can mean a lot of things. In this case, Lacy is, on the one hand, the kind of southern, Evangelist, talking openly about it, Christian that is very distant from my own New England, Catholic and Episcopalian, reserved sort of Christian. In my culture, you don't talk that openly about sincere religious belief, not because it's not important, but precisely because it is. It's for guiding your moral choices and judgments, and your relationship with God is a private matter, not for putting in the shop window, on public display. Lacy Brown is from a really different culture, where people who don't talk often and enthusiastically about their faith--about something that in my culture is deeply private--you are presumed not to have it.

With all that said, Clopton convincingly portrays Lacy as a woman whose faith differs from mine mainly in these cultural aspects, not in its essential substance or sincerity. And that's even as a good bit of her outward behavior is, in my culture, a marker of shallow and insincere claims of faith. I feel a connection to Lacy in the matter where her outward behavior is most alien to me.

That's good writing.

Lacy is smart, capable, tough. She genuinely likes other people, and is not judgmental about people whose view of life is different from her own. She's clear-headed about knowing what values she does need a potential spouse to share with her. She has an enthusiasm for life that's captivating, and a commitment to keep trying to be a better person, and a natural and genuine impulse to help others in ways that will really make them better off.

Her plan to help Mule Hollow seems outwardly a bit nutty and impulsive, and she in fact goes about it in a thoughtful and intelligent way.

And of course, she's barely reached the town when she meets Clint Matlock, and clashes spectacularly with him on the main street in town, in front of everyone.

They're in some ways very different people, and in other ways have important things in common. They're both a bit damaged by abandonment by a parent--Clint by his mother, Lacy by her father. Each has something to learn from the other.

I really like both of them, and it's fun seeing their relationship develop. Overall, this book is a lot of fun, and satisfying.


I bought this audiobook.

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