The Wedding Ranch by Nancy Naigle

Published: December 6, 2022

St. Martin’s Griffin

Pages: 345

Genre: Romance

KKECReads Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I received a copy of this book for free, and I leave my review voluntarily.

Nancy Naigle is a USA Today bestselling author who whips up small-town love stories with a whole lot of heart. She began her popular contemporary romance series, Adams Grove, while juggling a successful career in finance and life on a seventy-six-acre farm. Over twenty-five novels later, Nancy is a Romance Writers of America and ACFW Honor Roll author. Her books have been translated into multiple languages and received favorable reviews from major trade journals. Nancy’s latest release, THE SHELL COLLECTOR, is a touching novel of a friendship that crosses generations and learning how even the smallest gifts can change a life for good. Crown Media has adapted several of Nancy’s novels for Hallmark Channel, and Nancy novelized three Hallmark Original Movies set in the town of Evergreen. Hallmark fans may have recently enjoyed The Secret Ingredient and new in 2021 Sand Dollar Cove in the Summer Nights programming-both inspired by her novels. Now happily retired from a career in the financial industry, this Virginia girl devotes her time to writing, antiquing, and horseback riding with friends.

When Lorri Walker’s husband gifted her with a mastiff puppy on Valentine’s Day, she believed he was recommitting himself to their marriage after going astray. Six months later, he left both her and their dog for someone else. Since her recent move to Dalton Mill to unbraid herself from the past, Lorri’s graphic design business is now flourishing, her growing mastiff, Mister, has plenty of space to romp, and her ex in Raleigh can fade to a distant memory.

Ryder Bolt is haunted by the tragic loss of his wife and young son seven years ago. Thankfully, ranching keeps Ryder busy, and spending time with his niece and nephew—whose venue, The Wedding Ranch, has become a popular tourist destination—keeps him from getting lonely.

When Lorri and Ryder met, love was the last thing they were looking for. When they’re together, smiles come easier and burdens feel lighter, and both are embracing the possibility of something deeper.

But when a long-buried revelation surfaces, the fate that brought them together threatens to tear them apart.

“Can’t live your best life on yesterdays.”

Lorri is at a life-changing point in her life. She recently divorced and is making herself a focus. She decides to move, buys her dream house, and makes time for her passions. Ryder isn’t the man he used to be. But tragedy changes you. He’s carrying a lot of resentment and guilt from the past. The last thing either expected was a connection that could only be described as divine.

This was an emotional ride but so beautifully written. I love that the themes were so relevant and so realistic. We don’t talk about grief or loss much. We aren’t supposed to. This book was a beautiful journey into processing grief, understanding loss, and coming to acceptance.

Lorri was such a fantastic character. Intelligent, talented, and kind but emotionally unavailable, she was angry. With her beloved dog, she was looking forward to doing things differently.

Ryder was sullen and distant. While he would do anything for his family, he kept everyone at arm’s length. He had a lot of guilt, anger, and sadness in his heart.

The authenticity of how this story unfolded was like watching a movie. The pacing was so well done, and the emotional aspects were placed at pivotal points that amplified the plot.

The themes in this book are beautiful. I enjoyed the alternating perspectives and how the characters were developed. The side characters were all excellent additions to the storyline, and I’m a sucker for a descriptive scene.

I could not get through this novel fast enough. The heart gets invested, and the writing is superb. I have never read anything from Nancy Naigle, but I can see why people love her.

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