Falling for Texas
by Jill Lynn
Isn’t it a cute cover? I love it, and the characters closely resemble what I imagined them to look like, so that is always a plus. I was excited to get an advanced copy from Jill, and honestly, I hope you’ll pick up a copy of FALLING FOR TEXAS as well. As a rating, I’d give this book…….
5 out of 5 Texas Stars
Book Summary . . . .
Raising his orphaned teenage sister isn’t easy for Texas rancher Cash Maddox. The girl tests his parenting–and patience–at every turn! But when he asks new teacher Olivia Grayson for help with his sister’s grades and attitude, Cash realizes he’s facing the toughest trial of all. He made a promise that he wouldn’t date and get distracted from his mission of being a good father figure. Yet Olivia’s quick wit is drawing him unexpectedly closer to the caring beauty every day. Could it be time to make a new vow . . . one that’ll last a lifetime?
What I Expected . . . .
Jill is my friend and one of my critique partners, but I’d only read the first few chapters of Falling for Texas before it went off to Love Inspired. I knew that Jill wrote with a unique mix of spunk and gentle strength, so I was pleasantly curious how the book would end up. As for the publisher, Love Inspired, this was the first book I’d read from them, so I really wasn’t sure what to expect. They have a respected reputation in inspirational fiction for releasing Christian books that are heartfelt, often centering on family, community, and real love. Aside from that, I knew very little, but I was eager to find out.
Overall Impression . . . .
Honestly, I loved it. I’m still thinking about it. I haven’t read a lot of contemporary Christian fiction, but I found I enjoyed it just as much as historical.
Plot . . . .
With all the struggles the characters faced together, I could easily sense the community/family atmosphere–enough that I wanted to be their friend, too. While there were moments in the beginning where I felt Cash and Olivia dwelled too often on their need to restrain from each other, by the early-middle of the book, I was enthralled with their issues, their relationship, and how they continued to dig themselves into deeper predicaments. I might have stayed up too late reading a time or two . . . .
There were laugh-out-loud funny parts, quick one-liners, and other poignant moments that really squeezed my heart (more on that later). By the end, I was cheering for their happily ever after.
Characterization . . . .
I immediately liked the hero, Cash Maddox. To be honest, I have a weakness for cowboys (I mean, I married one!), but even if he hadn’t been the owner of a ranch, he still would’ve won me over by his steadfast character, his loyalty (to a fault), strong work ethic, deep faith, and humor. I also enjoyed the French teacher/volleyball coach heroine, Olivia Grayson. While I’ve never known much about the sport of volleyball, I did identify with her love of French, as I took that in high school. I only wish she would’ve spoken it more . . . especially since, you know, it’s the language of love!
All of the immediate secondary characters are brimming with life as well. Cash’s sister Rachel astounded me with how realistically “teenager” she was. I appreciated that, as fictional children/teens are often characterized as too angelic or too eloquent for their age. Rachel’s relationship with Olivia was especially meaningful to me, as I teach teens in school and am involved with the youth group at my local congregation.
Spiritual Theme . . . .
Much of the book deals with the theme of control. A universal theme to be sure. Another particularly moving theme centers on waiting. Waiting on the Lord’s timing, waiting to date, and waiting until marriage to be intimate with another person. I won’t go into details, but there is a scene where Olivia gives Rachel some advice that particularly pulled on my heartstrings. I immediately felt connected to Olivia’s pain and Rachel’s confusion over navigating her life. That scene especially was beautifully written–quite possibly my favorite moment in the book. I’m a huge advocate of stories that teach self-esteem, and I have a soft spot for helping women understand they are worth far more than rubies. This book teaches that. Definitely.
Romance . . . .
If a book doesn’t have a romance, then it’s that much harder for me to get interested. This book had sweet romance in spades. I loved how Cash and Olivia moved from instant attraction to a real friendship. Jill did a great job showing their friendship growing, maturing, into a deep, abiding love and surpassed simple attraction. Excellent job.
writes contemporary inspirational romance for Harlequin Love Inspired. Her first book, Falling for Texas, is available now. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Communication from Bethel University and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. In 2013, Jill won the ACFW Genesis award. She lives in Colorado with her husband and two children and has a penchant for great books, boots, and thrift stores.
* Mass-Market Paperback is available January 20th. Kindle edition is available February 1. Pre-order now!