Wednesday, January 21, 2009

TBR Wednesday: The McKettrick Way

Book: The McKettrick Way
Author: Linda Lael Miller
Category: Contemporary Romance
Setting: Northern Arizona
Series: McKettrick Women, Book 2
Challenge: TBR Challenge

When I found out that this month's TBR Challenge theme was Category, I knew that I wanted to give one of the many Linda Lael Miller's McKettrick books in my TBR pile a try. I jumped right into the series with The McKettrick Way, and while I ended up liking the ranch theme, I found the romance to be less than satisfying. Warning! This review contains spoilers.

Brad O'Ballivan, having gained success as a country music singer, is tired of the fast life and has retired from the business. He returns to Stone Creek Arizona after years of being away, in hopes of picking up his old life as a rancher and rekindling the love between him and his years ago sweetheart, Meg McKettrick. Meg is shocked to hear the news that her old flame is back in town for good. She loved Brad more than anything and he broke her heart by leaving town to become a famous singer. The last thing that Meg expects is for Brad to not only be able to sweep back into town and pick up where he left off, but for him to be able to sweep back into her heart.

I had quite a few problems with this story. I think the biggest of them was that Meg was baby obsessed. She wanted a baby more than anything, which would have been fine had she not propositioned Brad, upon his arrival, with a request to impregnate her and then let her be a single mother. I have serious problems with stories that involve women wanting babies with men and then requesting that they not be present in the child's life.

Next up is Brad and his reasons for leaving Meg to begin with. He wanted to save his family's ranch and needed the money from singing to do that, but instead of going on to become a singer and staying with Meg, he leaves her behind and marries his manager's daughter, who was pregnant with another man's child, so that her dad wouldn't be mad at her. How noble of him, only not.

Then there is Meg's absentee father. Meg never knew her father, he left before she was born and all she's been able to learn about him over the years is that he wasn't welcome in her family. Of course, he shows back up, and he's dying, and he has a mouthy twelve year old daughter that he wants Meg to raise.

To be fair, I should mention that the though the problems were many, they were resolved in a believable way. But not even a well handled problem was enough to win me over. The McKettrick Way was more of a family melodrama than a romance. There was a lot of reference to past McKettrick characters, and their relationships, and how they were related to Meg, and how many children they had, and their children's names - so on and so forth. I know that some authors like to use their past characters and events to tie their stories together, but for a book so short, the inclusion of everyone was unneeded.

So what did I like? The relationship between Meg and her centuries old great grandfather, Angus. Angus shows up to Meg as a ghost and he's full of insight and quips. The banter between the two was fun, and up until the point where Meg's long lost sister was able to see him as well, I was enjoying that part of the story. I found Brad's sister, Olivia intriguing. Her love of animals struck a chord with me. I was glad to see that she was featured in a recent story and I'll probably check that out.

Though I'm glad that I made a slight dent in my TBR pile, The McKettrick Way was not as good as I would have liked. I do think the story could have done without a few of the many issues that were placed in Meg and Brad's way and focused more on their relationship, so that their reconnection was more viable. The way it was, Meg and Brad spent more time apart than working through the problems of their past and coming to a resolution that fit their experiences with each other. Had the story stuck to the romance between the two and not strayed so much into the big reveals, I'm sure I would have liked it better. Grade C+.


  1. Thanks for the review! :) I was thinking of getting this book ... now I won't as I KNOW I'm going to find the plot problematic too.

  2. Hey! I notice you're reading Gabriel's Ghost!!! :D Waiting eagerly for your take on it. Does this mean you've finished Games Of Command?

  3. Hi Jace, the plot didn't work for me at all. Too much family drama and not enough relationship between the H/H.

    I haven't finished GOC, but I'm enjoying Gabriel's Ghost right now!

  4. Oh dang, this isn't even the book that I read, LOL.

  5. Wow, sounds like a very heavy book ^_^; I read one of the longer McKettrick books and was meh... so I'm going to stay away from this category romance... but very nice review Brie :D

  6. Wow - everything and the kitchen sink. Baby, singing career, unknown sister, dying father. Gack! Just too much - especially for a category. Thanks for the review...I like it when someone tells it like it is and doesn't gloss things over.

  7. Rowena, what book did you read?

    Hi Nath, I was hoping that a longer book would be a better read, but now that you've told me that you read a longer one and it was "meh," I'm not sure anymore. I'll try the ones I have and if they don't work either, I'm PBSing them.

    Hi Tracy, yes, it had too much going on. Just when I though that something more couldn't be added, bam, there it was. I'm glad you liked the review, I tried to be as honest as possible. :)

  8. Hah! I thought I had read McKettrick's Way, but I didn't. I read McKettrick's Luck and McKettrick's Pride (Jesse's and Rance's stories). Both light reads, and much more satisfying than this one by what I can see. Can't wait to see your review of Gabriel's Ghost.

  9. I read Rafe's book...I think it's called McKettrick's Choice or something like that. I would never reread that book even if it was the only book left in the world. The heroine drove me batty!

  10. Ooh. Thanks for letting me know. I'll be sure to avoid it.