First in the Cowboys of California series, about brothers who run a luxury dude ranch.
Celebrity chef Evie Buchanan was raised on the Pleasant family’s luxury dude ranch in Charming, California, by her grandmother, a renowned horse trainer, after her parents were killed in a car accident. In the decade since her grandmother died, Evie has been working her way up the culinary ladder in New York City. She has found success co-hosting a television show, but she has never met a man quite like the cowboy who broke her heart. Zach Pleasant, gorgeous, charming, and laser focused on work, is now co-owner of Big Rock Ranch with his brother, Jesse. When Evie sustains a traumatic brain injury at an industry party and loses her memory, she needs a quiet place, away from Manhattan, to recover. The Pleasant family takes her in, and Evie slowly begins to regain some of her cooking skills and memories. She’s attracted to Zach, but trying to come to terms with how he hurt her in the past without remembering it proves a challenge. Evie is a heroine to root for—resilient, brave, honest, funny, and humble. Her struggles, not only to recover, but to reinvent herself, are movingly portrayed: “I want to feel loved, like really loved. I want to feel that I have something that is mine for as long as I can hold on to it.” The romance competes with a very large cast of characters in both New York and California, and a suspense subplot fizzles out, but Zach is a good man and a fitting match.
An amnesia plot done right and a fantastic heroine mark a strong series debut.