cover image Dawn Comes Early

Dawn Comes Early

Margaret Brownley. Thomas Nelson, $15.99 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-5955-4968-6

Brownley (A Lady Like Sarah) entertains western romance fans in this formulaic but sprightly beginning to the Brides of Last Chance ranch series. Kate Tenney takes her chances when she answers an ad seeking a woman to inherit a cattle ranch in Arizona Territory in 1895. She’s escaping Boston, where her latest dime novel has been banned for “immoral content.” Almost as soon as she steps off the train in Cactus Patch, she is accosted by resident outlaw Cactus Joe and just as promptly rescued by blacksmith Luke Adams. The sparks that fly aren’t from Luke’s forge, but Kate’s college education and Luke’s frontier style make an obvious mismatch. More important but less obvious is Kate’s mistrust of men, starting with the father who abandoned her. And easterner Kate has many hard lessons to learn about the harsh land and the duties of ranching if she is to win the trust, and estate, of heirless ranch owner Eleanor Walker. Brownley’s narrative arc of growth and transformation is unsurprising. It’s not a dime novel, but just like that genre will find readers interested in light diversion. Agent: Natasha Kern Literary Agency. (Mar.)