Rating: 4 of 5
Author: D.C. Jennings
Available: Paperback, Kindle
Life on the Triple C ranch was everything Clayton Ryan had every wanted – being married to a beautiful woman, raising a strapping son, breeding and caring for horses, living near family, and beginning a career as an expert rodeo team roper. But ten years into the dream, everything came crashing down. Without warning, Clayton’s wife Cecily filed for divorce – no explanation given. He was to leave the ranch immediately. Clay fought to understand what had happened and why he had to leave. But Cecily’s only answer was that her feelings for him had changed. So Clay left and vowed not to return.
Fifteen years later, Clay’s father shows up on his new ranch with news. He tells Clay that his son, now twenty-five years old, means to follow in his father’s footsteps and join the rodeo. Furthermore, the boy is engaged to be married soon. Intent on ensuring his son not suffer his same fate, Clay decides to return home and see if indeed blood is thicker than water.
In her debut novel, D.C. Jennings creates a heartfelt and heart wrenching story of a family torn apart by secrets initially meant to protect but which only lead to pain. The characters she creates are extremely credible and readers will immediately connect with them – they all have doubts, flaws, desires and conflicting emotions driving them to places they aren’t even sure of themselves.
Providing further depth to the novel, Jennings’ wonderful description of rodeo team roping – heading and heeling – is seamlessly woven into the fabric of the story along with the special bond and care that riders and horses develop and experience. Because of this, I felt I was on the ranch, in the rodeo, and experiencing all of the pain, hope, and desires each of her characters experienced. As I read the final passage, I let out an audible chuckle accompanied by a satisfied grin and nod of approval. Nice work Miss Jennings, nice work.