Rodeo Daughter

Leigh Duncan
Rodeo Daughter
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Release Date
June 2012
Book 50 of Harlequin American Romance
Contemporary Romance, Lawyer/FBI Romance

[Book 1406 of the Harlequin American Romance series]

Former rodeo star Amanda Markette is prepared to deal with anything her new job as a family law attorney can dish up. Until she learns her childhood sweetheart, Mitch Goodwin, is her client's ex-husband and opposing counsel.
Mitch wants nothing more than to win full custody of the daughter he's been raising on his own for the past four years. Until Amanda rides back into his life…

Amanda and Mitch know they shouldn't give in to the connection that still sparks between them after fifteen years, but can they resist? And will Mitch ever forgive her once he learns the secret she's been keeping—a secret that could change his life forever?

Book Review by JCCeleste (reviewer)
Jan 21, 2013   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
87 people found the following review helpful
True to the spirit of the Harlequin American Romance line, RODEO DAUGHTER is an engaging sweet romance about first loves, second chances, and the value of family in its many forms.

Mitchell (Mitch) Goodwin is a man with a plan, primed to become the next DA while juggling single fatherhood. A chain of events unravels his life, and as he fights for the only thing that holds meaning (his daughter, Hailey) he is reintroduced to his first love (Amanda), rekindling their fire supposedly lost to them fifteen years ago. However, pursuing Amanda compromises his relationship with Hailey; he'll sacrifice everything before he loses his daughter.

Amanda (Mandy) Markette is through chasing after men who put their work first—her dad all but ignored her unless she was working the rodeo with him, and even then winning a gold buckle didn't earn his presence in her life—and now she perceives Mitch as a career-driven man who sets aside only one day a week to pay real attention to his daughter. But as Amanda is forced to observe Mitch with Hailey in close quarters, her heart warms to the hope that maybe, just maybe, Mitch cares more for family than she once believed. Is it possible that Amanda has found her man to build a home? Or will the secret she harbors out of professional confidence threaten to destroy their future together?

RODEO DAUGHTER weaves the threads of many family relationships together and I enjoyed contemplating various social "truths" such as the maxim that children ought to be with their mothers. The resolution was not what I expected, though it fit the mood perfectly. Ms. Duncan's prose was more suspenseful and emotional than lighthearted, but it ended on just the right note and it wasn't one of those "can't put it down" books. I could read a chapter here, set it down for a bit, come back, which allowed me time to think over the subjects. (I devoured the last quarter.)

However, I was thrice dismayed by timeline inconsistencies, for example: a major conversation needs to take place and we think it's happening within the next week, but it occurs three weeks later. I hung up on a couple unanswered strands. Also, Mandy's mantra to avoid workaholics, and the pain of her childhood neglect, became irksome. Repetition, to a degree, is part and parcel of the genre, but this crossed the line to eliciting groans. That said, I would still consider more stories by Ms. Duncan. (I review galley copies; these issues may be resolved in the consumer edition.)

The Harlequin American Romance line is marketed on as "heartwarming contemporary tales of everyday women finding love, becoming part of a family or community-or maybe starting a family of their own" and in that regard, this story shines--particularly with the relationship of Mitch and his daughter, the growing connection between Amanda and Hailey, and the story arc of Hailey's mother.
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