This book will tug at your heart from many different directions, make you thankful for every opportunity you’ve ever been given, and make you realize that sometimes all it takes is one person to make a difference in a life. ~ Slick, Guilty Pleasures
Sidelined by a career-ending injury, rodeo cowboy Ridge Cooper is desperate to find an outlet for the energy he devoted to his sport. He decides to teach rodeo skills to the kids at the Phoenix House, a local group home for foster children. Here he falls for a big-city girl who just might make him the perfect wife.
Inner-city social worker Sierra Dunn has been exiled to a last-chance home for foster kids in a remote Wyoming town for blowing the whistle on her boss. Her only goal is to prove herself and move back to the city, but the town’s rodeo hero is going after her heart.
Review copy provided for an honest review
Sometimes authors really surprise me in their books and Joanne Kennedy has done just that in How to Handle a Cowboy. I’ll admit I was thinking this would be kind of a cheeky, fun story but it turned out to be so much more and I was completely moved by all the elements in this book. A rodeo cowboy at a crossroads in his life, a social worker trying to make a difference, and a motley crew of five little boys trying their best to find a place in the world. This book will tug at your heart from many different directions, make you thankful for every opportunity you’ve ever been given, and make you realize that sometimes all it takes is one person to make a difference in a life.
When Sierra Dunn takes a position as a group home caregiver in Wynott, Wyoming she knows it will be different from living in Denver. While she’s tried to make nice with the locals and integrate her and the boys under her care into the community she still feels like an outsider. When her boss tells her he’s sending a friend of his to volunteer with the boys she’s glad for the help but what she doesn’t expect is the long, tall, and very good looking cowboy that appears on her doorstep.
The last thing Ridge Cooper wants to do is help out with a bunch of kids but seeing as how his brother volunteered him, the least he can do is check things out. He doesn’t expect the pixie of a woman that answers the door or to find that he can’t help but be attracted. He certainly doesn’t expect Sierra to turn down his offer to help.
Right away the sparks are flying off these two and they don’t get off to the best of starts and then a moment when locked together in a small space leads to a little bit of hilarity, some intimacy, and an interesting rescue. These two circle around one another, neither wanting to admit how attracted they are or the fact that they feel something when together. As Ridge spends more time with the boys especially Jeffery, he begins to see a path for himself he never expected. Sierra is bound and determined to move on to a position that will give her more authority to help more children but she can’t help but think of what she’s leaving behind and she’s not just thinking about the boys.
To say this book is filled with so many enlightening moments is putting it mildly. We begin to clearly see what drives Sierra to do what she does, why helping these boys is so important to Ridge, and why they both have a hard time trusting anyone in their lives. Both Sierra and Ridge have some demons in their background that make them wary and cause them to make the mistakes they do when dealing with one another.
This is such a touching story and it really filled me with such hope. Having worked with many foster children and their foster parents over the years, I can’t think Joanne Kennedy enough for bringing to light the changes that are needed in this system to help these children succeed. How to Handle A Cowboy is a feel good book and it’s one of those books that will stick with me. I really hope we get stories for Ridge’s brothers because I’d like to check back in and see how Ridge and Sierra are doing.