Judith's Reviews > Unbridled

Unbridled by Beth Williamson
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's review
Jul 26, 2011

it was amazing

Released late in 2010, this novel has been around for a few months, but it is still very new to many readers. Embracing a scope of emotions that are as wide as the Big Sky country in which it is set, this novel highlights the long-term mess a parent can create for sons and daughters that extend far into the future. A young woman has been estranged from her family for 10 years, running away immediately after her mother's funeral at age 16, not only raw from caring for her dying mother after her dad disappears--not willing to face his wife's illness or his responsibility to care for her, leaving it all to his teenage daughter and a housekeeper--and then having said father show up at the funeral with a girlfriend on his arm. Now, ten years later, Alex Finley returns to Wyoming to face her father--she has nowhere else to go as her "protector" in So. California has died and his family has essential escorted her to the edges of the property. She returns home, hoping for some kind of resolution, only to find out that her dad was killed two years earlier in an auto accident and she now owns one-half of the family ranch--only it is now what is being called a "guest ranch" and no longer resembles the home of her childhood. She also encounters a sexy cowboy who is running the enterprise, the "girlfriend who is now the widow" of her dad and a half-brother who is eight years old. And folks, it just keeps on getting gooder and gooder. In typical Beth Williamson fashion, the story is many strands of information, complicated situations, emotions running hot and cold, and she manages to weave all these ingredients into an absolutely riveting story that keeps the reader glued to the page and doesn't let go until the final sentence. I can't find anything in this book that I didn't like. Of course, the heroine is really angry a goodly portion of the story, but almost everything and everyone she meets for about a month after arriving home keeps on opening old wounds and reminding her of how she has been "forgotten" by her father, or supplanted in his affections by the young half-brother--the son her dad always wanted. Yet somehow, there always comes a hopeful word, some bits and pieces of her history that remind her of better times, that perhaps her dad hadn't forgotten her as completely as she feared. Her affair with the cowboy/ranch manager is definitely one of those on again/off again affairs, alternating hot sex with anger and frustration. Both people have issues they must resolve and they seem to keep each other in emotional hot water a lot. Yet there is just enough sweetness, romance, and all out fun between them that the reader is teased forward in the hopes of seeing these two figure out their collective worth and make something good out of all this mess. Just a fantastic book and the kind of read that keeps me mesmerized and not very aware of my surroundings while I am reading it.

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