I've seen and heard about Linda Lael Miller's books for years and I think I may have read a book or two of hers when I was in college (probably borrowed from my stepmother). I know several people who like her books, though one feels that her westerns aren't her books. Based on this story, I'm inclined to agree.
The book is marketed as a romance but the romance, what there was of it, felt like it was actually secondary to the story. Most of the story is taken up with Conner's relationship with his twin brother and Tricia's relationships with her matchmaking grandmother, Natty, and her best friends ten year old daughter and Tricia's god-daughter, Sasha.
Conner and his twin have been estranged for about 10 years though we are not given much detail about why. There are hints and accusations but it was frustratingly vague. I didn't read the first book in this trilogy, "A Creed in Stone Creek", so possibly there was more information in there; this trilogy, The Creed Cowboys, is a spin off of an earlier trilogy, The Montana Creeds.
Conner is bitter about the event that drove them apart, and bitter and angry about Brody, his twin, being gone for so long and leaving all the work of running the ranch in Conner's hands. He doesn't trust Brody, doesn't understand why he's back, and spends most of his time arguing with him. He wants Brody gone again, despite the extra work that means for him, while simultaneously there's a part of him that's glad not to be alone any more. He feels lonely and is bitter about being stuck on the ranch while Brody is out playing on the rodeo circuit.
Meanwhile Tricia shares a house with her grandmother Natty, her late father's mother, while she runs his businesses until she can sell them and move back to Seattle. She left Seattle approximately eighteen months earlier to deal with his estate and live with Natty. Her parents divorced when she was little and she spent every summer while growing up in Lonesome Bend with her father. She's not quite a local but not quite an outsider. She doesn't have any friends locally and few connections; we are told repeatedly how shy she is but it doesn't really come across. She chats, she volunteers to help with the local fundraising event, etc. She comes off at times as a bit of a loner, which is different from being shy.
Tricia and Conner bump into each other while Natty is away visiting her sister in Denver. They were acquainted as children but apparently haven't seen each other around since Tricia's been back. He smirks, she's awkward, we're told that they are attracted to each other but I never felt it. They bump into each off and throughout the story, he bullies her into eating lunch with him a few times, smirks at her often, she ruminates about how honorable he is, he wonders why she's still single and gets angry because she, *gasp*, wants to go back to Seattle and follow her dreams.
Natty thinks that Conner and Tricia are perfect for each other and plots to bring them together but there's actually not a lot of time in the story devoted to them as a couple. Mostly they are off doing their own thing and when the pace finally picks up, then Miller shifts gears and it happens so quickly it's like being hit by a truck. The ending was rushed and only mildly believable.
Miller also spends a fair amount of time setting up the next story, laying the groundwork for Brody and his HEA. That's not unusual in a series and I don't mind as long the focus is on the main romantic couple but in this case, it detracted from the main story.
I wanted to like "Creed's Honor"; I like romances, and Miller has a good reputation, but this book just didn't do it for me.
I received this paperback from the publisher for review. This review was also published at Bea's Book Nook.show more