By Leann Harris / Steeple Hill Books
A former foster kid and army soldier, Tyler Lynch doesn’t trust easily. In fact, the shy mutt who never leaves his side is his sole confidant. Tyler knows what it’s like to be a child in need, so he goes to work at an equine therapy ranch.
He’s instantly surprised by the way lovely volunteer Beth McClure seems to understand scared children-and stubborn cowboys. Beth’s tenderness even wins his dog’s trust. But when Tyler faces his greatest fear, it’ll take Beth’s love-and one brave boy-to open the most guarded of hearts.
Interview: Since Leann has already done my standard interview when I reviewed Second Chance Ranch I asked her one hopefully simple question:
FCB: Leann, I loved the character Tyler and his dog. Tell us a little more about Tyler and how you came to up with the idea of using a dog as a primary character in this story.
Leann: Well, Holly, I was watching the Military Channel, which is where I get a lot of good story ideas, and they ran a special entitled “No Dog Left Behind”. It was about soldiers who found dogs in Iraq and brought them home. One story was about a soldier who found a pup in Iraq and kept the dog with him during his tour. He managed to send the dog to his parents and joined the dog when we got home. The dog just loved the man the way he was and the man didn’t have to explain his feelings. The dog also helped the man stay calm when he started remembering things he experienced. Another story was about an Army psychologist who found a pup and kept the dog in her tent. She encouraged the soldiers to come by and pet the dog. If they wanted to talk, she’d talk.
When I saw the special, I knew I had to do a story with a soldier who was so closed down that he could only talk to his dog. Tyler had just appeared in Second Chance Ranch, and I knew Tyler would have a dog. Dogger was an excellent judge of character. He hated Tyler’s old fiancée, who wasn’t supportive of Tyler’s feeling of sadness and guilt that he lived and his friend died. When they came to Second Chance Ranch, Dogger made friends with Beth thus bringing Tyler and Beth together. Dogger then adopted the troubled teen Riley and guided him home. It was a fun book to write. It also shows the healing power of animals.
FCB: Thanks Leann, it’s amazing how therapeutic animals and especially dogs can be.
Review Summary: This is a feel good book!!! I enjoyed the characters and the story. I found myself laughing and crying during this story. The author returns to the Second Chance Ranch, a place where people can come and learn to ride horses and in the case of veterans they are rehabilitating from injuries. But the healing in many cases is not just physical but emotional and spiritual. And it’s not limited to the patrons of this ranch. This is a story of people learning to trust not only those around them but God. I finished this book and thought “that felt good!”
Digging Deeper: This is the second book in the series, but stands independently from Second Chance Ranch. Though, having read the first book, it was neat to see how the characters from book one have grown. Book one featured Sophie, whose dream is to have a equine therapy center, and Zach, who lost a leg in Iraq and is struggling to adapt. His sister, Beth, drags him to Second Chance Ranch to get him the help he needs to face what has happened.
In book two, Zach’s sister, Beth, is center stage along with Tyler Lynch another veteran. Tyler has taken a job at the ranch along with the dog, Dogger, that returned with him from Iraq. Both man and dog are loners and don’t easily trust. Both Beth and Tyler carry baggage from the past but have a common goal to reach Riley, a 13 year old boy who lost his father when he was young, and just lost his brother in Iraq.
Tyler was easy for me to love. He was hurting in so many ways. Beth is great. She has a love of life and the people around her. She’s not afraid to tackle tough situations with passion that overwhelms people like Tyler. You know from the beginning they’ll end the story together, but getting them there was such a joy.
I enjoy the author’s writing style. It’s easy to follow and makes for a quick read. She does a great job of pulling you into the story as well as painting a picture of what is happening.
I look forward to reading more by Leann Harris.
Disclaimer: I would like thank the author for the opportunity to review this book. I was under no obligation other than to give my honest opinion.
Give Away: Leann has been gracious enough not only to offer one winner a copy of Redemption Ranch BUT a second winner will receive a copy of Redemption Ranch AND Second Chance Ranch. So here’s the deal leave a comment let us know if you are a dog person or a cat person. Be SURE to let us know which drawing you wish to be entered. I’ll pick a winner in one week on April 25, 2012 at 9:00 PM PDT.