Reviewed by Tori
Dan Brigman may not lead the most exciting life, but he’s proud of what he’s achieved: he’s a respected lawman, and he’s raised a bright, talented daughter on his own. But finding alone, sparkly blue boot in the middle of a deserted highway gets him thinking maybe the cowgirl who lost it is exactly the shake-up he needs.
After losing her baby girl, Brandi Malone felt like her soul died along with her daughter. Now singing in small-town bars to make ends meet, she’s fine being a drifter until a handsome sheriff makes her believe that parking her boots under his bed is a better option.
College grad Lauren Brigman has just struck out on her own in downtown Dallas when a troubling phone call leads her back home to Crossroads. Her hometown represents her family, friends and deepest hopes, but also her first love, Lucas Reyes. Will Lauren’s homecoming be another heartbreak, or a second chance for her and Lucas?
Thomas’ small town contemporaries are always a welcome respite as they weave a cozy tale of love, laughter, pain, and heartbreak of small town living. Similar to her Harmony series (reviews here), each book pushes forward on the arc while, discussing one or two characters romances while dealing with a small thrilling mystery on the side. The fifth book in Jodi Thomas’s Ransom Canyon series takes readers back to the small town of Crossroads, TX with a few new romances and mysteries while updating us on a some well-known residents and introducing us to a few new ones
Wild Horse Springs had all the ear markings of a typical and entertaining story but seems to lose its way quickly. Even with its normal multiple storyline threads, there is a disorganized feeling to the writing that is only matched by the rambling narrative and random head jumping. Thomas uses the same familiar formula that has worked for years, telling the story from four seemingly unrelated points of view slowly revealing the common denominator that binds them all together. But for me, in this instance, it doesn’t work. I found the main romance uninspiring and drenched in unnecessary purple prose while the second romance was far more entertaining but has less time and space in which to develop realistically. Both romances are fueled by insta-love but Thomas doesn’t give us any clues to what the appeal between any of them is beyond the fact they’re all single. The third “romance” has been dragging out since the beginning of the series and offers very little advancement. After five books in I’m still unsure if this is even a romance or just a childhood dream one of the leads refuses to let die.
Three main storylines circle around, feeding off one another as they slowly merge together though as I stated earlier, the plotlines felt underdeveloped and the narrative predictable and rambling. Even Thomas’ strong characters can’t pull this story out of the rut it’s in. The ending is a fast wrap up, leaving this reader frustrated with more questions than answers. As always, each book leaves off with the promise of more to come, giving Thomas a way to continue to build on the arc and the various relationships of the town.
I’m not sure if I will be continuing this series. While I have enjoyed my time spent in Ransom Canyon, it just isn’t holding the same sense of energy or appeal that her earlier series did. I’m also starting to see a decline in the strength of Thomas’ writing. We shall see.