The Strayhorn family is one of the richest in West Texas. They have a huge cattle ranch. Jude's mother ran off shortly after Jude was born. Jude grew up lonely, a single child. Her dream is to take over the running of the family ranch. She obtained college degrees in agriculture and genetics to prepare her for this. Her father won't give her the job. He claims it a man's work. He wants Jude to get married and make babies. He even arranges a couple of marriage engagements for her which she manages to get out of. Jude teaches at the local school to be able to feel useful.
Brady just inherited a large ranch next to the Strayhorn's from his aunt. It is run-down but livable. Brady is recently divorced. He lost all his money fighting and losing a custody battle for his son. He needs money to build up the ranch, so he gets a job as a ranch hand working for the Strayhorns. Jude's father has demanded that Jude stay away from the ranch hands her entire life, but she's attracted to Brady.
REVIEWER'S OPINION WITH SOME VAGUE SPOILERS:
While reading this book, I felt like I just came back from a nice long vacation in Texas, being on a cattle ranch. It has the feel of real people with regular problems. It's life like. I felt sympathy for Jude. Brady was smart, competent and didn't talk much. I liked both of them, and I enjoyed reading about them. I liked the way Jude helped Brady work on his own ranch. It was interesting how they were attracted to each other but backed off because Brady didn't want to jeopardize his job working on her family's ranch.
I did not like the ending. It was too subtle for me. Brady and Jude had fought and separated. I assumed they were going to get back together, but the author didn't show it. Instead, Brady makes one statement which implies they would get together, but that was all. I wanted to see what would happen with Jude and Brady. I wanted to see and feel a more romantic ending. I felt like the story was chopped off. At the least, I would have liked an epilogue showing them together. I also wanted to know what was going to happen with Brady's son and stepson. The author implies that the boys might be spending more time with Brady or live with him, but it's not told.
This is the author's first romance novel. Her prior books were written under the name Anna Jeffrey and were relationship stories, leaning toward women's fiction. As a human relationships story, I would give "Lone Star Woman" 4 stars. But since it was advertised as a romance novel, I'm giving it 3.5 stars for weak closure at the end. Closure is part of "feel good" for me.
Story length: 342 pages. Swearing language: strong. Sexual language: moderate. Number of sex scenes: 3. Total number of sex scene pages: 15. Setting: current day Texas. Copyright: 2009. Genre: contemporary romance and human relationships fiction.