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3.9 out of 5 stars8
3.9 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 15 October 2006
Terry L, a property developer and millionaire, buys a parcel of land in arid sparcely populated WestTexas, for $1 million off ebay. He intends to build one of his famed retirement resorts. To the side of the land is a cattle ranch with oil wells and that also is a buying opportunity as well. If Terry fails with this development, he could be ruined.

However, situated in the middle of his new property and fronting the highway that leads to Midland and Odessa, is the tiny hamlet of Agua Dulce (Sweet Water). So named because it has the only well of sweet, fresh drinking water for miles around. Most of the water is polluted with a variety of minerals and oil seepage and is unfit to drink or use on crops or grass. Agua Dulce has approximately nine residents, a number of whom are excentric, all of whom are going to be badly affected by Terry's plans for the land. As well of course, as the cowboys who man the ranch.

Marrissa, a talented cook, has returned home to Agua Dulce some months earlier to look after her mother who has Alsheimer's disease. She is now running her mother's cafe and antiques/junk shop, which is situated in a small complex leased off Agua Dulce's owner. When Agua Dulce is sold, Marrissa also finds out that her mother doesn't actually own her home either. All she has is the inventory of the shop and cafe.

Before Marrissa's mother became ill, she was the self appointed mayor of the hamlet, sorting out the other residents problems. They now all turn to Marrissa to do the same and intercede for them with Terry. Despite the fact that Marrissa has enough to cope with looking after her mother and trying to make a living for the two of them.

Terry, is a confirmed batchelor, non-commitment being his middle name. However, on first meeting Marrissa he senses an instant attraction and rapport and soon finds himself wanting a lot more. However, there is the problems that his plans remove both Marrissa's livelihood, but also her home. Also ther is Marrissa's fear of getting hurt and the fact that she is the daughter of a poor single mother, and his parents are wealthy upper middle class.

This is a story of loyalty, commitment, caring and love, vying with the need to make money. A very enjoyable read.
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on 30 August 2014
Written by a prize winning author, I was hoping to learn something, but was disappointed at first. A particular bone of contention was the clothing. "She pulled on a western style shirt - white with embroidered red roses and silky fringe hanging from arching yokes across the front and back. Then she stuffed herself into clean Rockies jeans. Through the belt loops, she slipped a Mexican tooled-leather belt with conchos and a silver buckle the size of a saucer. She pulled on cowboy boots and added some silver jewellery to her earlobes and wrists." Less is more, this is far too long winded a description and western as apose to eastern. Only an American would immediately think country and western. Writers always need to think who their reader is going to be and if it is going to incorporate both sides of the Atlantic you can not assume the reader has the same cultural nuances you have. Compare this to Keith Wood, "In his taupe coloured uniform and gray Stetson." Perfect, short sharp and I immediately get a picture of him as a state trooper, plus the Stetson suggests cowboy much more than 'western'.

I have been criticised and marked down for using domestic detail and we have a blow by blow account of our heroine making bread and butter pudding, right down to the ingredients used. Wouldn't this be more appropriate in a cookery book? Yet when describing Terry's condo we have "his footsteps echoing through the almost empty space." This conveys the image of a sparsely filled place and gives the impression that he does not spend much time here.

Putting the criticism to one side, this is a novel with a lot of twists and turns and in that sense I can understand why the writer has been rewarded. The relationship between Marissa and her mother is particularly good as we see how ill her mother is by the things she does. She can not be left on her own in the kitchen otherwise she ends up toasting all the bread, hence the bread and butter pudding. We see Marissa's limited choices, her conflicting feelings when it comes to Terry. The physical attraction verses cold hard logic and reason. Yet Terry has conflicts of his own due to his difficult childhood, business acumen and physical desire. The end of the novel brings everyone's problems to a satisfactory conclusion and the feeling that love conquers all.
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on 21 April 2013
I adored this story right up until the very last page, then felt a little flat. The ending felt abrupt, and i think it deserved more of and ending, an epilogue would have have made this 5 stars all day long for me. The characters were warm, cooky and incredibly endearing. I warmed to them instantly. The story is well thought out and set beautifully. The relationships at play tug at the heart strings, while the fantastic written work portray a depth of emotion and vulnerability. I couldn't stop saying "one more chapter". The ending wasn't awful, but i felt it could have been so much more. Overall, still far above average...another few pages and it could be superb. x
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on 14 November 2015
I was enjoying this book until last third when inconsistencies, typos, etc increased dramatically. The story is sweet, gentle paced, albeit without dragging for me, with some heat. Put off by his "furry limbs". Was 4* until all the errors. Made me think ending rushed without care. So disappointing. Written 2006. As others say, ending very abrupt.
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on 25 May 2014
Despite all the things that oppose them, their hearts wounded by life recognise each other. I enjoyed reading this story.
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on 29 April 2014
A really great read from start to finish couldn't put it down romantic was sufficient enough a word to describe it it was so lovely,
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on 17 April 2014
nothing to dislike.... not just a rubbish shades of grey book... there was a story and charActers... that made you read on
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on 21 April 2014
Will not bother to read anymore of these books so boring, would not recommend unless you like to be depressed.
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