A Cowboy for All Seasons (Jasper Creek) – book review

A Cowboy for All Seasons
by Caitlin Crews, Nicole Helm, Maisey Yates, Jackie Ashenden
Release Date:  February 25, 2020
Publisher: HQN
Book #1 in the Jasper Creek series
Number of Pages:  197
Paperback
Source:  MelCat
Contemporary Romance
Ages 15 and up
CW: neglect, alcohol abuse
———————————–
Discover the power of family in this uplifting quartet by New York Times bestselling author Maisey Yates, USA TODAY bestselling author Caitlin Crews, Nicole Helm and Jackie Ashenden.

June Gable left each of her four granddaughters a handwritten bequest—to spend a season at her beloved farmhouse in Jasper Creek, Oregon, before they sell it. These cousins were once as close as sisters, but time and family betrayals have pushed them apart…

In spring, polished city girl Keira must find her country roots—and reconnect with an old flame. In the summer, tough tomboy JJ needs to tap into her softer side helping a single dad and his daughters. Cheerful dreamer Lila has to help coordinate the town craft fair in autumn, under the stern eye of the handsome cowboy she loved as a girl. And as winter falls, headstrong, independent Bella must learn to ask for help from the one man she believes she can never have.

The four cousins will have to confront secrets from the past, deal with old wounds they’d rather hide, and tangle with their hardheaded cowboys before they can find love, healing and the true meaning of family… 

I’ve been meaning to read this book since it came out a couple of years ago. All four authors who contributed to this book are writers I really enjoy. This book is, essentially, one story broken into four parts. Four cousins who lose their beloved grandma and are tasked with staying in her home for one season of the year each. Grandma June picked which season each should stay there and what task they should complete while there. Sounds like a fun set-up to me!

Spring by Caitlin Crews

To start things off, we have Keira. She moves into Grandma June’s house just weeks after the funeral. Keira once left behind her one true love in Jasper Creek in order to get away from her parents and prove to herself that she could stand on her own two feet. Now she’s back in town and that guy she left behind, Remy, pretty much wants nothing to do with her. She shattered his heart and he just didn’t understand her motivations at the time. Surprise! He’s running Grandma’s cattle operation and lives on the land, throwing these two together every single day.

There is a lot of angst with these two. I definitely felt the connection, but would have liked to see more. When they were together and interacting, be it to fight or get along, were the best parts. The reader, of course, needs to know the inner workings of the characters and why they made certain choices, but I felt we got a bit too much of the inner dialogue and not enough of them being together. So, while I enjoyed the story, I didn’t love the story. ~ 3 stars

Summer by Nicole Helm

It’s been a minute since I’ve read a Nicole Helm book, and this story makes me anxious to get her back into my rotation. This story gave me all the feels! JJ has a huge chip on her shoulder, with good reason, and Cade’s daughters are just the perfect little imps to help her open her eyes and her heart. Cade’s not so bad himself. A wonderful father and brother, a fantastic friend, really a great guy. The moments of vulnerability JJ is able to show in Cade are so touching and really helped to cement the idea that these two are meant for each other. I adore this story.

As I’m writing the review for each story in this book before moving onto the next story, I’m not sure that JJ’s story is truly over yet. She has her HEA with Cade and the girls, but there is still a lot to unload with her sister. Lila is next on the list to stay in Grandma June’s house. JJ may have come to terms with a lot that has to do with herself, her father, and the abandonment of her mother, but there is still a lot to unpack with her sister and I hope the authors find a way to show that by the end of this book. ~ 5 stars

Fall by Maisey Yates

Now it’s Lila’s turn at the farmhouse. Not only is she tasked with staying at the house, she has to plan the big Fall Bazaar. A sort of craft show, if you will. And it’s on the property of none other than Everett, the man she professed her love to back when she was the ripe old age of 17 and he was 27…at his engagement party…to another woman. Awkward!

Lila’s done a lot of growing up in the 7 years since she impetuously blurted out her truth to Everett. Turns out, she hasn’t had the perfect life with no problems she always tries to portray. To be fair, she never said she didn’t have problems. Lila just never saw the point of being doom and gloom when it’s not going to change the outcome. Everett, on the other hand, is nothing if not practical. While Lila’s matured a lot over the years, he has stayed in a bit of a rut when it comes to his emotional and social growth. These two don’t look like they’d work on paper, but that’s what makes them perfect together. That is, if they’d get out of their own way.

I didn’t get the warm-fuzzies I usually get from this author with this story. I was very interested to see how things would play out and liked the couple together, but I wasn’t getting the feels I wanted to feel. When it came to Lila and her sister JJ, they didn’t share a lot of time on the page together but the interactions gave me a lot of satisfaction. ~ 3 stars

Winter by Jackie Ashenden

This story is very emotional, and it’s the only one I felt compelled to use a content warning. Both Bella and Noah had a rough time of things as kids. Not that the other cousins didn’t have terrible parents, but there’s something about Bella’s backstory that seems a bit more dire than the others. Noah grew up with an alcoholic father and was basically abandoned by his mother. There’s just so much angst for them both. Yet they both find themselves compelled to make the other smile. It’s a beautiful thing.

Throughout these stories it’s become quite obvious that Grandma June’s house (yes, the house) is conspiring to help these women find their HEAs. With Bella’s way of dropping off the map and not being in any sort of contact with family for so long, the house is in emergency mode to get her to ask for help and not close herself off as she would usually do. I’d actually find it amusing to be in on the conversation of these cousins comparing notes on that house when all is said and done.

As for this pairing, Bella and Noah are perfect together. They are enough alike to understand each other, which they eventually start to realize, and enough different to be complimentary pieces to each other. They push when pushing is needed, and learn how to pull back once in a while…even when it goes against their first instinct. ~ 4 stars

Summary: This is a lovely family story, although the family doesn’t spend a lot of time together. The fact that they aren’t constantly in each other’s business is explained in an organic way that didn’t feel fake or forced. It came as a surprise to me that my two favorite authors out of this group of authors wrote my least favorite of the stories. They were still lovely, but not quite what I expected from them. But that also means the other two gave me more than expected, so I can’t complain.

Overall = 3.75 stars

About Cheri

I'm the mom of two boys and wife to my high school sweetheart. Our oldest, Josh, is living at home while working and paying off student loans. Our youngest, Griffin recently left his active duty Army job and is now National Guard here at home. He moved back to Michigan with his wife Kirsten and our beautiful granddaughter Hazel. I work part time and try to fit as much reading into my life as possible.
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