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by Janet Dailey
The sun rises on the Flying Cloud Ranch in Arizona, not too far from Tucson, with beautiful descriptions by Janet Dailey in Sunrise Canyon. The ranch belongs to Dusty, a cowboy in his seventies. Originally a working ranch, with the changing times Flying Cloud became a dude ranch and then evolved into a ranch for troubled teens. Dusty’s granddaughter Kira is a licensed Equine-Assisted Therapist. Together they manage the program and raise five year old Paige. The characters have complex backgrounds and relationships. Paige’s mother, Wendy, died in a car accident and her father Jake never returned for her after his last tour of duty in Afghanistan.
Kira and Jake both harbor guilt, but about different situations. The reader is gradually made aware of the causes as the story progresses. Various interesting plot elements unfold as Jake and Kira get to know and trust each other and as the precocious Paige is drawn to the stranger Jake who has come to work on the ranch. We also get a glimpse of the side stories of the teenagers who have suffered from trauma, bullying and dysfunctional home situations.
Sunrise Canyon falls right in between General Fiction for adults and a Romance. It is almost as if the genres are dancing, with the fiction storyline taking the lead and then bowing to the tension of the romance. They separate at times and then come to sway and twirl together. I prefer a good plot rather than emphasis on syrupy or steamy romance. I think Sunrise Canyon finds a nice balance with an interesting tale intertwined with conflicting desires and needs.
Exciting and descriptive, Sunrise Canyon affords a view of PTSD, equine-assisted therapy, and Arizona ranch life. I found the characters to be sympathetic and I wanted a satisfactory ending for them. I got that along with some unanticipated adventure.
I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Kensington Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Category: General Fiction (Adult), Romance
Notes: 1. mild swearing and sex
2. If you like motorcycles, you will delight in that minor part of the story. (Telling more would be a spoiler for a nice surprise.)
Publication: Kensington Books — February 28, 2017
His eyelids were growing heavy. He was drifting now, his awareness clouding over as if blurred by windswept sand…
The moon was a fading crescent in the western sky, the sun barely streaking the east with the colors of dawn.
The horrors he’d not only witnessed but taken part in were burned into every nerve cell in his body, and woven into the fabric of his soul. They had become the man he was–the man he would be for the rest of his life.