To Have & To Hold: a Continuing Montana Love Story by C.J. "Country" James
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
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Book 2 of the Montana Love Story series immediately hits the reader as the polar opposite of Book 1 (Through Better and Worse). First, we discover that Franklin Jarvis has a "lady" friend, Catherine. Hey, why not? Even old (vigorous) dudes deserve a little loving. Next, we find Dree, the female lead of book 1, not living happily ever after. She resents how she's treated on the ranch and the darkness that invades her soul returns to sour her on her marriage to Jake and much more. So much for that romance trope.
I think the word 'romance' has a fuller meaning in this series than standard Happily Ever After romances. C.J. James seeks to show us how it works in real life. The road is not only bumpy, but the characters could crash and burn. Dree is teetering on the edge of insanity when she receives bad news (no spoilers) that jerks the rug right out from under her tenuous grasp on happiness with Jake.
Read the book's back cover description for a taste of the trials and tribulations. Don't expect a happy ending because the Jarvis saga is far from over. To tell the truth, I liked this book more than the first. It's down and dirty, showing the ugliness of life as well as the love that carries the characters onward.