Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Blog tour with excerpt and review: Softly Falling by Carla Kelly @CedarFortBooks @SweetwaterBooks

Welcome to my stop on the Softly Falling blog tour hosted by Cedar Fort Books. This is a Western historical with romance, lots of snow, and a diverse cast of characters. Have a wonderful day!

Softly Falling by Carla Kelly
Western Historical romance
Paperback/eBook, 298 pages
Published November 11th 2014 by Cedar Fort Publishing & Media

Fresh off the train from New York City, Lily Carteret arrives in picturesque Wyoming only to discover that her wayward father has lost his cattle ranch to a lowly cowboy in a card game!

Determined not to let her father’s folly ruin her life, Lily becomes a teacher on the ranch. There she learns that the handsome cowboy, Jack Sinclair, has some wild predictions about the upcoming winter—that it will be unlike anything Wyoming has ever seen. Lily must either cast off her skepticism to work with Jack or risk losing everything she holds dear.

This latest novel by bestselling romance author Carla Kelly is sure to please new and old fans alike. Stirring, tense, and filled with swoon-worthy moments, it’s a delectable read that will leave you begging for more!

From the author: 1886. Ranch foreman Jack Sinclair has been asked to pick up Lily Carteret from the railroad depot in Wisner. Lily is the daughter of a remittance man, one of those useless sons of aristocracy sent abroad and paid to stay away. All Jack knows is that Lily is not a typical white English lady.
It couldn’t be anyone but Miss Lily Carteret. Clarence Carteret was absolutely right about the cambric tea color of her skin, but that wasn’t the first thing Jack noticed. In fact, it was way down his manly list.

Like the other lady, she stood on the top step, looking around, but with a striking difference. She seemed to be assessing her surroundings instead, weighing Wyoming Territory in the balance. He couldn’t tell from her expression how the scales tipped.

As he stared at her, he decided it was her eyes that held his attention, even before her shape, which was bounteous without being ostentatious. Her eyes were deep brown. He saw no fear or doubt in them, only interest, as though she was trying to figure out what life planned for her here.

It was impossible to ignore her beauty. Her skin was indeed cambric tea, or that pretentious French phrase Clarence Carteret had tossed about. A bold man could stare at her for some time, wondering if she was English, French, Spanish, or African. Since he knew something about her, he knew she was all of that, and she wore it well.

She helped herself down, since the conductor had turned away. Jack didn’t have to gird is loins for this. He knew that meeting Lily Carteret was going to be a pleasure. There had been so little genuine pleasure in his life that he almost didn’t recognize the emotion.

Grateful he had visited the barbershop, Jack took off his Stetson and stepped forward. “Miss Lily Carteret?” he asked, also grateful that his voice did not squeak. He was well beyond that particular felony, thank the Almighty.

“That would be I,” she said, and he nearly swooned – if men swooned – with the loveliness of her English accent.

He had become familiar with proper English because the Bar Dot was a British consortium, grandiosely titled the Cheyenne Land and Cattle Company. The various owners had visited the ranch through the years, and he liked to listen to them. None of those men sounded as well-bred as Lily Carteret.

“I’m Jack Sinclair, foreman on the Bar Dot,” he said, using the ranch’s nickname. “Your father asked that I escort you to the ranch.”

“And his name is…,” she began. Jack silently applauded her circumspection. This was not a woman to be easily gulled by some flat looking at her luggage for her name and taking advantage.

“Clarence Carteret,” he answered.

“Bravo,” she said and held out her hand.

This is the second work I've read by Carla Kelly, the first being her Christmas Collection, and I consider myself myself a fan. I find the best way to enjoy Ms. Kelly's stories is to devote a block of time, find a comfortable spot, sit back and plan to be transported to someplace in time. In Softly Falling, that time is 1886, the place is Wyoming.

"Surviving this winter may cost Lily her heart." What a wonderful tagline. It grabbed my interest and perfectly reflects the book. When we first meet Lily, she is in England being told by her uncle that she is to leave and join her father, a man she hasn't seen in over eight years. Since she's an intelligent young woman, she knows her uncle will soon marry and her place is no longer in his home. Lily is a proper young woman, educated, cultured, and also comes from mixed parentage. When people see her they wonder if she's foreign (her deceased mother was from Barbados). Besides being a woman, Lily also has to deal with her role in society and the class system. Her father is a drunk and when she arrives in Wyoming she is not surprised to learn he gambled away a two thousand acre parcel of land. The man who is kind enough to pick her up is the new owner, cowboy Jack Sinclair. From the moment he sees her, he knows she is something special.

What I really loved about Softly Falling were the period details which fully immersed me in Wyoming in the late eighteen hundreds, the setting, and the diverse characters. I could picture Lily's clothes, see Jack get shaved with a razor, watch Lily and Jack as they braved a snowstorm, hear the howling wind, see the cows graze. The romance is clean and sweet, though not dominating, as the story unwinds into something intense and definitely intriguing. The novel offers so much, from opposites attracting, to surviving brutal winters, life's hardships, to handling society and its prejudices, to finding one's place in life. Both Jack and Lily are strong, independent, and smart characters. His ranch features a diverse cast of characters and all are treated equally which was refreshing. The novel had some welcome twists and turns, other parts were expected, and as a whole was everything I now expect from a Carla Kelly book. I was educated, entertained, and couldn't help thoroughly enjoying Softly Falling.

Rating: 4.5

Cover comment:
I like the image and I love the tagline for this book.

Book source:
I received a promotional copy from the publisher.

1 comment:

  1. Since I'm writing historical romance now I've been on a historical romance kick so I was excited when I saw what this one was about! I haven't heard of these yet, thank you! They are going on my list right now!