Publication Date: January 28, 2015
In Just in Time Cowboy by Jillie Rivers, When Kelsey starts her day in Mule Stop, Wyoming in 2014 and ends it in 1892 she is understandably confused. Not so confused is Peter Jackson, the young cowboy that finds her. It seems the Sioux foretold her appearance. Peter has an outlaw on his heels determined to steal his claim so taking care of Kelsey is near the bottom of his list. Can Kelsey find her way home and will she want to once the scope of her purpose in the past is discovered?
Just in Time Cowboy is a contrived tale without a hint of believability but then what would one expect from a time-traveling western? Kelsey is struck by lightning and thrust into the past to be “found” by a strapping young cowboy looking for a little adventure before heading back to his a life of stability in New York City. His father is waiting for the day he’ll finish all the silliness and settle into a life of family and the family business. Pete has a plan in place to leave when Kelsey falls into his world.
Kelsey starts as a strong character. She stands up for herself. When she’s thrust into the past, she’s not ready to accept what has clearly happened. She resigns herself to waiting for the world to right itself and when Peter takes her to a boarding house she fits in as well as could be expected, which is to say, not at all. When called upon she does not hesitate to share the specialized knowledge that clarifies her path for the reader. The attempt to write her as a real person who is sometimes silly, other times impetus and other times the only person who can set the world right is clear but does not always come off as perfectly as perhaps the author intended.
There are moments that really stuck with this reader. When Kelsey rides into town on the back of Pete’s horse, they don’t encounter anyone. I wondered if the author was on a budget and chose not to hire extras for her stories. There was no one on the dirt road gaping as she rode by in her skinny jeans and green leather boots. When the matron of the boarding house sees her modern underwear there is disapproval but not questions. When Kelsey meets the Sioux that can explain everything, his patter is no different for the other characters in the book. He speaks perfect English and also reads English (which actually led me to research literacy numbers for the time). There are things that are simply too easy for Kelsey in which one would think she would be challenged and she’s not. I do understand a need to edit and get to the point of a novel but I think perhaps a bit of variety never goes amiss. That said, this is the first book of a series and the author is presumably getting to know her world.
In any romance novel, there must be that red herring that acts as a barrier to romance until the moment when the main characters can resist no longer. The roadblock in Just in Time Cowboy is one of the devices I like the least. Rivers’s plot contains the necessary distractions to minimize that aspect of the story and lesson its irritation factor to the reader. Some readers like catty women, which is why the Real Housewives franchise has flourished. I am not that reader. I love reading romance but hate the idea of women fighting over some man. Inevitably authors make this character silly, vain and willing to do anything to hold on to someone they never had in the first place.
While Just in Time Cowboy is undeniably a romance novel, it is one that tries to have a social consciousness. A mistake is made that is ruinous for a people and that mistake must be remedied. It is that story line that adds an air of distinction to Just in Time Cowboy, setting it apart from the standard of its genre.
While it is not the best-written novel I’ve ever read, Just in Time Cowboy is fun and quick. I’m a sucker for time travel stories and westerns and they scratched an itch, I had to read this one. If you’re looking for something light and easy, pick Just in Time Cowboy up today.
Read an excerpt and buy Just in Time Cowboy by Jillie Rivers on