Publication Date: January 30, 2014
Dr. Becky O’Donald is a small-town doctor that wants to find her way back to the big city. Slate McAllister is a local veterinarian that prefers horses to people. When they meet on a stormy night, Becky saves Slate and sparks fly, but can anything happen with Slate looking for a doctor to help a little boy that is his mirror image?
Spurs and Lace is a technically well-written Western romance. Becky and Slate meet in a snowstorm when he collapses from the back of his horse at the door of her clinic. Becky saves Slate only to discover there are much bigger medical problems back at his house. What follows is a series of events that stretch the suspension of disbelief to its limits and brings together two wholly unlikable people in the wilds of Montana.
Becky is a woman that we’re told is too cool to be away from the hustle and bustle of the somewhat larger town/small city. She is abrasive and dissatisfied with life, and the moment her student loans are paid, she’s out of there. Despite what we’re told, we discover that she has a plan to take over the clinic from the older resident doctor. Becky is also more bacon than woman, as every male character in the book, not related to her or under the age of seven, drools helplessly over her. One can only assume she’s Marilyn Monroe reincarnated because she’s certainly not a very pleasant person. Halfway through the book, we get a look at her past and an idea of why she might be abrasive. The further villainization of an off-screen character reads as false, as though the author felt that the novel needed a chase scene and come-to-Jesus moment between father and daughter.
Slate is less alpha male and more misogynist. He’s wonderfully hot, we’re told with a body carved in stone. He refers to Becky as “She-Doc” through most of the novel that really kind of threw this reader. There’s a subplot in which Slate is halfheartedly trying to find his twin brother and fighting with her sister-in-law’s brother, the novel’s antagonist. He’s impulsive, petty, frequently obtuse and arrogant. Slate does deeply care for the child, perhaps one of his better qualities. Slate, though we’re told he’s a veterinarian, exhibits a stunning lack of knowledge in the field (no rabies’ shot? Really?). He is able to help the top-of-her-class surgeon when she’s nearly passing out at the sight of her own blood and needs stitches. Slate and Becky are two hot people who want to be together because they’re both ridiculously sexy, right? They can’t actually like each other?
Putting the improbability aside it is suprising that they could live in such a small town and Becky never having met two prominent citizens (Slate and the antagonist brother, Ronan). Spurs and Lace, while technically well written has a lot going on. The flow of the work is stymied by the plot twists that keep coming without any explanation. There are animal attacks, threats to take the ranch, blizzards, sick children, twin telepathy, cheating wives, missing brothers, abusive parents, near rape and the list goes on. The story was less novel and more overview.
Spurs and Lace is the first novel in the series and ends with a cliffhanger. There is hope that the story is fleshed out in the second novel, but the idea is for readers to be curious to read on. The book was technically well written, so I finished Spurs and Lace but have no desire to read the second book in the series.
If Spurs and Lace sounds like a novel for you, by all means, give it a shot. The novel has 473 reviews on Amazon and 45% of those reviews have 5 stars. There are people who adored Spurs and Lace. If you do pick it up, let me know if you liked it in the comments.
Read an excerpt and buy Spurs and Lace: Clearwater County World by Bonnie R. Paulson on