Book Review: Lorelei James’ Gone Country

Posted September 29, 2013 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Lorelei James’ Gone Country

Gone Country


Lorelei James

contemporary romance that was published by Samhain Publishing on December 11, 2012 and has 336 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Corralled, Saddled and Spurred, Rode Hard, Put Up Wet, Wrangled and Tangled, Long Hard Ride, Cowgirl Up and Ride, Rough, Raw and Ready, Tied Up, Tied Down, Wild Ride, Branded as Trouble, Shoulda Been a Cowboy, All Jacked Up, Raising Kane, Cowgirls Don't Cry, Chasin' Eight, One Night Rodeo, Casanova Cowboy, Kissin' Tell, Mistress Christmas, Miss Firecracker, Bound, Redneck Romeo, Unwound, Turn and Burn, Hillbilly Rockstar, "Schooled", Wrapped and Strapped, Unraveled, What You Need, Just What I Needed

Fourteenth in the Rough Riders romance series. The couple focus is on Gavin Daniels and Rielle Wetzler.

My Take

Although Rough Riders is an erotic romance series, this particular story is more romance — and an older couple romance at that! It was a treat to read a story about fairly normal sex, and the first one in this series to focus on an older couple and their body issues. Although I did appreciate Gavin’s practicality in asking Ben for advice about sex, LOL. Nor is he the only one asking for advice…!

“Fake it ’til you make it. Next time you’re with Rielle…act like you’ve got the hot sex moves and she’ll believe you’ve got them.”

“…act like you’re gonna rock her world in bed and then follow through with it.”

It’s also family with a lot of growing up for a number of people to do. Gavin and Sierra getting to know his birth parents, their unique difficulties with Sierra’s mother, discovering the joys of the holidays with a large family who are in each others’ pockets. Cookie decorating, Rocky Mountain oyster feeds, hay wagon rides, cider and cookies, making Christmas ornaments, the fruitcake throwing contest…you’ll crack up on this one.

It’s also chock-full of honest confrontation whether it’s Rielle telling (and asking) Gavin what-for on sharing the house, Sierra dictating her demands, or fighting about sports on TV. And each has to come to his or her own realizations.

It’s an eye-opening experience for Gavin; he had no idea Rielle was so business-like. It’s also too new for Sierra: having to ride the bus, discovering she’s related to most of the town. It’s also some great bonding time for Sierra with her dad AND with Rielle as Sierra learns a lot about self-sufficiency and returns that interest by helping Rielle. A move that Rory actually appreciates.

Raised by hippie parents, Rielle is passionate about organic produce and preserving the land, and having a normal life. If you love gardening, organic produce, or simply adore food…you wanna read this one. Just reading what Rielle has planted makes me want a garden…or hit Whole Foods! She talks about dyeing her wools and about roving — and the business end of supplying handdyed wools and to whom and why.

…cranberry orange hazelnut bread…eggnot spiced pumpkin bread…I’m just sayin’…

There’s a nice bit in here about Rielle’s back history with her parents and how they acquired the land and surprisingly a bit of history on Vi, (and some on Joely too), and James slides it right in without doing an info dump…yeah! Sierra gets some help from Boone with her exploration of the McKay family archives and the West-McKay feud; we get more back info on Carson, Casper, and Calvin as well as how the Wests and McKays work together on their ranches. These McKay brothers’ dad, Jed McKay (he’d be the father of Carson, Casper, and Calvin and therefore the current adult generation ‘s grandad), sounds like a real jerk and it sounds like Jed set it up for Casper to turn into his jerky successor.

I’m impressed with how well Rielle keeps from interfering in Gavin’s raising Sierra. I am curious as to what happened with the whole car thing. James started with Gavin getting Sierra a car, dropped it as part of her incentive program, then it felt as though the whole issue was ignored. Sure, there’s a bit in here where Rory lays into him, but it doesn’t feel connected somehow.

Wow. All kinds of pissy behavior running through this disguised as being annoyed with interference. I like it that Vi calls Gavin on his anger. Sounds like Gavin has not been paying attention to anything outside himself.

It’s not just the immediate household that’s having problems, though, as Charlie and Vi are chompin’ at the bit to spend time with their oldest, but are fearful of crowding him. I do wish James had elucidated on why Rielle and Rory hate the McKays so much. It’s a lot more than just Dalton dissin’ Rory.

It’s a real story. Worries about not being big enough, sexy enough. Teen/daughter angst with the attendant mood swings. I love that James portrays Rielle as caring, giving, and coming to understand that she deserves her own “things”, separate from Rory. It would have been more real if there had been more conflict (warfare) between Gavin and Rielle. Just a tiny bit more. Even if I did love how well Rielle kept out of it all. And I am so GLAD that Sierra has Rielle and Rory in her life. Her mother is a piece of work…and she needs some decent role models.

Wow, Boone’s situation is drastic. What is with his dad?

As much as I loved this story, as I went over my notes, I came to realize two things: there is one heckuva lot going on and that it also drove me nuts. While I can appreciate Rielle’s concerns about paying her own way, does she have to be quite so strict?

Rory makes an excellent point:
“Change yourself not your location.”

The Story

Desperate to rein his daughter in, Gavin Daniels has gained sole custody and moved the two of them to Sundance, Wyoming. To the house and land he bought from Rielle in Cowboy Casanova, 12. A move that has Sierra and Rory up in arms, for different reasons.

It’s leverage Rory uses to heat up her mom’s image leading to unexpected results.

It’s a rough ride for the four of them: Gavin and Rielle want each other, but she’s prickly and prideful while Sierra is 16 and selfish in it. It’s Rory who has the most difficult time with facing up to sharing her mother.

And it only gets rougher with Gavin having some hard choices to make.

The Characters

Since the buyout, organic produce farmer, Rielle Wetzler, has been living at the house as Gavin’s caretaker, dragging her feet on building her own place. Sadie is her German shepherd. Rory is the daughter she raised on her own, who is now working on her master’s degree and has a graduate assistantship at UWYO. She is totally ticked about Daniels.

Gavin Daniels is the eldest son who’s recently reconnected with the mother who gave him up and his father: Vi and Charlie McKay. Sierra is his only child, a wild child. Gavin’s mom, Grandma Grace, taught Sierra the basics of cooking since her manipulative, psycho mom, Ellen, didn’t have the same idea as the rest of the world about being a mother. Dan was Gavin’s adoptive dad. Sounds like a scum bag too.

Ainsley Hamilton is a local bank president and Ben McKay‘s wife (Cowboy Casanova). She and Doc Joely Monroe are friends with Rielle.

Marin Godfrey is the one friend Sierra makes at school and misses her when she takes up with Mitch Michaels. Boone warns Sierra to stay away from Kara and Angie. Dave Darling. Tyler Larkin is a college guy and Kara’s brother.

Ky is the first cousin to move in on Sierra followed by Boone West, then Anton McKay, Hayden, Eliza, Liesl, Peyton, Shannie, Gib, Braxton, Miles. And that’s just the first bus ride…

Chet and Remy West are part of the far-flung McKay family and in the construction business. One that’s so good that Colby and Channing have to wait on their addition as well. Boone works with his uncles when he can; he’s also working part-time as an EMT. Dax West is Boone’s jerk of a dad, the eldest West.

Tell McKay is hooked up with Georgia, the high school cheerleading coach and PR person. Quinn (and Libby with Adam) McKay, Chase (and Ava), and Ben (and Ainsley) are Gavin’s younger brothers. The ones they kept. Vi McKay’s dad, Elmore Bennett, was a “man of God” and vicious with it.

Cord shows up for Gavin’s party with his kids including the clingy Beau. AJ stayed home as she’s too pregnant. Dalton and Brandt and Jessie show with their new baby. Kane and Ginger and Kade and Skylar (she does soap), ColbyGib is his oldest, and Carson and Carolyn (she’s letting Sierra access the family archives). Cam, a sheriff’s deputy, and Domini still only have six kids. Carter and Macie have four. Keely and Jack Donohue. Colt and India.

Chassie Glanzer makes great goat cheese.

George Krebs is with the Bracken Investment Group trying to locate Gavin.

The Cover and Title

The cover is one heck of a six-pack with two feminine arms holdin’ on.

The title is all about Gavin and Sierra. Moving to Sundance means they’ve Gone Country.