The Cactus Creek Challenge
by Erica Vetsch
Trade Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Shiloh Run Press
Released: July 1, 2015
Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.
For the annual Cactus Creek Challenge, two male contestants switch jobs for a month as a fundraiser event. The one who does the best job wins money for his cause. But this year, two women are a part of the contest. Schoolteacher Cassie Bucknell switches jobs with Sheriff Ben Wilder while the owner of the bakery switches jobs with the man who owns the livery stables.
Ben is challenged by some mischievous twins and a silent girl among his students. Cassie sees excelling as a sheriff as a chance to catch Ben's attention. She's loved him since she was a child, but he still sees her as a little kid. But trouble is coming that might be more than even Cassie can handle.
The Cactus Creek Challenge is a humorous romance set in 1888 in a small town in Texas. The humor came from the many funny situations the four contestants faced in their new jobs. I liked the romance between the baker and the stable owner as it progressed slowly and made sense. Each had to build their trust in one another and overcome their reservations about marrying again.
We're told that Ben was nice in the past; he simply didn't realize Cassie was a grown woman now. Well, he was very dense when it came to women, but even Cassie began to doubt Ben was worth winning after a while. He belittled her, dismissed her abilities, wouldn't take her seriously even after she proved her worth, and didn't respect her as a person. Since we never saw what he was like before the contest, I had a hard time liking him. In her turn, Cassie refused help even when she needed it because she wanted to prove Ben wrong. She finally realized her pride was making a mess of things and added maturity to her cleverness. Ben also found some humility. They did a lot better when working together than when fighting each other.
The story wasn't deeply historical or Christian. The Christian element was a few, brief prayers and a few hymns sung to quiet a horse. There was no bad language and no sex. Overall, I'd recommend this novel to fans of humorous romance novels.
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.
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