Recommended by: Jennie posted a few days ago that some of Nora Roberts’ books were being adapted into movies for Lifetime. I wanted to read this one before I saw the movie.
From the Back Cover: When Jack Mercy died, he left behind a lot of enemies . . .and a ranch worth nearly twenty million dollars. Now his three daughters – each born of a different marriage, and each unknown to the others – are gathered to hear the reading of the will.
Willa, the only one who knew her father, boldly expects that everything will be hers. Tess, who has reluctantly flown in from Hollywood, just hopes to fly back with as much cash as possible – as soon as possible. And Lily Mercy would be grateful for anything; she has learned to expect disappointment, even cruelty, from men.
But the women are shocked to learn that before any of them can inherit, they must live together on the ranch for one year. They are sisters . . .and strangers. Now they face a challenge: to put their bitterness aside and live like family. To protect each other from danger – and unite against an enemy who threatens to destroy all. And finally, to weave together three very different worlds in this beautiful and isolated place called Montana . . .
My Thoughts: This was just Excellent for me. I loved it from beginning to end. There are so many stories within this book ~ there’s romance, there’s family and there’s a serial killer just to make it even more interesting.
Tess is the first born daughter by Jack’s first marriage. He kicked her and her mother out when she was still a toddler and she’d never seen him again. Tess is spirited, independent ~ a borderline overachiever. She is a scriptwriter in Hollywood and at first glance is rather shallow, self-serving, and conceited. Tess’s world seems to revolve around how things affect her. She agrees to live on the ranch for the amount of time required by the will and the day obligation is met, she plans on pocketing the money she inherits and head back to Hollywood.
Lily is the second born daughter by Jack’s second marriage. He also kicked her and her mother out when she was very young. Lily is sheltered within herself, gun shy, and doesn’t trust strangers. She’s recently divorced and is more than happy to stay at the ranch in Montana in hopes that it will give her the time needed to hide from her ex-husband and hopefully restart her life.
Willa is the third born daughter by Jack’s third marriage. Willa’s mother died young, so she was raised on the ranch ~ the only daughter who really got to spend any time with her father. Because she was raised one the ranch, she believes she is the one who should inherit it. Willa is tough, strong, independent, and determined to see the ranch be successful ~ maybe even more successful than when her father ran the ranch.
Added to the mix are three men who change the course of the women’s lives ~ Nate, the family lawyer who owns a ranch a short distance from the Mercy ranch; Adam who is Willa’s half-brother and also oversees the horse operations on the ranch; and Ben, who’s family owns the ranch neighboring the Mercy land. Together, Nate and Ben are listed as executors of the estate and they must help oversee the day to day operations for the next year as the girls learn to live together as a family.
This isn’t just a romance. This is the story of family. It’s great watching a year in the life of these ladies, transporting from strangers, to reluctant housemates, to sisters. It’s a slow transformation and one that is so fulfilling to watch.
Also, because watching the relationship between the three sisters is not enough; and because watching their individual romantic relationships develop is also not also ~ there’s also a murder mystery. There’s trouble on Mercy Ranch. It starts with the discovery of mutilated livestock. And then dead bodies begin appearing. Scalped.
There are just so many things I could say about this book. Yes, it’s a romance. Yes, it’s the story of family. Yes, it’s a murder mystery. And it’s amazing that with all of these elements, the story remained as wonderful as it did. The individual stories continued to grow and the characters became more endearing with each page that I read. I was impressed with the amount of research Ms. Roberts did in writing this story. As a Montana native, it was evident to me that she knew what she was writing about ~ she captured what so many of us love about living here.
This was excellent ~ definitely a reread in the future. I’d recommend it to anyone.