Very seldom do I read Harlequin Romance novels but I was visiting my sister in ICU and purchased one from the Gift Store second-hand cart. The book did the trick considering that I wanted something that I could read in short segments without losing the story line.
Lacey McCoy was a small-town Texas girl who had big dreams. Some of them were realized when she married a count and was thrown into a role as the "Cinderella" who had all the material benefits the world had to offer. But, none of this seemed to make up for the fact that she had to deal with the count who was controlling. As a result, Lacey decided to leave him and return to her home town in hopes of finding a job and starting a new life.
That, too, held a number of problems. Her mother was upset and worried that she and her husband might lose the house and lifestyle that the count had provided for them. Finding work was difficult and past relationships with the Proffitt brothers seemed to always be interfering with Lacey's attempts at reaching her goals. In fact, Rancher Will Proffitt was clear about the fact that he didn't want Lacey hurting his brother again and over time, Lacey became aware of the fact that Lee had loved her and been broken-hearted when she had left to marry the count.
Will decided to hire Lacey to work at his farm so that he could keep an eye on her and prevent her from being too close to Lee again. He was shocked when she used her determination to do the heavy work that he assigned to her because he really felt that she would just give up. His respect for her grew and he found himself actually having stronger feelings than he had planned.
In the background, of course, was always the threat of the count coming to re-claim Lacey and she was very afraid of this.
Jodi O'Donnell has written a plot that in some ways could be predicted as this is a romance novel that follows a fairly standard template. She does, however, keep the reader interested through descriptions of the culture found in small-town Texas as well as a plot that has numerous twists and turns before reaching the final chapter.
One of the key themes is the fact that Lacey wants to set a good example for other young woman and encourage them to make good choices in their own lives. In order to do this, however, she needs to first of all figure out where she has failed and then confront the things that would prevent her from making good choices in the future. It is really all about growing up and taking responsibility which isn't always an easy thing to do.
"Countess in Cowboy Boots" is an interesting but light read consisting of 362 pages (in the larger print edition).. It is described on the cover as "heatwarming" and one of Harlequin's "Wholesome, tender romances".