A Gift Beyond All Measure by Anna Kathryn Lanier

Story: 9.5
Presentation: 9.5
Total: 19
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Spicy Contemporary Cowboy
To Purchase

Blurb: Arriving home for Christmas, the last thing Jacob Scott expects in his house is a sexy, shotgun-toting stranger. Worse, his attraction to her bothers him even more than the gun. Still reeling from the deception of his long-time girlfriend, he’s not looking for romance.

Tessa Jones has learned one hard lesson—when everyone in your life has failed you, the only one you can trust is yourself. Facing the whispers of the townsfolk and an arson charge, Tessa unexpectedly finds herself trusting Jacob with more than her legal troubles.

Struggling between the promise of the present and the hurts of the past, can these two lost souls overcome their pain long enough to discover a gift beyond all measure?

Review: The first few lines caught my attention. Jacob comes home unexpectedly early in the middle of the night and hears “a round chambered into a shotgun" and a challenge of trespassing. Well, I don't know if you have ever heard a shotgun or seen the destruction one can create, but, I have. Believe me I would freeze motionless (that is, if I didn't mess my britches).

Tessa is a cook who is being charged with arson in a local town. Jacob is an attorney who works for a big firm in the city. These two have many differences to overcome. She is living in his home. She seems to be a fire waiting to happen, hmmm is that an emotional fire or a logs burning type? He is nine years older, is that too much? Tessa has had many promises broken in the past, will Jacob add to the list? Tessa thinks she is reaching too high, he's an attorney and she is a cook. They have a huge gap in educations, law school and high school. And, of course, there are all kinds of misunderstandings to overcome. Even their childhood family lives were complete opposites.

I enjoyed reading this short story, only 110 pages. The main characters were well developed, through actions, dialogues, and through their thoughts. Other characters added much depth and interest to the story. Jacob's sister and her family lived nearby and his sister just had to be involved in helping their romance along. Tessa's estranged mother shows up after fourteen years and wants to make amends to her. Even Cyrus and his dad added a lot in the end when Tessa finds out that Cyrus was not being abused by his father, only a clumsy kid. Dialogue is great, some funny conversations made me laugh, others made me want to cry. So I would say, parts of this story were very emotionally involving.

Overall I liked, really enjoyed, this story. I wish it had been longer, one of those 250 page novels. I did not want to stop reading, and ended up staying up until after midnight because I just had to finish it.

Oh, and I really really enjoyed the recipes that followed. I can't wait to try the Better Than Sex Brownies.


Anna Kathryn Lanier said...

Wow, what can I say? I'm so glad you enjoyed the story. Thank you so very much for the wonderful review!

Anna Small said...

It sounds like a great story! Well done, Anna Kathryn!

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