Disgraced dime novelist Kate Tenney fled the city that banned her latest novel for the emptiness of the desert. Answering an ad to be “heiress” to a vast cattle ranch in the Arizona Territory, Kate hopes ranching turns out to be as romantic as she portrayed it in her novels.
But what awaits her is a life harder than the one she just left. There is no room for mistakes on a working cattle ranch, and Kate is ill-prepared for her new life. She quickly learns that dawn comes early. But she is tenacious.
Having been abandoned by a string of men, Kate has no intention of ever marrying. But she didn’t expect to meet Luke Adams, either. Luke awakens feelings inside Kate she doesn’t recognize, and his steady presence is a constant distraction. She has only written about love in the past, never known it herself. But her feelings for Luke stand in the way of all she has to gain if she is chosen as the heir.
Perhaps God brought Kate to the barrenness of the desert to give new life to her jaded heart.
Thank you to Thomas Nelson & Booksneeze for sending me a copy of this book for review!
I’m not a farm girl. Not that I live on a farm. In fact, I live on an acreage. I don’t have cows or chickens, or windmills or saddles. Nor do I ever feel that there is so much work to be done that I have to wake up at 4:00 a.m. every day. But still, there are some days where I think it would be so much easier in the city.
Kate Tenney feels the same way. Pretty much shunned from Boston for her latest novel that came across a little too racy, she replies to an ad in the newspaper, an ad to be an heiress of a ranch.
I don’t know about you, but even though I’ve been on an acreage and have had to do some manual labour (read: menial), I know I would probably not survive on a ranch. Like Kate, who’s a writer, I like my days at home writing on my piano, or reading my books. I like buying my groceries in a store, rather than waiting for the earth to produce it (because in my yard, things tend to die. I have an evil thumb.).
In fact, I loved Kate in this novel. Yes, she could be very condescending in her speech and her mannerisms, and she’s very, very stubborn, but when it comes right down to it, she’s definitely my kind of girl. We’d get along. Aside from Kate, all of the characters in Brownley’s novel are quite charming — I really enjoyed Eleanor, the current owner of the ranch. She appears so tough that it’s hard to think that deep down there really is a soft spot and a little bit of longing.
This novel really wasn’t what I expected, in that it was quite different from most of the novels I had read from Thomas Nelson. I find a lot of the novels that are deemed as “Christian Literature” or “Christian Romance” are quite heavy on the Bible passages and whatnot, and Dawn Comes Early really wasn’t like that. The religion is there, but it’s not as prominent in other books of the genre that I’ve read.
That being said, it is quite an enjoyable novel. I love the “fish out of water” stories — girl from the city moves to the country, or country girl moves to the city. I find them charming and sweet, and Brownley’s novel is just that. It’s very much a western, with the bad guys, saloons, and plenty of ranch chores. I found that I learned quite a bit about cattle (not cows!) while reading it. I also really, really liked that it was about a novelist — there was talk about words, books, language, and it was a joy (being a reader, and all) to connect with it a little deeper.
I enjoyed the romance in the story, though I felt that it was just a little short from what I wanted. The main romance plot was sort of on the back-burner during the story, but it was there (more so towards the end, which is to be expected). But there wasn’t just the one romance in the book! In fact, I found Bessie and Lula-Belle to be great comedic relief throughout the novel. Their stories, especially Bessie’s, was witty and fun, just enough to give the reader a smile and a laugh.
If you’re looking for something that’s light, charming, and just a little bit different from the regular chick-lit offerings, give Margaret Brownley’s Dawn Came First a try. It’s a wonderful, light read.
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