Book Review: The Wedding Ranch (ARC)

Expected publication December 6, 2022

Author: Nancy Naigle

Two people get a second chance at love in this heartwarming story by author Nancy Naigle, The Wedding Ranch

When Lorri Walker’s husband gifted her with a mastiff puppy on Valentine’s Day, she believed he was recommitting himself to their marriage after going astray. Six months later, he left both her and their dog for someone else. Since her recent move to Dalton Mill to unbraid herself from the past, Lorri’s graphic design business is now flourishing, her growing mastiff, Mister, has plenty of space to romp, and her ex in Raleigh can fade to a distant memory.

Ryder Bolt is haunted by the tragic loss of his wife and young son seven years ago. Thankfully, ranching keeps Ryder busy, and spending time with his niece and nephew—whose venue, The Wedding Ranch, has become a popular tourist destination—keeps him from getting lonely.

When Lorri and Ryder met, love was the last thing they were looking for. When they’re together, smiles come easier and burdens feel lighter, and both are embracing the possibility of something deeper.

But when a long-buried revelation surfaces, the fate that brought them together threatens to tear them apart.

Find It On: Goodreads / Amazon

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The Wedding Ranch is my first read by Nancy Naigle and it reads like a cozy Hallmark movie. Even before focusing on the story, I absolutely love that the dog is a mastiff! This automatically was a huge plus in my book as there are millions of dog breeds and mixes out there, so it is refreshing to read about a different type of dog. One thing this novel is not widely marketed as is that it reads as a Christian fiction where it’s clean with some religious elements. This is not my normal genre as I do not enjoy books that become too “preachy” where it distracts from everything else in the story, however, this novel did a great job at including the faith-based elements that can appeal to all types of audiences.

The story follows Lorri Walker after her husband, Craig, leaves her six months after she thought he was helping to save the marriage with a mastiff puppy, Mister, as a gift. In the real world, I am not a fan of giving animals as gifts, especially as a last-ditch effort to save a relationship as statistically the animal suffers in some way through the process; however, in fiction, I am a huge fan of giving everyone a puppy (or adult dog)! Mister was a great character and becomes the star in his own way, so I love that this amazing boy was added to the story! Unfortunately, Craig ends their 15-year marriage by leaving Lorri for another woman, which leaves Lorri trying to heal. She moves from the bigger city of Raleigh to the small town of Dalton Mill in North Carolina. While in her new home, she runs into local rancher, Ryder Bolt, who is going through his own traumas after losing his family in a tragedy.

This novel is not marketed as part of a series, but there are some background characters where it seemed the reader already knows information about them. It does not take away from the main story, but it came up a few times throughout where it was noticeable to me. As the story is call “The Wedding Ranch,” I was surprised it wasn’t front and center. It was still featured a lot, but it wasn’t as spotlighted as I thought before reading. Once Ryder is introduced the chapters alternate between his and Lorri’s POVs, so the reader follows along this classic small town romance story. The writing delivers the Hallmark-style story that is promised to the readers, which is all you can really ask for. It is a quick and cozy read that is perfect for those who want a nice clean romantic story. Overall, there were a few details that I felt needed a little more, but it was a novel that was well-worth the read.

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