Betting on Hope by Debra Clopton

This novel started out so well, but dribbled to a rather predictable storyline. There was immediate sexual tensions. That's is not a bad thing, but it was very heavy-handed, almost forced. The thing is mostly Tell rather than Show, but Clopton did a great job raising questions in the readers' minds without coming out and telling the reader what the questions are supposed to be. That is rare these days.

Character development is cliche and heavy handed. There is little subtlety in this novel, and it is so predicable. I was yawning by chapter 5.

The main character is difficult to discern at first because there is so much back story given for 3 characters: The columnist, the cowboy, and the pregnant girl. Where should my attention be directed?

I blame the editor for a lot of this. In the attempt to show, not tell, a lot of backstory is given for the pregnant girl. This is very confusing at the beginning because you think she's hiding in the back of the truck driven by someone from the ranch, but it's not so. Everything sorts out later, but there is just so much confusion that a reader can take before getting fed up with a book.

Keep reading and there's still not one character that grows or is transformed or developed by what happens. Souls are not stretched, it is just a series of happenings. Again that is not necessarily a bad thing, but frankly I would much rather pick up bread crumbs along a winding path than be ramrodded down an Interstate highway.


 Maggie Hope is an advice columnist whose background leaves her with little advice to give . . . and it's beginning to show. When Maggie fills in at an interview with champion horse trainer Tru Monahan, the on-camera chemistry between them is undeniable.
Maggie's bosses know this is the opportunity she's been looking for to launch her career-and their bank accounts. In order to save her column, Maggie takes Tru up on the bet that he can teach her to ride a quick-stepping cutting horse like any cowgirl, despite the fact that she has never been on a horse. And in the meantime, she can get the scoop on the man under the cowboy hat.

Tru has been on the competition circuit for longer than he'd like, but he knows it's the only way he can afford to keep the Four of Hearts Ranch that means so much to his ailing grandfather. So when his sponsors see the opportunity for Tru's fans to get to know the star on a more intimate level, he knows he must oblige. To his dismay, Maggie not only invades his small town of Wishing Springs, but she also invades his heart, and that is something he cannot let any woman do-for her own good.

In Wishing Springs, Maggie finds what she has always been looking for: a community and a home. But when her past catches up to her, it threatens everything, even the tender hope that this town holds all of her heart's desires.

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