Review: A True Cowboy Christmas by Caitlin Crews

Title: A True Cowboy Christmas by Caitlin Crews
Cold River Ranch Series Book One
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 352 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


From USA Today bestselling author Caitlin Crews comes A True Cowboy Christmas, the first in a sensational series debut about a cowboy, a farm girl, and the greatest gift of all. . .

Gray Everett has a heart of gold but that doesn’t mean he believes in the magic of Christmas. He’s got plenty else to worry about this holiday season, what with keeping his cattle ranch in the family and out of the hands of hungry real-estate investors looking to make a down-and-dirty deal. That, plus being a parent to his young and motherless daughter, equals a man who will not rest until he achieves his mission. Now, all Gray needs is the help of his lifelong neighbor. . .who happens to have grown into a lovely, spirited woman.

For Abby Douglas, the chance to join forces with Gray is nothing less than a Christmas miracle. Much as the down-to-earth farmer’s daughter has tried to deny it, Abby’s been in love with stern, smoking-hot Gray her whole life. So when Gray proposes a marriage of convenience as a way to combine land—and work together toward a common cause—Abby can’t refuse. But how can she convince Gray that sometimes life offers a man a second chance for a reason. . .and that their growing trust and mutual passion may be leading to true and lasting love?


A True Cowboy Christmas by Caitlin Crews is an emotionally compelling romance that is funny, poignant and heartwarming. This first installment in the Cold River Ranch series is a must read for fans of contemporary westerns.

Gray Everett is devoted to his family ranch and his fifteen year old daughter. He has just buried his verbally and emotionally abusive father and he is constantly sparring with his younger brothers, bull rider Ty and financier Brady. Widowed for ten years, Gray has decided it is time for him to remarry, but he wants a marriage based on practicality not love.  He also wants a woman who knows what ranch life is like so he sets his sights on his longtime neighbor Abby Douglas.  Gray wastes no time proposing to Abby, but will she agree to his unemotional and unconventional proposal?

Abby has a full life but she has little experience with dating. She has secretly pined after Gray for half of her life but she never expected him to notice her. Due to her mother Lily’s indifferent mothering and verbal abuse, Abby’s self-esteem is at rock bottom.  At first disbelieving his proposal is genuine, she offers a few half-hearted (but valid) objections before agreeing to marry him. Abby is ill-prepared for Gray’s plans for an emotionless yet passion-filled union but she eagerly assumes her role of wife and stepmother. But how will Abby cope with the emotional baggage that Gray brings to their relationship?

Abby is an absolutely delightful character whose caring and compassionate nature shines throughout the novel. Despite the limited amount of time she has spent with her hateful mother, she takes Lily’s spiteful words to heart. Abby is continually off balance as she waits for Gray to reject her since she feels unworthy of his attention. Although she  lacks self-worth, she stands up to Gray and fights for what is important to her. Abby also struggles to reconcile her love for her husband as he maintains a sensible, businesslike approach to their daily interactions.

Gray is gruff, unsentimental and determined to be nothing like his father. He also carries deep scars inflicted by first wife  and he is quick to view his current marriage through the lens of his first disastrous union. Gray is stunned by the depth of his attraction to Abby but he does not let his desire for her change the parameters he set for their marriage. He is genuinely bewildered by his wife’s kindness to others and he stubbornly refuses to change his mind on the things that matter  to Abby. Gray is also astounded when her reactions to their differences do not match up to his previous experiences.

Alternating between Abby and Gray’s perspectives, A True Cowboy Christmas is a truly captivating romance. Abby and Gray are emotionally wounded characters with realistic issues to overcome. Despite the rather inauspicious start to the marriage, the chemistry between them is palpable but outside of the bedroom, Gray clings to his expectations of their life together. Abby gradually realizes she deserves more than Gray is offering, but will her love for him be enough to sustain their marriage?

Caitlin Crews perfectly balances angst with humor which results in a truly unique love story that stands out from other books in the genre. The glimpses of Ty and Brady will leave readers impatiently awaiting the next installment in the fabulous  Cold River Ranch series. Highly recommend to fans of the genre.

1 Comment

Filed under A True Blue Cowboy Christmas, Caitlin Crews, Cold River Ranch Series, Contemporary, Rated B+, Review, Romance, St Martin's Paperbacks

One Response to Review: A True Cowboy Christmas by Caitlin Crews

  1. Timitra

    Thanks for the review Kathy