The Nostalgia Shelf: Samantha and the Cowboy by Lorraine Heath

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Samantha

When she manages to get herself hired for the cattle drive, all of Samantha’s prayers seem to be answered. The hundred dollars she’ll earn will pull her family’s Texas farm out of ruin and pay off their debts. But keeping the cowhands fooled that she’s a boy becomes harder than she’d expected where one cowboy in particular is concerned.

The Cowboy

Matthew Hart wants two things: to forget the tragedies he witnessed on the front lines of the War Between the States, and to reclaim his cowboy life. The last thing he wants is the responsibility of a tagalong youngster on the cattle drive. His closed mind and hardened heart are territory best left unexplored, until a fateful moment turns his world upside down.

Matt discovers what and who “Sam” really is, and he is furious. But soon a stronger emotion takes hold, and bound by Samantha’s secret, Matt is torn between revealing her identity and his own sudden and frightening love for her.

Source: GoodReads

When I moved recently, I took a lot of the books that I had in my storage unit out and moved them into my new town home.  I bought one of those huge Container Store shelves so I was able to fit a lot more of my stash on there then I had been previously.  And I discovered a whole bunch of books I had in the past from a few years ago.  And I was like..hmm, might be fun to revisit them in a nostalgia sort of way.

So once a month or so-depending on how annoyed I get with some of these oldies-I’m going to start reviewing them.  All of these books have to be pre-2006 and I haven’t picked them up in the last five years.  Which brings us to Samantha and the Cowboy (that title is just cringe worthy enough).

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Samantha and the Cowboy is the first out of twelve or so books produced in the Avon True Romance series.  The series is supposed to be a gateway series into historical romance.  At least I think that’s what it is supposed to be.  However, after reading this book for the second time I think it would turn me off of romance.  And maybe that’s why I haven’t picked up a lot of western centric historicals because this one is cornball bad.

Maybe it’s because I’ve lived in Texas for most of my life (save for a horrible year and a half in Louisiana) but I really get annoyed with so called western slang.  It’s awful and I just want to say that nobody talks like that.

But the reckons and pardon me ma’ams were ridiculous beyond belief here.  I get that Heath was trying to make the book atmospheric but it added to the cornball-ness that was this book.

Oh yes, this book was corny beyond belief on so many levels.  Obviously, it is trying to be a rated “G” YA book but it’s so squeaky clean it’s ridiculous.  And no, that doesn’t mean I miss the seventy or so pages that are frequented in so many romance books describing someone’s  quivering member, BUT the fact that we spend a lot of the book focused on what color Matthew Heart (yes, that’s the hero’s freaking name) eyes are I just wanted a little more development.

I mean, the plot is pretty much non-existent.  The characters pretty much are making googly eyes at each other the entire time-well, Matt didn’t until he found out that Samantha Jane was a girl and then he goes on and on about how he didn’t realize she was a girl before because her curves are that obvious.

During all of this, I was thinking what would actually be cool would’ve been if Matt would’ve been bi and would’ve had feelings for Sam when she pretended to be a guy.  Is it so wrong that I want a gender bend story where the romance is two sided before the reveal?  And it would be interesting watching the characters interact with each other.

I want that book.

I didn’t get it here.

The reveal was probably the best part of the book and to be honest, it really wasn’t that great.  Sam almost drowns and Matt notices that gosh golly she has breasts and must be a girl.

I guess he never heard of man boobs.

Of course, after this Matt turns into an utter tool of a misogynist which I think the reader is supposed to find sexy because he’s supposedly so protective of Sam.

He’s not.

He’s a tool.

He threatens Sam throughout half of this that he’s going to turn her into the foreman, despite the fact that he knows her family is on the verge on poverty…but that doesn’t matter ’cause she’s a girl.  And has evil breasts.

Okay, he doesn’t outright say evil breasts, but he does talk about the problems a woman can cause on the cattle drive. So, I’m just paraphrasing it with the evil breasts talk.  But I guarantee you, if this book implies just as much.

And I just want to say goodbye to Matt at this point.

But because he’s the cowboy in Samantha and the Cowboy I don’t get that pleasure. Instead, I get to read about Sam being treated like dirt and how when Matt finally turns her into Jake it’s to protect her.  Because screw her family…

Oh, and side note, Sam’s brother was a real dick for sitting on his ass and eating bonbons all day and not even at least trying to do something to help his family.  I get he lost an arm in the war and all, but dude totally does nothing during the entire book.  You’d think at the very least he’d try to help his sister when he found out what she was trying to do rather than…um, yeah, that’s nice go cut off your hair and risk your life to go on a trail ride.

Ugh.

So as you can see, it hasn’t exactly been a pleasant revisit of a book for me.  But at the same time, I don’t think re-reading Samantha and the Cowboy has been a total waste of time.  If anything looking at it gave me an insight of how the genre has developed since the fifteen years that this book was published.

Overall Rating: A total fail.

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