Trashy romance novels have been one of my guilty pleasures since high school, and over winter break, my younger sister gave me a handful that she had picked up at a used book sale.
They’ve been sitting on my shelf since December, so this Valentine’s Day, I decided to take one for the team and read one of them to share with you all.
I had three titles to choose from: “Cattleman’s Heart,” “The Rancher’s Daughter” and “Walker: The Rodeo Legend.” I made my choice by dramatically reading the book descriptions to my roommates and asking for opinions on the awkwardness of the cover.
“Cattleman’s Heart” was the winner, and let me tell you, this book is not good.
However, it is a fun Valentine’s Day read if you need a laugh as you sit alone with your chocolate and wine. I’m not here to judge your guilty pleasure.
The plot is bog standard. Rebecca Wallingford is sent by her mother’s San Francisco Bay area investment firm to Colson, Montana, to work on the account at Jackson Rand’s cattle ranch. High risk will equal high reward for the couple, but not without some unnecessary plot twists along the way.
Despite the fact that I spent a majority of this book scoffing uncomfortably at poorly written lines — “Shivers feathered up Rebecca’s spine and heat grew, easing its way through her body,” and “The sensual heat that blazed from his eyes was unmistakable” — there were actually a few small things that I liked about this book.
Lois Faye Dyer writes beautiful scenic descriptions about Montana. I really appreciate that Dyer takes time to let her characters and her readers appreciate the landscape and rural atmosphere.
Additionally, Rebecca is a well written, complex character. She has to deal with some rampant sexism when she firsts arrives on the ranch, she gets to actually be a character instead of just a sex object and is generally just a strong, independent woman (except apparently, she does need a man).
My complaints with this book lie not with it specifically, but more with romance novels in general. They’re just so over-the-top that it’s quite frankly ridiculous. The sexual tension is so ludicrously described in juvenile detail that it’s funny, not actually romantic.
I’m also not a fan of passionless engagements that suddenly get broken the first time a female character gets faced with a grade-A hunk, or random side plots involving the discovery of unknown siblings. Why is that necessary when I just signed up for a cowboy romance?
I’ve read my fair share of romance novels as a guilty pleasure, because sometimes I need a read that just lets me shut off my brain for a little bit. Unfortunately, because I was reading this book with a critical eye for reviewing purposes, I wasn’t able to lose myself in the book like I usually do.
That being said, if romance novels are your cup of tea, please keep reading them. Recommend me some good ones to read so I can relax and binge something that is pure fluff.
Enjoy whatever romance you want this Valentine’s Day season, even if it comes from an early-2000s paperback. You deserve to feel loved.
Macy Davis is the culture editor for the Collegian and a senior in English. The views and opinions expressed in this review are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.