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Monday, March 17, 2008

Upon a Midnight Clear

****½ Upon a Midnight Clear by Lynn Erickson. Romantic suspense.

Brigitte Hartman and Steve Slater aren't exactly a match made in heaven. They're on opposite sides of a heated--and possibly dangerous--debate. See, wolves have been reintroduced into Colorado after nearly a century, and Brigitte works with the Fish and Wildlife Service, and is one of the people responsible for their welfare.

Steve's a rancher. He and his fellow ranchers were dubious about the prospect, but now calves are being killed, threatening their livelihoods, and the ranchers want the wolves gone. A few are even threatening to hunt them, even though it's a federal offense.

Brigitte doesn't believe the wolves are killing the cattle, but what else could it be?

Steve finds himself in a difficult position--he's falling in love with Brigitte, but it's his livelihood, and he's under pressure from the other ranchers to help do something. Compounding his difficulty are his adolescent daughters, who are enthralled by the wolves and demanding that he save them.

Molly and Carla (Swanton and Peltonen--a.k.a. Lynn Erickson) have done a great job of showing both sides of a difficult issue with sympathy and realism. Brigitte and her colleagues don't come across as ivory-tower academics; Steve and most of the other ranchers don't come across as gun-toting survivalists. Each side has its fanatics, but both sides are presented as predominantly reasonable people who have legitimate concerns. I very much appreciated that.

It was also nice to watch a couple fall in love against their better judgment. Despite being enemies in the conflict over the wolves, they found themselves respecting and caring about each other.

I've been picking up Lynn Erickson's backlist, since they haven't had a new book out in over 3 years. I'm hoping that state of affairs isn't permanent.

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I don't read many (read: any) romance novels... Being that I'm single, it's probably safer for me not to ;-)

Hey, I wanted to let you know I posted the "stories" from last weeks Mad Libs style TT - come by and vote if you have time!! :-)
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