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Reviewed by Ruffina Oserio for Readers' Favorite
Quail Creek Ranch by Mike Shellenbergar is a beautiful meld of romance and western genres. Diego “Dee” Ryan, a graduate of Westpoint Military Academy, has served as an officer in the Union Army and has also joined Benito Juarez to fight for the independence of Mexico from the Spanish king, which led Juarez to reward him with a grant of land in northeastern New Mexico. Now he wants to transform this land into a profitable ranch. In town, he meets Myriam Barnard, the daughter of the reputable local rancher, Jake Bernard, and is instantly attracted to her. She seems to have a liking for him as well. Can he win her and can he establish himself as a rancher in a world filled with violence?
The author is a great storyteller and I particularly loved the way the Wild West is depicted in the story. The historical hints are very strong, taking the reader back to the period of the Civil War. The characters are well-developed and rich, and Dee is a character with a solid background. His experience of war makes him a rock-solid character who knows how to handle violence and he also has a unique skill when it comes to handling guns. The prose is beautiful and filled with strong and compelling descriptions. I loved the way Mike Shellenbergar handles the romance, allowing the story to evolve through the plot steadily. It is not suddenly explosive and this builds the suspense. Quail Creek Ranch is a great story told by a gifted storyteller. It features characters that I loved and I wanted to know what would become of them.