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Wyoming Homecoming

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Abby and her niece Lucy move to Catelow, Wyoming when she inherits property. She meets the sheriff who had shouted at her years ago when his wife died. When a bank robbery and a conspiracy in town drive them apart, they work to get back together. ARC from NetGalley.

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This is a good book, you will not want to stop reading it. The two main characters are Abby and Cody. Abby is a paralegal, who, along with her niece, inherits a ranch. Cody is the sheriff. There is an instant attraction. Cody has an unsolved case that involves many people. Abby tries to help him solve it. There is lots going on from arrests, poisoning, an impersonating police officer and a hurt dog. Cody figures all the players and arrests some of them and falls in love.

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WYOMING HOMECOMING is spellbinding from the first to last words. Fans of author Diana Palmer might have an inkling of what is coming but Ms. Palmer still manages to throw out several twists that will have you sitting back and pondering where they came from.

Reviewed by Annetta Sweetko for Fresh Fiction

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Dive into a mystery that's drowning in danger and heart. Wyoming Homecoming started with promise, but somehow lost it's way. Between the surprise twists and the emotional depth, the love story fell a little flat. I love Diana Palmer, but I was hoping for so much more.

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Wyoming Homecoming, the 11th book in Diana Palmer's Wyoming Men series is, in this reader's opinion, the least interesting novel in the series. It does start out in a rather interesting fashion, with the death of Charlie Butler, which brings the heroine, Abigail Brennan and her orphaned, 9-year-old niece, Lucy, back from Denver to Catelow, Wyoming. Sheriff Cody Banks, is also present at the funeral, Charlie being distantly related to Cody's late wife, Deborah, who died after contracting an exotic and deadly virus, and Abby and Lucy avoid him like the plague. Six years earlier, Cody accosted Abby and Lucy, ranting like a madman and blaming them for his wife's death--which they didn't cause. His wife was a neurologist in Denver, and in the two years they were married, Deborah rarely came home to visit her husband, and the few times she did return to Catelow, it wasn't for long, and, we learn that she was also ice-cold in bed, complaining about his lack of lovemaking skills. The few times Cody visited her in Denver, he never saw anything but her living room. Yet he was madly in love with her, and now, 6 years later, he's still grieving her loss, but as a reader, I had to ask why he was so devoted to a woman he barely knew, and who seemed to barely tolerate him. His love and devotion to this cold, distant woman made no sense at all to this reader, and that's just one of the reasons for giving this novel a 1-star rating.

After some complicated family history, we learn that Charlie Butler left his ranch to Abby, who is only too happy to leave behind her tiny apartment in a terrible neighborhood, as well and the dreadful and dangerous school Lucy attends behind, and as a paralegal, she is immediately hired by a local law firm, leaving the running of the ranch to Charlie's trusted ranch foreman. What she dreads is the fact that Charlie's ranch abuts the small ranch owned by Sheriff Banks, who repeatedly thinks of Abby as plain, and not particularly attractive beyond her nice hair and figure. But eventually, after losing his beloved dog to cancer, Abby and Lucy begin to take him under their wing, invite him over for dinners, and begin to befriend him.

What follows is a series of inter-related crimes--all off-screen, the arrival of a really strange, lying man from Florida, a multiple murder plot, and the on again, off again relationship between Cody and Abby. Of course, she's a virgin who was raised in a home with an abusive alcoholic father and abused mother, which has put her off men entirely. What is revealed about Cody and his late wife isn't surprising, but even with his attraction to the plain but kind Abby, and her adorable niece, Lucy, he starts seeing a pretty, blonde state trooper, ghosting Abby and Lucy, and his not bothering to call or text when his job made it impossible to show up at the dinner they'd invited him to, his sheer rudeness offended me. Abby was far more forgiving than I would have been. Yet, when he learns that another law enforcement officer on the case, Lassiter, was seen taking Abby and Lucy on a Sunday drive, Cody becomes jealous. This is a man who simply cannot make up his mind.

Yes, eventually the crimes are solved and the bad guys put away, but while we learn about the complicated criminal plots after they occur, there was never a single moment of suspense in this novel. Additionally, Sheriff Cody Banks comes off as dumb as a post. He married a woman he knew for a grand total of 2 days, who seemingly wanted nothing to do with him, didn't want to bear the children he hoped to have, yet he is still grieving his lost love 6 years later, and has remained celibate all that time. He repeatedly thinks about how plain looking Abby is, yet for the expected and long-awaited happily ever after ending to this non-romantic romance, proposes marriage to her. I'm still shaking my head.

I've read every single novel Ms. Palmer has ever written, and in this reader's humble opinion, this is one of the worst, least romantic, and most nonsensical of the lot. I'm still reeling over how dense the hero is, how little suspense there was, how lackluster the tone of this novel was, and I simply cannot recommend it.

I voluntarily read an advance reader copy of this novel. The opinions stated are my own.

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ISBN: 13:978-1-335-62095-8
November 8, 2022
Contemporary Romance

Catelow, Wyoming- Present Day

Abigail Brennan has come home to Catelow, Wyoming to attend her cousin’s funeral. When she sees Cody Banks, the town’s Sheriff, she grows scared. She remembers how he laid into her and her niece, Lucinda, when he thought that she was the cause of his wife’s death. She is determined to give Cody a wide berth while she is in Catelow.

When he sees the fear in Abigail’s eyes, Cody regrets the way he treated her but he had been out of his mind at the loss of his wife, Deborah. But circumstances put him in a position where he proves to Abigail and Lucinda that he not the man that scared them all those years ago. Cody adored his late wife so much so that he was blind to her faults, but as he grows closer to Abigail, he finds things out about his late wife that puts a halt to his growing feelings for Abigail.

WYOMING HOMECOMING is a sweet romance that has characters with old- fashioned values, an interesting investigation that involves a con man, murder, and a robbery in Catelow. The secondary characters round off the story from Horace Whatley who has mental illness issues but has a big heart and fits into Catelow nevertheless, and Lassiter a private investigator from Houston who is quirky and has all the females in Catelow hot and bothered.

Although the story tends to be a bit repetitive in the beginning the investigation and the romance between Cody and Abigail is so sweet it will keep readers interested. If you are looking for an enjoyable, sweet romance then WYOMING HOMECOMING is for you.

Avis Yarbrough

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