Maggie Porter returns home to her father’s ranch to find him ill and his cowboys on the verge of calling a strike. Alex Bright was a young cowboy when she left home, but he’s the foreman now. What has happened to put him at odds with her father? Will he really take sides with the men, against the owner of the ranch? Maggie can’t let him know she loves him—not if he’s her adversary now.
When the whole outfit walks off the job during the spring roundup, Maggie must take desperate measures. She calls on her friends to put on their split skirts and take to the trail with her.
After the roundup, the impasse with the men continues, and the ladies set out to drive the cattle to the stockyards in Fort Worth. But what are the men up to? Seems some of them will do anything to keep the cowgirl crew from succeeding. Is Alex in on the annoying pranks? Maggie’s limits are tested when someone sabotages the herd.
Cowgirl Trail is the fifth novel in the Texas Trails series written by three different authors. Susan Page Davis wrote this one and the second book, Captive Trail (see my review here). While I’m sure the rest of the series is entertaining, I’ll admit to not having read Darlene Franklin’s and Vickie McDonough’s stories yet. (I hope to get around to them one day because I’d like to know about the rest of the Morgan family.) Still, I can say at least these two novels stand alone and there’s no confusion on the part of the reader in thinking there’s a portion of the story missing.
The unique concept of this tale is in the all-woman trail drive. I’ve read books where a woman or two might be along on the trip to Dodge or Abilene (or wherever) for one reason or another, but this is the first one I’ve read where all the drovers are female.
It’s easy to sympathize with Maggie. She’s had a rough couple of years and returns home to find the successful and well-respected ranch she left has fallen into somewhat of a shambles. Her father is nasty to his employees for seemingly no reason. The foreman, a man she’s loved for years walks out on them in solidarity with the other cowboys in their strike. When she learns of her father’s illness and neighboring ranchers can’t loan her help, she’s left with no choice but to round up her lady friends and take the cattle to the stockyards.
Alex is a sweet man who has no desire to turn against his employer and leave the woman he loves to join the men in their strike. But Porter’s bad attitude and refusal to help those who’ve been loyal to him in the past cannot be tolerated. Still, when he discovers Maggie’s plan, he won’t let her go all the way to Ft. Worth without watching over her.
Trail drives were perilous trips for even the most experienced drover, but don’t expect tear-jerking drama and nail-biting suspense in this one. Even if a number of the women involved grew up on cattle ranches, at times, they seemed more like a group of debutantes and greenhorns, which made it more difficult for me to believe in the success of their journey. However, this book wasn’t so much about the trail drive as the relationships between the characters.
Cowgirl Trail certainly fits the bill when it comes to novels to enjoy. But it’s neither deep in emotion nor complicated in plot. I recommend it for those times when you’re looking for escapism, something to read when you want a few hours of cowboy fun and a little romance. And don’t we all need that on occasion?
What kind of stories do you like to read when you’ve had enough of heavy, tear-jerking drama? Light romantic comedy? A shoot-em-up western? A cozy mystery?
Disclosure of Material Connection: This story came to me free from River North (Moody Publishers) with the hope that I would mention it on this blog. There was no requirement for me to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.