Montana in a Minor

by Elaine Russell

Verdict: MONTANA IN A MINOR is a delightfully charming romance that will provide an appealing grace note or two to a young adult reader's day.

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IR Rating

A young aspiring cellist must alter her plans and spend her summer in Montana instead of practicing – but finds that there are unexpected benefits.

Emily Lopez is a cellist, a music teacher, and an aspiring performer, whose father is a famous conductor. Unfortunately, he is also not a very reliable parent, and he’s had to cancel their summer together inLondon, meaning that she has to go to her stepfather’s family’s ranchin Montana instead. And, naturally, her boyfriend has picked just that moment to dump her. Heartbroken, anxious, and worried that she won’t get enough time to practice before a competition that will decide whether or not she gets into Julliard, she devotes most of her time to the cello. But her step-grandfather Jake and handsome ranchhand Breck step in to provide some needed distraction – until family health issues and trust issues, involving both her father and Breck, threaten to break her heart again. Will she find her balance, her passion, and maybe the ability to get what she needs from her family and her love life?

This is a tender, sweet love story, perfectly suited for its young adult audience. Russell manages a deeply-felt romance that stays inthe realm of the heart and the head, without getting too physical. Her hero, Breck, is a genuinely nice guy who plays with, but is not bound by, the usual cowboy stereotypes – he has some appealing surprises up his sleeve. Emily’s teenage worries are real, intelligently-drawn, and not melodramatized, which makes them, and her, much more sympathetic than overblown histrionics ever would. Her growth inboth understanding and maturity is clearly visible throughout the story. Details like her affectionate relationship with her little half-brother, and her poker games with Jake, add touches of warmth and charm to the story.

The conflict in the book can be somewhat predictable in places, and is rather dependent on a lack of communication to sustain itself. The action does tend to pile up a bit later in the book, though it is fun to watch a romance actually have time to develop itself initially. These are, however, minor quibbles.

MONTANA IN A MINOR is a delightfully charming romance that will provide an appealing grace note or two to a young adult reader’s day.


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