Pros: Engrossing story with strong characters.
Cons: Few slower spots that might bother some.
I have been reading books by Nora Roberts for several years. I have a lot of her books, but there are still several more that I have not read yet. I recently picked up one of those, Montana Sky.
Jake Mercy had owned a huge ranch in Montana and he had cared more for the ranch than his family. He had been married three times and had three daughters, Tess, Lily, and Willa. He hadn't seen Tess or Lily since they were little. Willa grew up on the ranch after her mother died but he really wasn't that close to her either. After he died, Tess and Lily traveled to the ranch for the funeral and reading of the will. Jake left each of his daughters a third of the ranch and the stipulation that all three of them had to live together in the house for a year or the ranch would be given to a charity. None of the women were happy with the situation, but they decided to go along with the stipulations in the will. Willa was also upset by the fact that Jake had decided that Nate and Ben would oversee what Willa was doing with the ranch for that year.
Tess was anxious to return to her life as a screenwriter in Hollywood while Lily was trying to escape an abusive ex husband. The two women started to bond while it took Willa longer to accept her sisters, especially Tess. Adam, Willa’s half brother, also worked on the ranch but was basically left out of Jake’s will. He managed to get Lily to trust him and the two started a relationship. Tess decided act on her attraction to Nate and they also started a relationship. Willa and Ben had known each other for years since Ben’s ranch was next to Mercy Ranch. Ben was interested in Willa and used the terms of the will to be able to spend time with her and try to start a more serious relationship.
While the sisters were trying to forge a relationship, they had more serious problems to deal with as well. Someone started to kill and mutilate animals, leaving the bodies on the ranch to be found. The violence escalated until the people on the ranch were in danger and the police didn’t have much to go on. Lily’s ex husband knew that she was on the ranch and he wasn’t happy that she was trying to start a new life. He still considered her his wife.
Montana Sky is one of Roberts books that includes several main characters which did cause the plot to be somewhat complex. The main plot really had to do with the sisters dealing with the aftermath of Jake’s death and trying to build some kind of relationship. The other things that were going on were tied to the different subplots and still very important. Since so much was going on throughout the book, it did take a little while for everything to be set up. That didn’t bother me, but some may feel that the pace was a bit too slow. The book covered the year that the women were supposed to live together at the ranch, so there was plenty of time for a lot of things to happen. I have only mentioned the basics of the plot and there were many things I haven’t brought up.
There was a bit of mystery added to Montana Sky by the things that were going on around the ranch. Several animals were brutally killed and their bodies were left where it was certain they would be found. Things then started to escalate and people were killed just as brutally as the animals had been. It was believed that the person responsible was someone local since they seemed to be familiar with the area. There were some sections of the book that were focused on the person responsible without revealing the identity of the person. All that was shared was that it was a man, which didn’t narrow down the pool of suspects that much since there were several male characters. I thought that the mystery worked well and did add a good amount of suspense as well. The situation between Lily and her ex husband also added a little bit of mystery. Certain things did end up being predictable, but I didn’t feel that the book was predictable overall.
When the bodies of the animals and people were found, the condition they were in was described. They had been brutalized and it wasn’t pleasant to read about. A few of the sections were more descriptive than others, with a few being rather graphic. Those descriptions will be too graphic and upsetting for some readers. During a few of the scenes focused on the main responsible, there were descriptions of what he was doing or planning to do that also could be too explicit for some. Violence turned up in a few scenes, though I didn’t think it was overly graphic. I didn’t feel like the book was violent overall.
Relationships played a huge part in Montana Sky. The most important one was the growing one between the three sisters who were strangers when the book began. They hadn’t even seen each other before their father died. Willa wasn’t happy to have them around and she kept her distance for a while. As the book progressed, she did start liking both of them more. Tess and Lily seemed to get along faster. It was interesting to see how the women adjusted to having sisters. Each of the women also ended up involved in a romantic relationship. Those weren’t the main focus of the book, but were important. There were sex scenes featuring all three of the couples that were descriptive. Anyone who doesn’t like to read those types of scenes may not want to read this book.
Montana Sky was turned into a movie that was made for the Lifetime television network. I actually just saw that a DVD version is available now. I did see the movie when it first came out. I don’t know if there are any extras included on the disc or not. The movie had the same main plot, but much of the details were stripped away and it wasn’t as good as the book. I did see the movie before reading the book and I enjoyed it for the most part even while being fairly certain that a lot of stuff had been chopped. This is a fairly long book and the movie was just over an hour and a half long without the commercial breaks, so there just wasn’t the time to fit in everything. The movie was entertaining, but it didn’t do the book justice.
Montana Sky featured a group of six characters that were the main focus for the book. There was a bit more attention given to the three woman, especially Willa. She had grown up on the ranch and was determined to keep it. She wasn’t happy about how the will had worked out or that she had to deal with strangers in her house. She was a hard worker and could be stubborn at times. She hated that Ben was supposed to oversee the ranch. His family owned a neighboring ranch and he and Willa had known each other for years. He was a bit over protective once he and Will got involved.
Tess was very feminine and out of place at the ranch. She was anxious to return to her life in Hollywood. She wasn’t going to stick out the year on the ranch at first, but changed her mind after she learned how much it was worth. She did her share of chores even though she hated the work and didn’t always do them that well. She also spent some time working on screenplays and a book she had decided to write. Nate had been Jake’s lawyer and was also supposed to oversee the running of the ranch with Ben. Nate also raised horses. He and Tess got involved and even though he let her think he was fine with a temporary relationship until the year was up, he was already thinking of the future.
Lily was very timid when she arrived at the ranch thanks to the abuse she had suffered at the hands of her ex husband. She had managed to get a divorce, but he still considered her his wife and wasn’t leaving her alone. She was hoping to start a new life on the ranch. She slowly started to bloom and become more assertive. She even discovered what love should be when she and Adam got involved. He was Willa’s half brother who had lived on the ranch even longer than she had. Jake had let him stay after his mother died, but looked on him as basically an outsider. He was a kind, gentle man that most people liked. Different men that worked around the ranch, like Ham the foreman, turned up without them being fully developed characters.
Nora Roberts also writes as J.D. Robb. The books she writes as Robb are part of the In Death series and are futuristic romantic suspense. They are set in New York City in the future and follow a detective, Eve Dallas, on the homicides she investigates. The books also touch on her personal life with her wealthy husband Roarke and her friendships. Those books tend to have more violence and stronger mysteries than the books that Roberts writes under her own name. Those books tend to have more emphasis on the romance aspects. One of her books, Remember When, has both authors listed as authors. The first half of the book is set in current times and it concludes in Eve’s time in the second half. Eve’s section of the book took place between Imitation in Death and Divided in Death. People who like the Roberts books may also like the In Death books since they were written by the same person.
I enjoyed Montana Sky even though it did have a few slower spots. Certain descriptions will be too graphic for some readers, so this isn’t a book for everyone. Fans of Nora Roberts will probably enjoy the book.
Nora Roberts Book Reviews
Reflections ~ Dance of Dreams ~ Hidden Star ~ Captive Star ~ Secret Star ~ Night Shift ~ Night Shadow ~ Night Smoke ~ Night Shield ~ Cordina's Crown Jewel ~ Cordina's Royal Family ~
Three Sisters Island Trilogy
Dance Upon the Air ~ Heaven and Earth ~ Face the Fire ~
Key of Light ~ Key of Knowledge ~ Key of Valor ~
In the Garden Trilogy
Blue Dahlia ~ Black Rose ~ Red Lily ~
The Circle Trilogy
Morrigan's Cross ~ Dance of the Gods ~ Valley of Silence ~
Sign of Seven Trilogy
Blood Brothers ~
Angels Fall ~ Birthright ~ Blue Smoke ~ Chesapeake Blue ~ Engaging the Enemy ~ Genuine Lies ~ High Noon ~ Homeport ~ Midnight Bayou ~ Once More With Feeling ~ Northern Lights ~ Three Fates ~ Sweet Revenge ~ The Villa ~
Nora Roberts and J.D. Robb
Remember When ~